3 Things that Build Lasting Relationships

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Let’s stop for a minute and think. Our lives revolve around interacting with other people. Some people we like and others we don’t. Some interactions are good and others are not so good. I wish all the relationships in my life were pleasant and easy. The reality is that relationships, whether it’s your marriage or a friendship, take effort. And whether we like to admit it or not, our relationships matter and mold who we are.

The effort we put into our relationships will influence the course of our lives. The people we meet, the people we love, the people we encounter, our relationships with them can lead to marriage, lifelong friendships, and even our dream job.

According to God’s word, loving God and loving people is our greatest calling. If it’s important to God then it should be important to us. And if we do all things through love for him and others, then our relationships and life will be a whole lot rewarding and meaningful.

Deep down inside, even us introverts, long to build lasting and deep relationships. Even when we have a billion walls up to protect us, we long for fulfilling relationships.

Being married, losing friendships, and leading others have taught me that to build lasting relationships we gotta:

Be consistent
I’m convinced that consistency is the substance that makes up success. When we are consistent we exude trust, reliability, and legitimacy. How can a person who’s late and unreliable keep a job or get a promotion? The same goes for our friendships, marriages, and people we mentor. We have to be there for the people in our lives, in the good and the bad. It’s pretty sad when I realize that I tend to push people away when things get messy. If we study Christ’s attitude towards His relationships, we see His dedication, consistency, and involvement. He was always present, always encouraging, and always showed up.

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Show Grace
Stepping out to be Jesus’ hands and feet at times can cause us to feel helplessness, discouraged or even downright angry. When we are there for people we see the stuff we wish we didn’t. We encounter people’s hang ups and faults. There’s one thing that gives us the strength and courage to keep building our relationships when they get sticky. It’s called grace. When I got engaged I wish I would’ve known that grace was something I was going to need more than ever. If marriage has taught me anything, it’s taught me that grace goes a long way. It actually is what sustains a relationship. Grace tells me to care and love my husband even when he has offended or hurt me. Grace tells me to reach out to a friend who is being distant even if it means disposing of my pride. Grace tells me to stop being so hard on myself when the fish I “cooked” tastes like crap.
P.S. My cooking has gotten a lot better 😉

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Be Vulnerable
The glue that binds it all together is vulnerability. When I hear the word vulnerability the first things that come to mind are exposure and fear. But vulnerability isn’t meant to expose us in a way that’s detrimental. If we lose the fear of being rejected, isolated, or judged, we are open to vulnerability. And when we are vulnerable with the people we love, meaning we are unafraid to show all of who we are, we can show grace when it’s hard and we can be consistent in their lives. The times I’ve been the most vulnerable, in my career or with my husband or with God, have lead to a total “vulnerability hangover”. Have you ever experienced that? I start questioning myself: “Was I too honest, too outspoken, too open, too caring, too loving? Will letting down this wall make me seem weak?” But looking back it’s those moments that have forged relationships, opportunities and have opened doors of success.

To learn more about vulnerability, connection, and letting go of fear, I highly recommend reading Brené Browns, Daring Greatly. It has been an extreme blessing in my life!


What have you learned from past and present relationships about building lasting connections?

What is one practical way you can build your most valued relationships today?

Valentine’s Giveaway Winner

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Thank you to everyone who liked, shared, and commented on our Valentine’s Mr. & Mrs. Giveaway!

This is such a sweet giveaway and I’m secretly jealous that I can’t keep the mugs. I’m especially happy to be giving a gift that celebrates marriage.

Well, without further ado, the winner is Lillian Roura! Congrats!

Lil, I hope you enjoy this gift with your hubby for many years to come! Please send me pics of where you hang the prints and a pic of you and your hubby enjoying some coffee in your new mugs 🙂

Please email me at info@styldbygrace.com with your contact info so I can mail out your gifts.

 

#RelationshipGoals

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Can I share how daunting the new year can be?

I kind of feel obligated to be on my “A-game” because everyone else is trying to be on theirs. And honestly, I think resolutions are so 2015. 😉

So this year, in 2016, I have decided to set goals for the different parts of my life. There’s definitely health goals and professional goals that I have written down. I’ve also decided to set goals for a very important, and sometimes neglected, part of my life. My relationships.

