Connection. We crave it, don’t we? Not a half-hazard we share the same last name connection. I’m talking about flourishing in relationship and thriving in family. I love this quote by Brené Brown in her book Daring Greatly.

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”

Back in the Garden of Eden, relationship was second only to breathing when Adam and Eve came onto the scene. We are wired for deep, joyful, life-giving connection by our Creator. Although sinned marred the human experience, the power of Christ’s accomplished work has provided us with all we need to cultivate a thriving home from the inside out.

Consider Part 1 in the Connection Series as us grabbing hold of what can be an abstract idea and pulling it down a little closer to home. If we can envision a target of what we’re after in our core relationships, then we can navigate this messy journey with far more clarity and wisdom.

4 Connection Myths + A Big “Why”

Myth #1: Trust is a prerequisite of connection.

Here’s the thing. God’s love can empower us to forgive and invest in relationship, even if trust has been broken. Forgiveness frees up our hearts to love and heal, even if trust still needs to be earned. (This is totally different than subjecting oneself to abuse or deceit. If you are in an abusive situation, please seek professional help.) If you are in a place where trust has been injured, don’t despair. Read on and ask the Lord to give you the strategy and courage for that particular family member.

 Myth #2: Connection means we need to agree on stuff.

We learn how to connect with our families from how God connects with us. He died for us when we were His enemies. He pursues us with His affection even as we make choices that break His heart and disagree with the truths of His Word. God is not threatened by our opinions all lining up with His. Just the same, we don’t have to let our disagreements have a greater voice than “I accept you, I love you and I value our relationship.”

Myth #3: Connection is grown through special dates and elaborate traditions.

I love romantic dates and family tradition, but most of our opportunities to grow connection are laced through the ordinary days. It’s usually in the moments that never make the highlight reel on Facebook or Instagram. It’s the hundredth kiss on the forehead of a fussy child. It’s asking our spouse “Tell me about your day” when we can barely keep our eyes open. It’s setting down the phone and inviting our kid to make dinner with us. It’s the little, the big and everything in between. Which means we don’t need to feel overwhelmed and take on elaborate commitments. No matter how busy you are or what’s on your plate, in this series, we’ll talk about simple shifts you can make to deepen those connections you value so much.

Myth #4: Connection grows naturally.

While our Creator wired us perfectly for life-giving relationships, we’ve all experienced things that have taught us to protect our hearts. Sometimes it’s easier to stay on autopilot rather than feel like we are putting our hearts at risk.

Even in the best scenario, relationships take work.  We need to remember this when discouragement comes and tries to say we’re failing and should just give up. We are ALL in process and no one is exempt from difficult hurdles, no matter how strong the relationship.

This why you must have a WHY.

Click here to download the companion guide for this article.

It can be tempting to romanticize family and connection. The truth is, any time we’re taking intentional steps to deepen our relationships, there is an element of risk. Why do you want to deepen connection with your spouse and children? See beyond your family for the moment. See the grandchildren and great-grandchildren you may never meet. The connection you deepen today will become a legacy for the generations behind you.

Our WHY needs to get big and clear so that when an interaction goes awry or an expectation is not met, we can remember why this effort is worth it. At our core, we so badly want to have relationships defined by unconditional acceptance and love. Know that as you sow into that connection with your spouse and kids, it won’t go perfectly. Take heart. Allow the Holy Spirit to show you and teach you how to reach out on that heart level and trust that He is at work on the other end.

Messages at the Heart of Connection

As we continue this journey together, let’s think on these messages at the heart of connection.

  • Acceptance & Love – You matter and I love you no matter what.
  • Humility & Discovery – I may have known you your whole life, but I don’t claim to know you completely. I acknowledge that we are both constantly changing and who we are runs deep, which means there is always more of you for me to discover.
  • Initiative & Trust –  I will look for ways to invest in you and our relationship. As I do, I’ll trust that as I bring the loaves and fishes of my efforts, God will bring about a harvest of fruitful relationship between us.

Click here to download the companion guide for this article.

Check out 6 Key Truths for Empowered Connection for Part 2 of this series.  You do not want to miss it.

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