How are you with others?

Last time, I discussed ways of being with God. To recap, I encouraged you to ask these questions to God:

  1. How am I with You?
  2. How do I want to be with You?
  3. How do You want me to be with you?
  4. How are You with me?

    Mother hugging a child.

    Photo by lobstar28. Used in accordance with Creative Commons.

Now, this idea of ways of being is important not just for your relationship with God, but for your relationships with others too. It’s worth pondering how you are with the other people in your life: your spouse, your kids, your friends, your co-workers.  If you really want to find out, you could actually ask. Be prepared…how you think you are may not actually be how you’re perceived!

Then, consider how you want to be with them. How do you want to be seen by them? Think about key characteristics that would describe your idea for how they experience you, such as: loving, dependable, always there, empathetic, they can share anything with you. To really push yourself, consider how you want to be remembered by them after you’ve died. That’s the ultimate clincher, at least in my book. Focusing there really pushes me to consider how I want to be remembered and helps clarify how I truly want to live. I suspect it will do the same for you.

Remember, too, to saturate yourself in the message of the Bible as you’re considering your ways of being. Scripture has much to say about this, both in terms of how we are commanded to be as God’s people and how God Himself is with us. Looking at both can shape your views dramatically.

It’s important to state your key characteristics positively rather than negatively. For example, say “available and calm” rather than “not busy.” The reason is simply that you will focus on whatever you state. So if you state a negative, all your attention will be on avoiding that characteristic rather than building something positive. And then the feel of your life will be more like “don’t mess it up” rather than “I’m joyfully building something meaningful.” Which would you rather have?

At this point, I would be remiss if I failed to mention Michael Hyatt’s excellent free resource, Creating Your Personal Life Plan. The very first exercise in his book is for you to work through your key relationships (God, spouse, kids, friends, and so forth) and decide how you want them to remember you after your life is over. And the book doesn’t stop there…he’s got a ton of helpful exercises and guidelines for you!

How do you want your significant relationships to be characterized?

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