Yup, I’ve written down what my relationship goals are. Our lives are made up of the memories and day-to-day activities we share with the people we make time for, the people we share a meal with, and the people we let our guard down for.

At times, I look back at an event or a conversation or a misunderstanding and I think to myself how it could’ve been better or maybe avoided. The habits we form relationally affect us daily. And some of the habits I’ve become accustomed to, are not very healthy and aren’t honoring to God. Some of those habits can be hurtful for me and others. That is why this year I want to be healthy. Not just physically, but most importantly, relationally.

Ok, so here’s some of my relationship goals:

  • LISTEN to people when they speak. Because sometimes I tune them out and I pretend to listen. Not nice.
  • Spend more time with my family. Because I’m not very intentional about making time for them and that is hurtful.
  • Be aware of the time I spend with my husband. Because my marriage should be a priority.
  • Stop gossiping. It’s toxic and it doesn’t honor God.
  • Set strict boundaries with people who have abused my trust. Because God’s word teaches us to guard our hearts.
  • Be generous and give others from the resources I have been given by God.
  • Learn when to say no and when to say yes. Because if I say yes to too many things, I’ll have to say no to the people that need me the most.
  • Be honest about my feelings and have the courage to say it without being rude.

All of these goals challenge me. And that’s why they should be goals. Setting goals for ourselves is inspiring and wonderful because they don’t ever have expiration dates. You keep trying till you reach them. I’m going to keep working on these goals, past 2016, until I reach them. In the process, I hope that the people in my life feel more loved, appreciated, and respected.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
(Ephesians 4:2-3)

What about you? Have you set your goals for 2016? What about relational goals?

 

 

 

 

Anchored by God-What’s the Connection?

As I started thinking of how we can live a life that’s anchored by God, I was reminded of the time that it took me to understand and actually walk this principle out. Living out my faith in God from ages 14-20 was a complete roller coaster for me. At times, I was devoted, and at other times, I was completely astray. I made connections with the wrong people and decided I wasn’t going to do the “church thing”.

But one night in my dorm room, a few months before turning 21, I told God I was completely exhausted and tired of living on a never ending cycle of devotion and unfaithfulness towards Him. I was at a point where the things I said I’d never do, I did. And the heaviness of being away from God, was getting to me. Well, God spoke to me so clearly that night. I will never forget it. He told me I was standing at a crossroads and I had to choose His way or my way. But I couldn’t be in-between any longer. That night I decided to get off the roller coaster I had been on for 6 years and decided to live a life devoted to God.

My heart was resolved, but I had to put action to my decision. Actions that before I hadn’t taken seriously. I believe the actions I took by faith, are the ones that have helped me stay connected to God. And they are the actions we as believers must take on a daily basis to be anchored by God.

So what are these practical actions that keep us connected and anchored?

1. The Church
1 Corinthians 12:12-28
Yes, going to church will keep us connected to God. The bible teaches us that we should not neglect congregating as believers. I used to say that I didn’t like church because people were judgemental and controlling. The truth of the matter is that churches are comprised of people. And people, including myself, are not perfect. There will be judgemental and controlling people at church, but there are also loving, generous, grace-filled people that help us walk out our faith. The church is not a building, the church is made up of the people that go to the building. It’s our duty to encourage the church to keep fighting the good fight of faith. If you’re alone on this, it’s going to be a lot harder to stay anchored. But if there are people encouraging you and inspiring you to “keep swimming”, it will be easier to walk with God.

2. God’s Word
2 Timothy 3:16 | Psalm 119:11
What does the bible mean to you? Do you take its words as truth or as simple suggestions? I would like to submit that the bible is our guide and ultimate truth. It is literally the words God speaks to us. If we need to know what to do with our lives, or the will of God for our lives, then we need to read His teachings. The bible, because it comes DIRECTLY from God, is our strength. When we are about to throw in the towel, God’s word gives us the strength, the knowledge, the understanding, and the determination, to stay anchored. There are so many verses of encouragement and so many promises for those who are living for God. God’s word is the love story of how God gave it all up, to give us freedom and life. No other story can compare to the one written in the Bible because it is not fiction, it is true and it is true because it comes from the very mouth of God.

