Detoxing Your Relationships
So far we have talked about the toxicity of life, and the powerful influence it has in our minds. We’ve talked about how, as our minds become toxic, then so does our feelings and behaving. This week I want to talk about detoxing our relationships.
We live in a world were true community is hard to come by, and relationships are getting more shallow. I find this fascinating because in our youngest generations we have such a strong hunger for reality, yet daily we practice facades. In generations past there were plenty of masks, but it was understood that certain things needed to be hidden. I’ve heard countless stories of the family that fights on the way to church only to put on smiles when they get there. Today we let it “all hang out” on Facebook because we’re hungry for reality, but with that we really don’t have deep relationships there either. We have “Likes” instead of intimacy and “Friends” instead of true companions, people who really know you and support you. It is from a place of hungering for real relationship that we tend to settle for less. No, I don’t have any problem with Facebook by the way. We are tending to allow anyone and anything to speak into our lives. Whether it be by comparison of what they have to what we have, or simply by listening to gossip or sob stories. Perhaps we take it a step further and promote or “share” those stories with others. Inadvertently we are becoming the toxic relationships that we’ve been exposed to. In the words of Paul, “Brothers and Sisters it ought not to be.” James 3:10
How do we remove toxic, unhelpful, and even detrimental relationships from our lives? Start by identifying them. Ask yourself a few questions, “Am I being encouraged and built up when I’m around this person?” “Does this person help grow my relationship with Christ?” “Do they help me become the best ME I can be?” “Through their actions and thoughts are they dragging me down and making me doubt even life itself?” When you ask these questions it should become obvious fairly quickly who are contributing towards a healthy life and which ones are toxic. “But Jay, this person provides something I need” or “But there aren’t any people that are like what you’re mentioning”. It is true that good friends are hard to come by, but it starts with you. If “Bad company corrupts good morals” 1 Cor 15:33 then you are becoming a bad friend when you let these people into your “inner circle”. It is going to be ever increasingly hard to find good friends when you, yourself, aren’t one. As you grow and heal, as you become a stronger person you will naturally start to attract the same. Good friends will still be few, but you’ll find that a few good friends will be better than a thousand bad ones. So detoxing your relationships involves identifying those people whose thinking is not healthy and putting some distance between you and them. How much and for how long, that’s for you and Jesus to discuss, just like The Who and the When. He may ask you to “unfriend” them, or he may just have you “mute their thread”. You get the point. What I’m not saying is hate them or treat them poorly, no. This brings up the question, how much influence do you let them have over your thoughts and decisions? Or think of it this way, are you in relationship with them to bless them or receive from them? God absolutely calls us to go and bless people, some whose lives are a terrible mess. Be obedient to that. Others however may be mentors or guides, friends with influence. If they are good friends, great! If not, they are toxic.
A tip from five decades of Fold ministry. Role-model what you want your kids to do. If you want them to have healthier relationships, start by role-modeling that in your own life!
Father, I admit that sometimes I’m lonely or desiring relationship and I’ve lowered my standards and allowed toxic people into my life. I’m sorry! Forgive me and renew me. I need your help. Father I want pure thoughts and a life that role-models freedom and health to those around me. Start with me God. Show me what you want me to do, and help me to have the faith to follow through. I know you have good plans for me. I know you have my best interests in mind. Help me to trust you with my relationships. I want you Jesus to be my most intimate relationship. Please show me how! Amen.