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How can we ever truly connect with others? We start by giving them good information about what’s going on inside of ourselves. When we share that information with trustworthy people, a connection can be made. That exchange of truth is how trust is built within relationships.
Genesis 37:3-5 (NLT) Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. So one day Jacob had a special gift made for Joseph—a beautiful robe. 4 But his brothers hated Joseph because their father loved him more than the rest of them. They couldn’t say a kind word to him.
5 One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever.
Do you remember this story of Joseph? Do you recall his status as a beloved son? How about his brothers’ betrayal? I would like to think that Joseph’s father taught him that there is love and acceptance in the world. There are people in the world who will help you, accept you, and trust you. But, his half-brothers were not those people. How upsetting it is to share your dreams and be hated and envied! This is why you have trust issues. This is why it is so hard to share or even discover the truth within.
Good Information. It’s difficult to decode the mystery within. “What do I need?” What a powerful and frustrating question. The simple truth is, that when your anxiety is high and elevating, this is a signal of an unmet need. But typically, we deal with these needs by trying to get people to do things. Rather than sharing what’s going on inside of us.
What is the Goal of Communication? Is it agreement or understanding? Is it connection or disconnection? Are we able to hold on to this thought: “You get to be you. And, I get to be me. Neither of us must diminish to be in this relationship. We are two deeply loved and valued people created by a Caring Father.” When we release the goal of agreement with each other, we can learn to pursue an understanding of each other.
The Truth Will Set You Free (John 8:32)
Ephesians 4:25 (NLT) So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.
Vulnerability and Trust. We have been punished in the past, just like Joseph was. Have you ever heard of the Trust Cycle? In the Trust Cycle, when needs are met, trust grows. The problem is that the Trust Cycle can fail at any point.
It’s time to admit that you have needs. Your partner also has needs. So, it’s time to show up in your relationships. I’m giving you permission to discover and share your needs. This is vital to love. It’s critical to the connection you so desperately need.
Ephesians 4:32 (NLT) Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Is Anxiety Growing or Decreasing? In any relationship, anxiety is either growing, decreasing, or you have reached a state of apathy. Relationships in apathy have given up. Don’t give up. CHASE THE FEAR AWAY! It’s time to communicate in a language that those you love can understand. Without belaboring the point already made, it’s time to fill that relationship with messages of, “I love you deeply, and I care about you.”
The Power of Connection
Ephesians 5:2 (NLT) Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
When we go after connection instead of agreement, we powerfully change our relationships. Here are some beliefs that help connection:
I Am Here to Understand. We may not agree, but we can adjust if only we have the most current information on each other.
I Will Be Assertive. You matter, and I matter. I care about the truth in you. I care enough to share the truth within me. I will give you good information on my current ideas, feelings, and needs.
I Am Pursuing A Connection with You. We need two rational human beings in every conversation. I need to bring the best of me, and I need the best of you. But, if we don’t have a connection, the anxiety will invariably amp up, and the worst version of us will show up. Therefore, I’m going to say, “I love you, you matter, and I care about you” in your language until we have a connection.
I know what you’re thinking: “That is not how it goes down Micheal”, but it is. You fight, you calm down, then you resolve. Why go through the part you know is only making it worse?
The First One to Find and Meet THE Need – WINS! Which of course means you both WIN! If your marriage and relationships AREN’T win/win, something is wrong.
What Usually Happens?
We usually start conflict out by making a statement that is basically, “I’m gonna tell you about YOU!” That’s just judgment. We need a statement like this: “I’m gonna tell you about Me. Your behavior is hurting me, so I’m gonna tell you about me, And… I’m inviting you to tell me about you because I care about you and I want to understand you.”
Is there anyone in your life that you need to give good information to or to receive good information from?
Talk About It…
- Have 3 people in your group read Genesis 37:3-5 from different translations. Highlight any words or phrases that you find interesting. Discuss your selections with the group.
- Consider the story of Joseph, his father, and his brothers. Has anyone taught you it’s okay to trust in life? Has anyone taught you it’s not okay to trust? How do you resolve those conflicting messages?
- Is the question, “What do I need?” difficult to answer when you are feeling anxious? Why?
- What is the goal of your relationships? Connection or Disconnection? Why? What is the goal of your communication in those relationships? Agreement or Understanding? Why?
- How would finding the other person’s needs and meeting them help a relationship? Why is it so hard to find and share a person’s real needs?
- How can we be more vulnerable in our relationships? How could we do that wisely?
- Is there a relationship in your life that needs more connection and better information? What could you do this week about that relationship?