Elevate Marriage

Ryan will minister at Elevate Marriage, a part of the Elevate Family Conference 2017.

The I in Relationships (Guest Blogger: Ruth Joseph)

The I in Relationships
Relationships are inescapable. In world of 7 billion people,1 we spend our entire lives in a repetitive cycle of forming, nurturing or ending relationships. Some are good, some are bad and some are just “ehh ok”. But no matter the status, our lives exist in relationships.
When relationships are healthy, we thrive. However, when our relationships become unhealthy, we are deprived. Scripture tells us that, “bad company corrupts good character (1 Cor. 15:33).” This verse tells us not to hang around “bad company” because they corrupt the “good character” that Christ is forming in us. While this is true, there is another meaning that strikes closer to home.
What corrupts healthy relationships is not only the bad company of others, but also the bad company within one’s self!
We can’t ignore the “bad company” in our genes, family, and everyday lives. It’s easy to deflect on others what we are reluctant to identify in ourselves, but we need to stop deflecting and start reflecting. 
Here are two lessons that I learned.
1- I was created for relationships. Relationships were not created for me.
In a world that is so individualistic, Christ calls us to a higher standard than self-service. He modeled REAL relationships with His family, His disciples, His enemies, and people in society. In each relationship He didn’t come expecting to be served, but rather to serve in hopes that many would be won to the good character of the Father (Mk 10:45). 
2- I grow into a better me when I am in a healthy relationship with you.
We are called to “love one another” as Christ has loved us (Jn 13:34). This kind of love is not of convenience, but rather a free-willed choice. Healthy relationships thrive best when we freely choose love and sacrifice our pride. We are always transformed for the better, when we love through Him.
So take time to reflect on your existing relationships and the bad company that may be hindering all the good God wants you to enjoy.
RuthJoseph2015Deaconess Ruth Joseph is an emerging young adult leader at Christ Church. Most Sundays, she can be found at the West Campus helping to lead worship or at the altar joyfully dancing during worship. Whether it’s on or off the altar, Ruth has a heart of worship that extends beyond just singing. She is a 316 person that is committed to service (passing love on), as a Community Service Coordinator, Life Group leader and a Bible Study Facilitator for the Quest/College & Young Adult Ministry. Last June Ruth it was an honor to have one of our very own be ordained into the Deaconate Ministry. (Deaconess) Ruth welcomes the opportunity to continue to model 316 within the walls of the church and beyond.

Out of the Loop

OutoftheLoopLet’s get right down to it: Far too many people feel like they are “out of the loop”. What does that term even mean?

Well, it depends on who you ask. Some feel like they are not included in social outings, conversations or given the opportunity to build relationships with certain people. Others feel like they are rarely considered when decisions are made, leaving them with the sense of worthlessness. Then you have those who have recently discovered that they thought they were “in the loop” to only find out they have been duped.

What is the loop? It’s the people, group, or associations you deem valuable to be a part of. Otherwise, it would not demand your attention, your hurt feelings or your criticism. Depending on the context, “the loop” also has informal membership that rarely gets publicized. Either you are a part of it or you are not. Induction is not official and the way you enter is not public knowledge. We have experienced this on many levels: in the workplace, in friendships/relationships, and even in our families. This extends from Wall Street to Main Street, from your house and yes, even the House of God.

Here’s a question I want to raise and invite you to think about: Why do you want to be “in the loop”? Whatever circle or association you view as important or worthy, what’s the real reason why you want to even be in it? Is it for the closeness? Possibly to access more information or connections? Is it for your own self-esteem? Is it to boast to others that you are in that loop? Checking out your motives reveals your heart and why you are investing so much time in getting in rather than getting to know you.

I’ve seen this time and time again, especially in regards to social media. Nowadays, we can communicate subtly like covert operations to reveal or unveil our connections. The photos, the statuses and Instagram videos display who we are close to and where we go. It is a parade of who’s who in various circles to promote one’s worth. Nothing is wrong with posting anything that is appropriate with friends and family. But, the question is still out there — it demands an answer — why are you doing it? 

Being “out of the loop” (whatever that loop may be) may be very distressing to you. It may cause you to question who you are. You may wonder: “Why can’t I be a part of that”? or “How did that person make it and I didn’t?” I get it. Allow me to take this opportunity to offer a word of caution: Your energy in trying to be a part of a loop distracts you from being a circle starter! Too many people in loops take an unfortunate pride in limiting who can be a part of “them”. If that’s the case, why would you want to fraternize with anyone who has that attitude? A circle starter finds ways of connecting people through their circle of friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and acquaintances. This circle never ends and allows for people who never had the chance to connect to do so.

Discover ways that you can be a circle starter. What ways can you connect people together that are mutually beneficial? Let those who need to be in loops for their own self-aggrandizement to themselves. That’s what they are about — themselves. When you are a circle starters, you organically create opportunities for healthy relationships to be formed in the spirit of growth, learning and exposure to new things. If you want to be in the know, let others discover what they may not know about you. Let them discover the depth of who you are. If there is someone or people you want to know, don’t make futile attempts for them to know you in a manipulative, contrived manner. Be you — start healthy relationships where you are — they will find you out! And you’ll never feel “out of the loop”! – REF