God can and does work any way He chooses. But God did not create you to need only Him. That may sound dangerous to say, but hear me out. God does not work alone. There are at least three ways in which God is not all you need.
I know what it's like to look for validation and fulfillment from other people, trying to please them in order to be OK myself and believing what they said about me. And my life didn't become better until I went to God for what only He can provide.
But that's only part of the equation. We get in trouble when we look for things in the wrong place. If you look to people for what only God can give, you'll always be disappointed. But you'll be just as disappointed if you expect God to magically douse you with what He has designed you to get from human relationships.
When God said, "It is not good that man should be alone" (Gen. 2:18b, NKJV), He spoke a principle that goes much deeper than marriage. You get life from Jesus Himself. But much of the fuel you need to live that life comes through other humans.
Why does God not work alone? Here are three reasons you absolutely need people—areas where God designed human relationships to provide you things vital to your well-being.
1. You can't see.
The complicated stuff in your life makes it hard to see what's really going on. You don't know what you don't know. The hurtful ways you learned to respond to people, the little addictions you developed in order to feel better, the lies you came to believe—it's hard to see those things on your own.
Prayer is important: "God, help me see what's really going on here." And God's answers to those prayers frequently come through other people. A Christian counselor, life coach or godly friend can provide a life-changing perspective.
"Lightbulb moments" are just that; you can suddenly see! Another human being can't make you see. But if your heart is at least somewhat open to the need to change, listening to someone who has been there and discovered the way out can be priceless. I can't imagine, in my own life, developing mental wholeness, healthy relationships, godly leadership or anything else of value without learning from people who have "been there, done that."
2. You are relational.
God is relational within Himself: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Being created in His image, we are relational as well. We only thrive when we are connected to other human beings as well as to God Himself.
Those human connections are messy. There are no perfect people available to be in relationship with. And even professionals are limited and human. But that very messiness is part of what can provide you hope. You're not the only one with your problem. And you are stronger—much stronger—when connected with others.
You need at least three kinds of relationships:
—People who are a little further along in their journey, to provide perspective and guidance.
—People who are journeying with you, to lock arms with and journey together with you.
—People who are a little behind you. You become stronger when you offer strength to someone needing help.
This video unpacks those three kinds of people a bit more.
Needing people is just the way you were made. God knew it would be messy—and wonderful.
3. You're leaky.
Life happens. The things you learn, you tend to forget. The strengths you develop gradually lessen without continued practice. The junk of the world saps your energy, belief and courage. Your spiritual life gets contaminated with the foul environment around you. You're like a bucket with holes; stuff just leaks out.
Just as your physical body needs physical food daily, the emotional and spiritual parts of you need food daily as well. Yes, you need God Himself! But God built you to need people as part of that nourishment.
Introvert or extrovert, you cannot supply everything you need to yourself. It's not that other people provide everything you need; they can't! But you cannot plug all the holes in your bucket. You cannot be who God created you to be by staying isolated.
So like a car, you need regular fill-ups with fuel to keep you going. Your created-in-the-image-of-God internal system is built to need people fuel. Other people cannot do your work for you, but you must be connected in order to run.
In order to stay connected to healthy people, I have to invest intentional effort. Perhaps that's the case for you too. But it will definitely be worth it.
Your turn: Who are the people in your life who provide perspective, strength or inner fuel to you? Who might you need to invest effort in connecting with more intentionally? Leave a comment below.
Dr. Carol Peters-Tanksley is both a board-certified OB-GYN physician and an ordained doctor of ministry. As an author and speaker, she loves helping people discover the "fully alive" kind of life Jesus came to bring us. Visit her website at drcarolministries.com.
This article originally appeared at drcarolministries.com.
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