• Paige Barker

Page 16: Choosing the Right Relationships

One of the girls I get the privilege of pouring into turned sixteen a few months ago, and I was asked to speak a blessing over her at a special a sweet sixteen celebration. Several women were given specific words to guide us into what to say over the birthday girl, and my word was: Relationships. I laughed when I was given this word because relationships is my number one core value, and because of my variety of experiences with relationships - good and bad. I've experienced a lot of hurt and brokenness with relationships, so I thought it was funny that God decided to use me for this topic. So, I began to write what my sixteen-year-old self wished she would have known.

As we are still in February (the month of relationships it seems like), I thought it would be a good time to share a little bit of what I wrote. (Some of it has either been removed or modified to keep the confidentiality between the birthday girl and me).

"It took me a while to write this, only because it’s such a vast topic to speak on. And I love that I got this topic because relationships is my number one core value.

Relationships are such a pivotal part of life, and everything that my pastor says about relationships is so right, 'Alignment before assignment. If you get with the right people in the right place at the right time, the right things will happen. Your alignment will determine your next level - good or bad.'

I can attest to that 100% based on my personal experiences with relationships - past & present. Although I’ve never had my heart broken because of a romantic relationship, those closest to me know that I’ve had more than enough heartbreak in friendships. But every single time someone chooses to walk away, I’m always reminded of season, reason and lifetime - that friends are for a season, a reason or a lifetime. And each time, God’s faithful love is proven stronger and stronger.

My natural desire is to please people and keep the peace in a relationship, even when it’s causing me inner turmoil and harm. But what I’ve learned is that every time you aim to please people first rather than God, you will walk away disappointed & hurt because they’re human and will fail you, every time. We were all born with a hole that was meant to be filled by God, and God alone. So when you’re trying to find validation, acceptance, and self-worth in your relationships, you will always feel less than, marginalized and feel like you’re never good enough because a person can never fill a hole they aren’t equipped to fill. The only person who is equipped to fill the hole we have is Jesus.

As I said earlier, relationships is my number one core value, but there are three parts to that:

My relationship with God.

My relationship with myself.

My relationships with others.

And in that exact order. When our relationship with God is right, our relationship with ourselves will be right; therefore we’ll be able to have right relationships with others because we’re not seeking fulfillment from an incomplete source. As human beings, we’re all broken vessels in need of a Savior so why would we try to fill the hole of our heart with something that is not complete? That doesn’t mean you won’t ever get hurt, but when you do you won’t be shaken because whoever hurt you is not the source of your validation, acceptance or self-worth. The source of your validation, acceptance, and self-worth comes from God, getting in His presence and reading His Word - what He speaks over you. This has been a lesson that has taken me years to learn, and frankly, a lesson I’m still learning.

So when it comes to choosing friends, who are you choosing to go through life with?

I will never forget when God gave me a revelational download last year. I was reading 2 Corinthians‬ ‭6:14-15, which says:

“Do not be joined to unbelievers. What do right and wrong have in common? Can light and darkness be friends? How can Christ and Satan agree? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?”

We hear this scripture frequently in context with choosing a spouse, but I believe it goes much deeper than that. When I was preparing for teaching a class, I read this scripture, and the Holy Spirit whispered,“Paige, that applies to every single relationship you will ever have.”

Choose to do life with people who will remind you of who you are in God and people who will always push you towards Christ. But that’s not to say you can’t love people who don’t live the way you live - Jesus commands us to do so.

Lastly, remember to be the friend you want to have... be the kind of friend YOU need, and over time you will attract the best friends you’ve ever had.

You're 16 and like I’ve told you before: if you get it now, life will be much sweeter and meaningful for you. Not easier, because life isn’t easy. But you will have the right people around you who will lift you up, push you, champion you into the calling God has for your life. Don’t get too focused on fitting in the “popular” crowd that you lose your passion for living a Godly life. Don’t get so caught up in wanting to be considered “cool” that you lose sight of who God has called you to be."

And let me tell you what I said to the beautiful girl who was celebrating turning sixteen: You are a world changer, a fighter, a lover, a dreamer, a history maker... all for the Kingdom of God.

You are wonderful; You are beautiful; You are lovely; You are worthy of having the best people in your life; You are destined for greatness. And more importantly than that... God is forever with you. Always remember that.