Have you ever had that sneaking suspicion that you are the only person on the face of the planet dealing with a particular issue? You know, the kind of problem that has yet to plague any other human being….ever! What brings us to the point of actually being convinced of this? Now, I am not a psychiatrist so I won’t act as though I am. However, I would like to camp on the idea of relational living for a moment, so bear with me.
Wired For Relationships
As a dad, I am privy to the development of relationships in a very raw form. You get to see them bud, then wilt, then flourish again. I know they are often fickle, but the constant in these young relationships is that they yearn to have them. God wired us to be relational. So, why then when we struggle do we feel so alone? If you are like me and you have a family, you are well aware that there are very few moments of solitude (I will insert my wife’s “Amen” here). Suffice it to say that most people probably have friends or family that keeps them from living life in complete loneliness. That being said, maybe it isn’t the number of people we have around us but the depth of those relationships that are at fault.
Bring In The Jackhammer
A few months ago I wrote a post about the necessity for dads to have close relationships with other guys. While I still remain an advocate of this, I sometimes wonder if our family relationships are as deep as they need to be. In theory, our family should be the place where we feel the safest. Regardless of what we are struggling with, we should be able to rely on those closest to us to act as a support to prop us up. In fact, the readers review posts in this blog work towards developing a parenting structure that creates a place of safety and openness for our kids. Unfortunately, it takes ALLOT of work to build a place of non-judgment that fosters this kind of transparency. Imagine what this kind of family would look like. It would be a family where no topic would be taboo. As a parent, your kids would confide in you because you extend an abundance of grace along with holding them accountable for their actions. Your marriage could withstand the good, the bad, and the ugly, simply because your relationship with God would remind you of the forgiveness that you have received. What a foreign concept!
Living A Pipe Dream
How likely are we to live this way though? In pondering this myself I was reminded of the television show Lie To Me. The context of the show consists of a group of facial recognition experts that solve client cases because of their ability to decipher between truth and lie. Because of their profession, one of the characters decides to adopt a life of radical honesty, saying whatever comes to his mind. Now, let’s clarify that there are times when we should keep our mouths shut. Our words can be unbelievably destructive and malicious. However, the concept is kind of refreshing…and maybe a little bit frightening at the same time. Let’s face it, most of us would hesitate to live like this because of our fear of judgment by others. Who wants their dirty laundry out in the open where your family and friends can see it! On the other hand, would we still feel so alone in our struggles if our whole person was known by those we love? Inevitably we would be forced to confront our true selves and not just the persona we live when others are watching.
One Step At A Time
Now before you go frightening your family and friends with new “revelations,” remember that changes take time and little bit of strategy. For instance, begin the change in your family by preparing yourself to be a safe place for others to share. If you create that opportunity for others, then you can expect that others will reciprocate. And if they don’t…well at least you gave them a good scare!