Can You Relate?

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Nothing in life happens in isolation. Things happen in context or in relation to their environment. With this in mind, let us consider what is carried within the word relationship. A relationship is a connection between people, places, and/or things that can be either physical, emotional, psychological, or a combination of these three elements. Furthermore, relationships with other people and the world around us is what composes our realities. These relationships provide us with a sense of self, which can be understood as the element of a person that thinks thus establishing the desires, feelings, and aspirations through which one perceives his or her environment. We also learn how to respond emotionally and psychologically to certain situations/circumstances that we are exposed to through our relationships with and within our environments. It is possible to have varying relationships with our environment depending on how we perceive and experience it.

For example, if we feel a part of our environment we feel as if we belong to it and that the environment enriches us in some way. The environment can also provide individual and cultural meaning. Based on these environmental experiences we can also develop relationships with things within the environment such as compulsive behaviors, addictions, and materialism. Along with these relationships with our environments we also have relationships with other people, and all of these relationships seem to follow patterns.

Carmen Lynch, M.F.CC, provides us with labels to help describe the various kinds of connections that are possible, which she identifies as five key dominant patterns of relationship: survival relationships (we feel like we can’t go on without the relationship), validation relationships, scripted relationships, acceptance relationships, and individuation-assertion relationships (a relationship where needs and growth processes are respected) (Patterns of Relationships). In thinking of relationships in these particular ways, one can see how pivotal having a relationship with God, the creator of all things, is.

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. – 1 Timothy 6:6-10

Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. – 1 Timothy 6:17-19

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore, put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. – Colossians 3:1-17


Lynch, C. (2016). Patterns of Relationships. Retrieved from 

Darnell Sheffield
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