At various seasons, we must take time to DTR: define the relationships in our lives. When God is taking you from one season to another, and from one level to another, not every person will go with you. In some cases, people who were in your life from the past can only see you as who you used to be. When God starts growing you and changing you into a new creation in Christ, those people are so familiar with who you once were that they cannot accept the new you and therefore will not transition into the next level with you. It’s important to know who’s who in your life and understand where each relationship stands when your seasons change. Some relationships may always be in your life, but some may be just for a season. God designed them that way.
Have you ever had a balloon and were holding it by a ribbon and then all of a sudden it flew out of your grasp and began to swirl away, higher and higher until you could no longer see its path into the sky? The reason why the balloon was able to soar so high and far was because it wasn’t restricted by your weight. Consider, also, a time when you bought a bouquet of balloons for a party or celebration. What did you buy along with the balloons and ribbons? Most likely, you bought a weight. Why? Because what’s inside of them will cause them to elevate to a place beyond your grasp and you need a way to hold them down & keep the balloons from going higher so that they will fulfill the purpose for which you bought them. I’m sure by now you see where I’m going with this.
Some relationships, even if they started out well, can become a weight in your life. They may not be a bad person per-se, but the difference in the intentions of the relationship conflict with one another. Like the balloon purchaser, they want to keep you down at their level for decorative purposes. They don’t want to see you go higher because they feel intimidated by your elevation. Do you have a relationship with someone where when you talk to them, they always have some drama going on and yet want to talk on the phone for 3 hours, rarely letting you get a word in edge wise? That relationship is probably a weight. Do you have a relationship with someone who always points out every reason why you can’t do the dreams in your heart in order to “protect” you from disappointment? That relationship has most likely become a weight in your life and can be inadvertently used as a dream killer. First Corinthians 15:33 in the NIV says “bad company corrupts good morals”. Be mindful of the company that you keep. If someone has become a weight in your life, you’ve got to let them go. Even if it’s uncomfortable for a while and you may have to be alone for a season, make the adjustment. Being alone in peace and obedience, though it may be uncomfortable, is better than having unhealthy companionship in turmoil and disobedience just because it’s comfortable and familiar. I’ve been there, I know.
Relationships become dangerous and controlling when people feel entitled to be your friend. You owe no man nothing but love (Romans 13:8). And regardless of who was with you back in the day when you were in high school or college and feels like they deserve to be in your life today, let God be the judge of that. You can’t take every friend that you’ve had in your life where God is taking you. Young people in middle school and high school tend to want many friends and try to be cool with everyone in order to be popular. Mature, wise people understand that it’s not about the quantity of friends that you have, but the quality of friends that you have. You must be selective about your relationships and surround yourself with people who know you by the Spirit. You can’t be everybody’s friend. You have to choose your friends wisely.
Back in 2008, I heard a life-changing sermon by Bishop T.D. Jakes where he explained the 3 different types of relationships in our lives: constituents, confidants and comrades.
Constituents are people that are for what you’re for (your cause), but not for you as an individual. They get excited about what you’re excited about and are passionate for what you’re passionate for but in no way are to be personally connected to you as a close friend. They come, and they go. Their motive is to pursue the cause, not you. Having a relationship with them is not a problem, but confiding in and telling them your dreams is a big problem. God can use your relationship to get you both closer to your purposes and then allow the relationship to come to an end. Don’t try to hold on when it’s time to let go. These relationships are seasonal. Thank God for the investment that you made in each other and keep it moving.
Confidants are people that are not necessarily for what you’re for, but they are for you 100%. They are those once-in-a-lifetime friends that you can trust and be yourself around. They have your back through thick and thin. They are excited for you when God is blessing your life and not jealous or envious of how God is raising you up. They help you give birth to your dreams. They know who they are and therefore don’t feel the need to compete with you because they understand that you are both called and chosen of God in your own unique ways. They respect you and love you for you, not for what they can receive from you or because they merely want to be seen with you in public or in your pictures on Instagram. (OK?!) They pour into you and you pour into them. These relationships must be invested in more than the other two types. Don’t neglect your confidants! Take time to nurture those relationships and go out of your way to bless those people. Pray for them. Call them. Send them a letter of gratitude and thank them for being a trustworthy and loyal friend. God placed them in your life as a blessing and support so don’t take them for granted. If you do, you’ll be doing you both a disservice.
Comrades are people that are against what you are against. They’re in your life to work with you to defeat a common enemy together. They are similar to the comrades and will only be your friends until you win the battle. They are in your life for a specific purpose and season. They are not a confidant, therefore they do not need to know the details of your life and deep things that God is speaking to your heart. Invest accordingly.
I highly recommendwatching this sermon video by Bishop T.D. Jakes where he discusses the three types of relationships. Understanding and heeding this word can save you so much heartache, time, disappointment and confusion. It’s a source of wisdom that I keep in my personal library.
It’s so important to know who’s who in our lives when it comes to relationships. Being able to discern which type of relationship that you have with various people will make a huge difference in the expectations and investment that you make in them. Thank God for all of the relationships in your life because they all serve a specific purpose. I pray that this posts gets you thinking and that the Holy Spirit will begin to speak to you even now about the various relationships in your life. Take some time this week to get quiet and start to evaluate your relationships. Ask God to reveal to you the motives of the hearts of people in your life and help you DTR. As He begins to lead you, be obedient to make the necessary adjustments. You may have to let some relationships go. You may need to unfriend some people on facebook and twitter. You may have to make a phone call and apologize to a confidant for not investing accordingly. You may want to send a letter to someone and thank them for being a loyal friend. Whatever it is that God leads you to do, do it. And pray that He gives you the words to say and the right way to go about making the adjustment so that there can be peace on both ends (if possible). Most importantly, remember that God is your #1 relationship and true best friend. Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” God is the friend that sticks closer than a brother and should be the main relationship that you invest the most in. Trust me, it will be worth the ROI (return on investment).
So tell me, have you had a DTR session recently? How did you make the necessary adjustments? Do you have a confidant that you would like to honor and tell others how they’ve been a blessing in your life? If you’ve been blessed by this post in some way, let me know you’ve stopped by and share the post with friends. Leave a comment below and join the conversation!
Leave Your Beauty Mark
P.S. If you have a prayer request, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to agree with you in prayer!