Movie trailers tend to build immense excitement. You tend to look forward to all the movie has to offer after watching the trailer and catching glimpses of its various parts. Or is it just me?
You know that movie where the excitement causes you to simply forget those VIP tickets are actually the cost of a shoe (I love me some shoes to).
To my fellow movie lovers out there. Have you ever been knee-deep in a really good movie? You know the ones that strike that perfect balance between action, suspense, drama and topped off with just enough romance for it to be feel good.
Those movies that you find yourself saying halfway through, "I can watch this over and over again". I don't even have to see the end but this one will get my view a couple of times over. Those types of movies are absolutely my favorites.
While intently watching those kinds of movies, you begin to label the characters. Somehow, you have concluded
This character is not going to die
That character is the stupid one
Here goes the crazy psychopath
Why is this one even here because he/she only has one scene
(I'm a movie buff, can you tell?).
Then there is that one actor/actress who is the star of the movie. Almost immediately, they become your absolute favorite from the very first scene, and you figure this must be the one I'm going to pay attention to.
As the storyline builds, the drama takes curves and turns to have you on the edge of your seat, moving to the floor, hiding your face, and for good old time's sake screaming at the tv. Now, here comes the part of the movie that has you questioning your favorite actor/actress.
There is a part of the movie you see a bridge with water on both sides and encasing the water is a fence (can you picture it?). On the fence are the words in red or yellow saying TOXIC DANGER.
In primary school, we were all taught what is good for us. I can remember my teacher using cards with pictures as identifiers to aid in learning. One thing I do remember was the card that said WARNING. It was very early that I knew the difference between a safe and approved area versus a not safe or approved area.
Sidenote: My young mind could not understand for the life of me, how is it that the million-dollar actors and actresses would see the sign clearly outlining danger yet still head straight for it. I know it is a movie but I must say I have become invested in this movie and the leads by now.
Here we are at the peak of intensity and build-up for the movie and the scene with this area comes with signs everywhere. It is clear, the owner of this property is trying to warn someone. After seeing all of the obvious signs everywhere, there is that one person that says to the others "Look, let's swim through here and hide" (shake my head).
The kicker for me is always after seeing close up of all the warning signs someone insists that the sign is not relevant to them. Yes, if you jump into a bubbling pool of water with smoke coming out of it that is fenced around that has signs reading TOXIC - HAZARD, chances are we will not see you in the sequel.
Then I begin to think, perhaps part 2 will be better without you. I'm just saying. I love a good movie like the other person, but don't you just hate it when the person you have come to enjoy watching does something that is just not smart? Sigh!
As I was in thought and talking to the Lord about this blog I could not help but think of the many warning, toxic and hazard signs that were over the heads, on the heart, and on the foreheads of persons that we often allow to occupy spaces in our lives. When one thinks of toxic, something that is dangerous or even potentially life-threatening comes to mind.
As human beings, we are designed to be relational, have a relationship, be around people, have friends, and even that special someone that we consider our "sweet thing in the can". But the Father's design is for us to be whole and the relationship to serve as an addition and not subtracting.
There are certain times during the year that are considered health and fitness. These are the times that more persons focus on their intake, types of food and drinks, more exercising. In the Bahamas, we tend to lean to our bush teas as a form of detox periodically.
I often find it strange though, as believers we are so concerned about our exterior. How we look and of course getting in shape. This is absolutely fine and important and I totally endorse it. Still. what good is the maintenance of all of that without being intentional and ensuring our hearts are secured and our relationships are free of toxicity?
I have a question. When was the last time you evaluated your relationships? And I mean all of them. I am talking about every person that you communicate with, spend time with, break bread with, date, or just have casual conversations with. Have you ever done this?
Another question, If you have, what were the results of your evaluation and what did you do about areas that you knew spilled Hazardous fumes?
Steel Curry says, "Relationship blockers are the enemies of healthy relationships. They are individuals whose mindset, words, and actions invariably block the creation of healthy relationships." The omnipotent, omniscient God who created our bodies with the capability of healing itself when we become ill, is that much concerned about every connection we foster. He has designed us to be healthy spirits, minds, bodies, and souls.
