Without exception we were created for relationships. Whether we are introverted, extroverted, or somewhere in between, it is undeniable that we as human beings were built for connection. For sure, it may seem safer at times to distance ourselves from others believing the falsehood that we can go through life as a lone ranger. While that may work for a time, sooner or later we come to realize that we do in fact have a need for intimacy with others; that we truly desire love and acceptance, to know and be known. The only problem is…that is really hard.
Relationships of any nature involve a risk because there’s always the possibility of betrayal or rejection. In short, there’s always the chance to be hurt. For some, experience has taught this is to be expected and that people are to be viewed with extreme wariness. Trust becomes a fragile commodity. For others, personal insecurities become a barrier to opening themselves up to potential friendships- especially if they believe their skeletons (both current or past) would deter someone from engaging with them in the present.
I talk to people every day who struggle with both trusting others and feelings of unworthiness. And, if we’re honest, we’ve probably all been there a time or two in some capacity. Perhaps some of you resonated with those first few paragraphs because that’s been you. Or, maybe it’s you now. Maybe you’ve thought because of what you’ve been through in life that you’re somehow disqualified from having quality relationships.
You might even feel as though you need to present yourself to others with a disclaimer or warning of sorts. For instance, maybe you think you need a “Beware, I come with baggage” sign. Or, a “You might want to re-think getting to know me” sign. There are a million reasons we believe these signs are necessary and justified…but are they really helping us? Whether it be issues with addiction, mental health, or unhealed wounds from the past, we often allow our disclaimers to talk us into believing that nobody could accept us. These insecurities can then lead us into a vicious cycle of fear, isolation and loneliness- and away from experiencing genuine friendships.
It’s easy to accept our own thoughts about ourselves as truth, but this can be a pretty detrimental way to live. Instead, we need to turn to the ultimate source of truth- God’s Word. We need to ask ourselves, “What does He say about who we are?” In John 1:12 we learn: “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” For those who are in Christ, we are the children of God! This. This is what anchors us and frees our hearts from fear and insecurity. In my book Remade: Living Free I explore the concept of God as our Father in great detail, but thought I would include an excerpt here in the event that anyone reading this is struggling with their own “sign.”
When you know that you are a child of God, then you know who you really are, and you come to know your true worth. When you know you’re a son or daughter of the King, you won’t need the world to determine your value. When you know you now are adopted as His child, you won’t have to search for your identity in anything else. When the world tells you you’re not good enough, that you can never be loved or forgiven, that you can never be accepted, that you need a relationship, money, or a career to define you, you can say with the utmost confidence, “I know who I am. I am loved, accepted, and forgiven. I am the child of Almighty God.”
It is also so important to know that this adoption is permanent. We are adopted in Christ, and just as God will never cast out Christ, He will never cast us out (ESV Reformation Study Bible). God the Father loves us perfectly, because He loves Christ perfectly. Simply amazing!
We are loved. Loved by the God of the Universe who created us and everything in it! Instead of feeling doubt and uncertainty about ourselves, we can rest in the comfort of knowing our true identity as His child. This is the truth we must remind ourselves of when we’re tempted to hold back from relationships that could potentially be some of the greatest blessings in our lives. We are not designed to fly solo through life, but for community with God and others! Nobody is perfect or has it all together, but we can hold our heads high knowing that we belong forever to our heavenly Father. No disclaimers needed.