Friday, April 13, 2012

Building Teams For Life

Have you ever given any thought to the how’s and whys of the relationships you have around you?  As we go through life we connect with people and build relationships from a variety of sources.  We have blood relatives, marital ties, work relationships, school relationships, church or ministry relationships and special interest or hobby groups—to name a few. If you really take a look at the people in your relationship circles, you can start to see patterns in the people you have around you.  Those patterns can help you to determine your own areas of growth and pruning in your life.
Before I got into recovery, I didn’t pay any attention to the reasons people were in my life.  I just blindly went through life doing all I could to cope with each new circumstance that landed in my path.  When I started to realize that I had choices about who I could be in relationship with and what those relationships would look like, it was very freeing.  I had to go through a painful process of pruning some of those relationships.
One of the guiding principles I use to build new relationships is based on a definition from the book “Safe People” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.  They define safe people as someone who:
1.    Draws us closer to God.
2.    Draws us closer to others.
3.    Helps us become the real person God created us to be.
As I recently began to lead a group of women through a Christian 12-step program, I was again faced with looking at the relationships I have around me.  While I’ve been blessed to have some amazing spiritual women mentor me and befriend me, I still needed to strengthen the team of recovery relationships I have around me.  That’s because as you work through the 12 steps you need to be connected with people who have walked this path before you.  You need their expertise and guidance and to offer hope as you progress through the 12 steps.
But that is not the only team I am building around me.  I am taking these same principles into my career and life goals as well.  For my writing, I attend monthly Christian writer’s meetings so I can meet other writers and glean from their wisdom.  For my scrapbooking and photography interests, I connect with others who have a love of those hobbies.  I also have a group of trusted friends who I can call on for prayer and comfort in my darker times. 
Building teams for life is a very rewarding process.  The harder part is discerning when to prune those relationships.  But if we go through life with the philosophy that there are seasons to our lives as Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, it is much easier to make decisions to prune our relationships or to let them go at the right time.
Whether you are working on a 12-step program or just dealing with life’s every day challenges, we all need a team of people around us to support us, encourage us and mentor us.  When you think about the teams of people around you, do you see gaps that need to be filled or areas to prune?  What’s your next step to cultivating the relationships you need in your life to achieve your goals?  What are you waiting for?  Just do it!

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