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2nd Component of a Successfull Relationship

This past season in volleyball I had a first year player who actually became a starter (that almost never EVER happens).  To keep his identity safe we will call him Derrick S.  No, let’s go with D. Smith.  He was a senior who had played on the basketball team.  Anyhow, he really knew nothing of volleyball but was athletic enough and I am a great, intuitive, excellent teaching, yet humble coach.  Thus, he started.  Well, one game early in the season it was his turn to go in and he didn’t.  I looked at him, disappointed that he wasn’t ready and said (with the love of Christ) “Derrick, do you need an invitation!?!?”  His reply, “I think that would be best.”  You see, he was so new that he didn’t really understand the rotations and when it was his time to play.  Oh, right, my bad.

I have explained how we really need to have solid relationships if we are to properly have our emotional needs met.  The first step is to place your expectations on God, not others, to meet your needs.  Fine, do you need me to send you an invitation to your part in the process?  Like Derrick would it be best?  Ironically, to a degree Derrick shows us/you the way.  The second key to successful relationships is Open, Honest, and Vulnerable communication.  Now, whereas Derrick was open, honest, and vulnerable under the onslaught of a tyrant (albeit fearless and inspiring) coach, the key here is to be open, honest and vulnerable with your emotional needs.

Please understand that I am not referring to ALL of your relationships ALL of the time.  No, you don’t want to become that guy or girl.  You know, the one that every time you ask them how they are you’re looking at 20 minutes and tears?  No, don’t be that person.  I am speaking of your most significant relationships.  If you are married this most certainly should be your spouse.  If not them or for certain things a very close friend.  If you are single, be careful that this is not with whoever you are dating, at least not until you are very serious if not engaged.  Oh, I’m not saying you should be closed, dishonest, and guarded…just not a wide open emotional book…all the time.   For the single folks I’m speaking of your closest friend, your dearest sibling, your spiritual mentor…your “go to” person, the one that helps you through the crap that comes your way in life.  If you have no one that comes close to meeting that need look at the list again.  Pick someone, find someone, you need SOMEONE.  Trust me, God has put someone in your world ready to meet your emotional needs…find them (and no, it’s not the scumbag 45 year old guy who “just gets me” (if you are 19 that is…it very well may be that 45 year old scumbag if you are 45 yourself)).

As we continue remember that you are trusting that God will use this (these) relationship(s) to meet your needs.  He’s on it.  You don’t have to manipulate your world to give you what you need.  As said before, that just won’t work anyhow.  Begin by being open.  Be open to the fact that someone may actually meet your needs?  Seem obvious?  Maybe.  However, I would bet that there are many of you who have felt (and been) let down enough that the very thought of someone being “there” for you emotionally is scary if not downright laughable.  Be open to it.  Be open with your conversation and communication.  Don’t just answer in one word.  Don’t just gloss over how you actually feel.  Don’t answer “fine” when everything about you (and your last 30 tweets) screams, “I’M NOT FINE!!!”

Secondly, be honest.  If you’re struggling, come out and say it.  Christians are pretty much the worst at this.  You see, they get stuck in a twisted lie.  The lie is that they can’t be honest.  They feel that if they are honest about how they are (when they’re not doing well) to another Christian that it will make them look bad or that they are lacking in faith.  If they are honest about crap in their life to a non Christian it would be a “bad witness”.  Witness, by the way, is a word only religious people use…well, and law enforcement personnel…but I digress.  I would go so far as to say that if all I ever told people since Trey was diagnosed was that I was “great, fine, never better” at best I would get a weak smile and a sigh, perhaps a shaking of the head.  They wouldn’t want to know more about the God I know and love…and trust.  They would just feel bad for me but know that talking about it, really talking about it was off limits.  No, that’s not how we were created to be.  Be honest…not all inclusive mind you.  Remember, this isn’t with EVERYONE ALL THE TIME (again, don’t be THAT person).  No, but be open and honest with that special someone you hope to have meet your needs…and you theirs.

Finally, be vulnerable.  Frankly, to me you either have an emotional need that isn’t being met or you’re in denial.  I don’t care who you are.  So, be vulnerable.  Go there.  In a quiet moment (typically in our 15 minutes) I will share with Rachel where I am emotionally…and she with me.  I won’t just share where I am in that moment but what I’ve been needing lately.  “But Jay” you say “this is scary.”  Yeah, it’s scary because you’ve been hurt before.  Fear enters in when hurts go unprocessed.  That’s what we’re trying to do here, find someone that you can successfully process your hurts with.  I can guarantee you this, if you don’t find that person, if you aren’t open, honest, and vulnerable, if you haven’t fully trusted that God will meet your needs, you will spend all of your days consciously and subconsciously trying in vain to get your needs met.  Regardless if it is scary, and I acknowledge that it is, it is essential to be vulnerable.  Like anything else, you don’t have to lead with the biggest whopper you have.  Start small, tell them that your day sucked and you just need someone to give you an “awe honey”.  If they do…go from there.

If Derrick hadn’t been open, honest, and vulnerable with me I would have assumed that at best he was absent minded and not focused.  At worst he would have been scared and not a competitor.  No, he was just knew to the sport and simply didn’t know.  Now, I knew.  I was able to take where he was, teach him, and make him more complete.  If you are open, honest and vulnerable with your emotional needs (with someone, not everyone) you have a chance at being much more healthy, much more peaceful, much more complete.

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