When you took a step of faith to make the Rise Up Commitment, there was an opportunity to select one of five responses to the support and connection you feel you currently have:
- I don't feel I have a strong, healthy connection for support throughout the commitment
- I have connections, but don't feel they are positive and healthy enough to support me throughout the commitment
- I have good connections, but not sure they would challenge me to remain committed throughout
- I have strong, healthy connections that will lovingly challenge me to remain committed
- I desire a strong healthy connection and I'm open to being vulnerable and establishing the necessary connection(s) for this commitment and beyond
Fortunately, in our group many have strong, healthy connections who will lovingly challenge. There are others, however, who desire this connection or may be uncertain if the good connections will support in finishing the commitment. This is good, we have all come together to be connected and connection is important!
We aren’t designed to operate alone; we’re designed to operate as one body, in harmony and unity with one another. In Dr. Henry Cloud’s book, The Power of the Other – he describes the first four types of connections.
No connection: this person may in fact be a people person, and even go above and beyond for everyone around them, but they are not accessible or vulnerable with others in their life. You might know this person, “I definitely have a much easier time helping others, but it is hard for me to ask for and receive help myself”. This maybe learned, it may be a result of becoming self-reliant because those we thought should be there for us weren’t. Whatever the circumstance, they don’t truly feel connected to others.
Bad connection: In this relationship others have the power to make those around them feel bad. High expectations, perfectionism, unreasonable demands, a critical spirit, withholding of praise, shame, guilt, put downs and the silence treatment are all characteristics of a bad connection. As a result, one may experience anxiety, fear, guilt, shame, and feelings of inferiority. All fueled by a constant need to seek approval by the very person given the power to make them feel bad. Being honest about struggles and needs isn’t an option, for fear of upsetting someone. This results in spending more time people pleasing, rather than truly experiencing growth and gaining an overall sense of well-being.
Pseudo good connection: or false positive connection. This interaction is based on positives and often flattery only. It’s all about the good times and never sharing the challenges, struggles or conflicts. In this relationship, one may feel the need to always tell the good, never express the bad, and surely never make the other person aware of how they may be making them challenged in their behaviors. Characteristics of this connection are shallow, out of touch and self-centered.
True connections: essentially those relationships where one can be their whole self, the authentic person they are right now (because the goal is to constantly change and grow in Christ). In a true connection one can bring their heart, mind, soul and passions to the table and know the other person they’re connecting with has their very best interest at heart. They can be open and honest about their struggles and weaknesses and not worry about a cold shoulder or rejection or passive aggressive behavior. They know the other person genuinely cares about their growth and well-being as a whole being (spirit, soul and body). In this type of connection, an individual does not feel less than or driven by approval seeking, but feels restored, energetic, motivated, at peace, and a deep joy.
Research shows over and over again that people trying to reach goals succeed at a much greater rate if they are connected to a STRONG human support system, and this is why we are encouraged to desire and develop strong, healthy connections: to see growth and change throughout the commitment.
Perhaps when reading through these descriptions there was a “ping” in your thoughts or feelings about where you are, from a connection stand point. Be encouraged to press into your response, pray for God to open His heart up to you, and be moved to allow Him to enable you to establish strong, healthy relationships throughout this commitment.