God has created us to be relational beings. We are to be in relationship with God and with others. Our brains are made with specific neurological pathways that enable this expression of God’s design. When our brains are functioning as designed, we experience ongoing relational connection. For example, when I am relationally connected to my wife, I am aware of her true heart, I am aware and compassionately interested in what she is thinking and feeling, I will perceive her as an emotionally safe, resourceful help for me, and I will experience joy in being together.
However, when we are triggered and/or upset, we often temporarily experience our relational circuits ‘shutting off.’
Continuing with my example with my wife, when this happens, I do NOT feel relationally connected, I will NOT be aware of her true heart, I will NOT feel compassion or even interest in her thoughts or feelings, I will NOT feel her an emotionally safe place of resource or help, and I will NOT feel joy in being together. I may even perceive her as a problem to be solved or worse an adversary to defend against.
Therefore, it is vital that we become aware as soon as we can that our relational circuits are off. Asking ourselves a few questions will quickly identify if our relational circuits are off. For example, if I am wondering if my circuits are off, I can ask myself: Do feel connected to my wife? Am I aware of her true heart? Do I feel concern/compassion regarding what she is thinking and feeling? Do I perceive her as a source of joy? Am I glad to be with her?
If I answered “no” to any of the above questions, then my relational circuits are off. The most helpful thing to do now would be to get them back on. As most of us know from experience, it is not as easy as just choosing to “become relational” again. Most often, there is a complete disconnect that has taken place at a neurological level.
But the Lord knows this and He has provided a way to get our circuits back on. He has designed our brains so that if we perceive someone with us in our emotional pain, perceive that this person is still glad to be with us and that this person hears and understands us, this will bring our relational circuits back on. Many of us have had the experience of someone close to us providing this for us. However, most times, that someone is not there.
But the Lord is ALWAYS there. So, when we experience the Lord’s personal presence, we can know and experience the Lord hearing us and being with us in our pain, understanding us, and being glad to be with us. This will turn our relational circuits back on so we can be relational again.
Practice experiencing the personal presence of Jesus Christ today. Our relationships with others will never be the same.