Why is it that certain people seem to have the best lives? Why is it that certain types of people seem to move up faster in their jobs? Why is that certain people seem to have better marriages than others? Are they more talented? Are they just lucky?
The statistics show that people who have an authentic faith in Christ and strong relational skills are the most likely to succeed in every area of their lives.
People who take their Christian faith seriously, meaning that they pray daily, read the Bible and attend worship services regularly have the most vibrant jobs, marriages, and relationships. In the New York Times, Wilcox and Nock write, “It turns out that the happiest of all wives in America are religious conservatives…Fully 73% of wives who hold conservative gender values and attend religious services regularly with their husbands have higher-quality marriages.”
But it’s also true that people who say they are Christians but do not regularly practice their faith are the worst in their jobs and marriages. Such people have the most abuse, infidelity, and divorces. Even more than secular non-Christians. Nancy Pearcey writes, “Nominal Christians (those who don’t practice their faith regularly) have a 20% higher rate of divorce than secular men…Nominal Christians report the highest rate of any group for violence in the home” (Ibid, page 37).
Nancy Pearcey continues, “The primary function for families is to build relationships. For better or worse, emotional intimacy is now the main glue hold families together…We are asking for more from marriage than at any other time in history” (Ibid, page 39). Emotional intimacy is the key to happiness in every area of a person’s life. The following are some helpful steps I’ve used in building up my faith and building strong relational ties with people.
First, develop an emotional connection with God. One of the hardest things for any of us to do is emotionally connect in reading the Word, prayer, and worship. We are all so easily distracted that we lose focus, our minds wander, and we get too busy for time with the Lord. But seeking God through feeling our connection with Him through the Bible, our prayers, and our worship is vital. Ask God to touch your heart at the emotional level when your read your Bible, pray, and worship.
Second, build true Bloodstained Allies in your life. Ask God to give you some same gender relationships that you can share your heart with. Ask the Lord to give you the courage to stop posing and faking it and become real with some friends. Vulnerability builds authenticity.
Third, be honest about how you feel. Connecting to our true emotions can be tough for some of us. I get it. I’m not always the best at connecting to my true feelings. I wasn’t raised that way. But through hurt, pain, and betrayal, I’ve learned the skill of identifying my deep feelings and finding God there. For me, it’s been so freeing!