All relationships take work. I’m learning that relationships don’t just happen, I actually have to decide to pursue others in order to be close.
Sometimes I lose motivation to build relationships when I think others don’t like me or they’ll feel like I’m taking up their time. And sometimes, if I do initiate, I’ll feel insecure and afraid they won’t reciprocate or value me. These insecurities and fears occur when I am solely focused on the other person’s response. Instead, I can ask myself what I can do to change in order to build a closer relationship.
So how can we become motivated to build relationships? I believe it starts by being moved and inspired by God, valuing others more than myself, and by turning to God for the courage I need. Only then can I have the power to be motivated and to become the friend God has destined me to be.
Moved by God’s love
I spend most of my day thinking and worrying about myself. I can fill my mind with thoughts about what I need to do that day, what people will think about the things I’m doing, and long for me-time in the evenings.
I find it challenging every day to set aside myself and prioritize the people around me. I’m learning that when I’m focused on my own needs and desires, it takes up all the room in my heart and makes it impossible to consider others.
Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?  Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.Philippians 2:1-2 NLT
Becoming a selfless and loving person really starts in our own time with God. Each day I need to unburden my heart with God and get encouragement and comfort from the scriptures. When I am focused on who God is and his heart towards me, it helps me make room for others.
When we are moved by God’s power, wisdom, and unfailing love, it gives us perspective about who we are in comparison to God, and shows us what we should value. God’s perspective gives us the realization that our selfish desires don’t lead us to live an inspiring or purposeful life. When we see things from God’s perspective, our narrow focus and selfish desires shift to loving others and living for a purpose greater than ourselves.
- What encouragement and comfort do you get from spending time with God?
- Do you leave your times with God more inspired by God and who he is?
- How can having a godly perspective change what you value in life?
Selflessness: I want to consider others
In order to build relationships, we have to first identify what makes it challenging. I’m seeing that I typically approach relationships with a me first mindset. I think primarily about how the other person will feel or think about me. But God shows us how we should approach relationships and be humble and interested in others.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”– Philippians 2:3-4 NIV
The desire to build relationships comes from admiring and valuing others. When we value another person’s strengths, it motivates us to want to learn from them. With this mindset, we can approach our relationships by considering their life more than our own.
I’ve seen this personally when I make decisions to put aside my fears and insecurities. I can then make room in my mind and heart to think about and consider what the other person is going through. I can go into conversations with questions, thoughts and a giving attitude.
One of the things that keeps me from doing this is my vain conceit. Because I desire to be admired, it’s challenging to want others around me to be seen as admirable. Instead, I end up feeling envious, angry and competitive.
It’s moments when I decide to learn from someone instead of acting out of my vain conceit, that I begin to develop a heart for admiring people around me. This has really helped me to become more motivated to initiate and connect with others.
- How does selfishness stop you from being interested in others?
- Who is someone you can admire and learn from? How can you take an interest in them this week?
Courage: Asking God for help
One of the other things that stops me from building relationships is my fear. I can be shy and insecure, leading me to refrain from asking questions or sharing anything. I remember a time when I started dating and was afraid to express anything vulnerable. Even giving a compliment or sharing something encouraging was so uncomfortable for me. What helped me overcome this was simply asking God for help to be able to give my heart and have courage.
Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.-2 Corinthians 3:4-5 NIV
This passage says that our confidence and security should come from God. We don’t have to be perfect or have it all together. God will equip us with everything we need, and this gives us great confidence. If God says we are competent because of our connection to him, then we can take risks and give our heart in relationships.
After graduating college, I moved to another city for work and had to build new friendships. There was one friend in particular that I felt jealous of and insecure around because she seemed really confident. I decided to pray through it and ask God to help me have courage to be honest about the insecurity and jealousy.
She responded by saying she felt the same things towards me and it helped to bring us closer. God helped me to overcome my fear to take a risk and it helped us become real friends. Within a short time, she became one of my closest friends and was a bridesmaid in my wedding.
God, through his word, teaches and trains us how to build relationships. God has chosen each of us for a purpose, and he wants to help us and equip us to be effective along our journey. Sometimes all that is required of us is to simply ask him for help.
- How can you ask God for help and rely on him for courage?
- What relationships would you pursue if you were confident in God?
This article is part one of the “Why Am I So Unmotivated to Build Relationships” study. To read the second part, click here.