Maybe all of this is foreign to you as you’re reading or maybe this is something you’ve heard so many times. If it’s new, don’t be overwhelmed. Take steps every day towards these actions. Take an online bible study, read a Christian book, or read a Psalm every day. And find a church that believes in and teaches from the Bible.  If this is not new to you and you’ve heard it all your life, then be encouraged to not grow weary. Take it up a notch. Make a commitment to dig deeper into God’s word and continue serving at your home church.


What are some practical steps you have taken to stay anchored by God?

Do you have to recommit to making God your anchor? Or do you have to make a decision to follow Him once and for all? 

Should I say yes or no? Overcoming People Pleasing

This post is part of Lysa TerKeurst’s “The Best Yes” Blog Tour which I am glad to be a part of along with many other inspiring bloggers.  To learn more and join us, click here.


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“You know you’re caught in the rip current of people pleasing when you dread saying yes, but feel powerless to say no.” -The Best Yes, Lysa TerKeurst

Hi, my name is Theresa and I am a people pleaser. The hardest thing for me to do is say “no” to a friend, to a family member, to a leader, to anyone. I will beat around the bush as long as I can to avoid saying no. I’m not sure where this bad habit came from, but I have learned that it doesn’t make me a nicer person compared to the person who can say no, it makes me a stressed out crazy woman!

People pleasing, I believe, comes from a place of wanting to be liked and accepted. Desiring to please people at any cost can leave us empty very quickly. There have been many times when I knew I should’ve said no but felt like I couldn’t. The anxiety that settles in my heart knowing I might have disappointed a friend is something I struggle with to this day.

I would be lying if I said that I’ve completely overcome my need to please, but I am working on getting better at it. Living a life surrendered to God was difficult for me growing up, because I felt I had to be accepted by people and many of the people I decided to hang with were doing the opposite of what a God-fearing person should be doing. That led me to make decisions that ultimately drew me away from God. Experience has taught me that being accepted, people pleasing at any cost, wasn’t worth jeopardizing my relationship with God. He was the only One I had to please, and I was already accepted and loved by Him, no matter what I did or didn’t do.

Believing that you’ll be more loved, more favored, more welcomed because you say yes to someone’s request or someone’s party, is an unhealthy and erroneous way to live. If your friend or relative will love you less because you declined a request or invitation, then they’re not a good friend anyway. Over the past couple of years, I have learned that saying yes to the right things will set me up to have a more fulfilling relationship with God and with people. If I say yes to every project, every meeting, every outing, every opportunity, I won’t have time to hear God and do what He is calling me to do.

Oh and not to mention, I’ll drive my husband crazy with my long list of to do’s because I wasn’t able to say no. (Side note: it’s funny how we want to blame our husbands for not being able to keep up with us, yet we’re the ones exhausting ourselves and going crazy with our extensive list of tasks. They weren’t asking for this; we did this to ourselves, ladies.) At the end of the day we must learn to distinguish what our motives and intentions are when we say yes. Is it to impress others or to impress God? Is it to get accolade or to serve God and others? Also, are we prioritizing the things God has called us to make first? Like our spouses, our family, and our alone time with God. We should ask ourselves, “Is this ‘The Best Yes’ I can give my friend, is this answer a genuine ‘yes’, or am I overcommitting and giving them a yes disguised as a no?”

By declaring God’s truth that says, “I am accepted, I am loved, I am enough”, I am overcoming the need to please people. Discovering what God says in His word about me and what He has called me to do as His follower, helps me keep my motives and true intentions in check. Also, by implementing practical steps like giving myself time to think of my response (yes or no), having a max amount of projects I allow myself to take on, or asking my husband for his opinion before making a decision, I am overcoming my need to please.

How are you learning to overcome people pleasing?


New York Times Bestselling author Lysa TerKeurst has written a new book about finding your Best Yes. Many call this book “inspiring” and “fabulous.”  I call it a game-changer.  You can grab a copy at http://goo.gl/ZFUZbD