As a former youth leader, I have counseled and ministered to countless young people on the threshold of or attempted suicide. After speaking with them and getting to the core of the matter, most, if not, all lead back to one common denominator, Relationship.
As in the movie I alluded to earlier one of my questions is did you notice anything before this? And after thinking about it, hesitating a bit but recognizing that this was not a surprise. Then there are some that were simply taken advantage of by people they trusted.
The Lord in his infinite wisdom and because he is God has a way of using people to get things to us. When He wants to bless us he sends people into our lives and because the enemy of our soul is a copycat, when the devil wants to destroy us he also does the same.
To God, relationships are valuable. He uses relationships in our lives in important ways. Like he did with David and Jonathan. This relationship preserved a lineage. Esther and Mordecai. This relationship saved a nation. Of course, our big brother Jesus, and our relationship with him save lives. Not just does our relationship with Jesus save our life but everyone that's connected to us. Because when the light comes darkness has to dispel. They both can't coincide in the same place.
Jesus teaches us through his relationship with us what a true relationship is supposed to look like. Transformation should take place. There should be evidence and proof of the healthiness of the relationship because it adds.
A few of the things Relationships are designed to do is:
My husband who is my priest, best friend, babycakes, lover, and Pastor (all that and some) has left a trail over the last ten years of us being together of the coming together of pieces. On the inside of me was a hidden treasure that I had no idea was there.
Oh don't get me wrong, he sure Nuff married a good thing (toot my own horn😂) but this good thing was broken by past relationships that either took advantage of me, hurt me, betrayed me, or used me. As the master builder that he is, skillfully as directed by the Holy Spirt, he RE-Build my self-esteem, courage, hope in love, and taught me how to forgive FOR REAL.
Not looking for anything in return (of course he won my heart as a fringe benefit) but at first, he was just okay with being my friend. He became the person I spoke to every day and if a day came and something he did or said brought up the trauma of the past he came gracefully and with the Holy Spirit helped heal and never repeated it again.
During our dating period, I was in prophetic school during our late-night calls. You know, the calls when you are sleepy but your not sleepy too sleepy for conversation 😊. He would ask certain questions and such all in an effort to stir up and activate the dormant prophet.
I remember saying to him on a few occasions, "I didn't even know I could do that". The humble soul that he is said "Babe it's been there all along, it's just being Pulled OUT.” Other than my natural father until then, I didn't know what it felt like to feel safe on every side. He literally guards, protects, encourages, and covers me naturally (my linebacker) and spiritually.
He flipped the script for me and reminded me of what the Father's intent was for relationships. For the first time, I felt whole in a relationship with someone of the opposite sex.
The realization and honesty of this was necessary for my growth. My future self took some time and I believe it was because I continued as the old people would say, 'like a dog going back to its own vomit'. At that time I didn't understand the danger and delay those toxic relationships were to my life.
Moving On From Toxic Relationships
There has to come a point when you admit that there are some relationships that you are actively a part of that are not healthy for you. Toxic relationships can happen between friends, family members, co-workers, and romantic relationships. It contaminates your self-esteem, your happiness, and the way you see yourself and the world. Those relationships make you feel drained, depleted, and sometimes even distraught. God’s Word tells us “where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there” (James 3:16). A toxic relationship brings negativity and pain to those in it.
Let's self evaluate for a minute, and let's be honest:
What are your relationships like?
What have you been producing?
Have your relationships been adding or subtracting?
How have your relationships nurtured your relationship with the Father?
Since being in these relationships have changed for the better or the worse?
Toxic relationships are not new but they've become extremely prevalent and blatant in our culture during this time. The Father's plan for you is that you experience 3 John 1:2 for the rest of your life.
Take charge of your surroundings, the people that are allowed in your circle and, I dare to say, some of these toxic people include family members. The same ones that carry your last name and blood type. But ask yourself the questions, are they adding or subtracting.
Proverbs 13:20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
Be intentional about your wholeness and install those safeguard railings, your life and future depend on it.