We have all heard about the theology of the Trinity in evangelical Christianity. Whether or not you support this foundational belief is not the focus of this blog.
Did you know, though, that there is another trinity in life? I call it the holy trinity of relationships.
Humans, by nature, were made for connection. The statement, “No man is an island,” is foundational in many ways, one being the fact that every person needs relationship in order to thrive.
Before we talk about the trinity, the three relationships you need to have in your life, let me say this. Without a meaningful, grace-based relationship with God these other three will be insufficient. While interpersonal relationships are critical, a relationship with God is absolutely essential.
I am talking about this subject not because I have a psychology degree (the LAST thing I want) or because I am a counselor or because I have my life figured out. I have discovered these relationships are necessary for me to lead a fulfilled and overcoming life. Throughout my divorce and difficult times in life one or more of these relationships sustained and encouraged me.
The Holy Trinity of Relationships
Everyone needs two or three close, intimate, know-everything-about-you friends. I am talking about friends who support you through thick and thin, who listen more than they talk, who cry and mourn with you, and who celebrate as loudly as you do when something beautiful happens. Close friends have to be truly selfless people. The trick is that you have to be truly selfless in order to attract those kinds of people to yourself.
Throughout my separation and divorce one friend of mine (you know who you are) met with me for lunch every Thursday and just listened. He had been a pastor for many years and had a lot of experience encouraging people, but he simply listened and spoke only when needed. He even picked up the tab often because he knew I was short on money. I am eternally grateful to this man who continues to be one of my closest friends even though we are a thousand miles apart.
A mentor is someone familiar with your walk of life and who is about 10 years older than you. They have been down the road you are walking and can speak wisdom into areas of life you are still discovering for yourself.
Around 10 years ago God brought a mentor into my life. This man is about 10 years older than me and has been in worship ministry for many years. He also has a doctorate in composition and understands personal struggle. Throughout my ministry life and throughout my separation and divorce we have talked and collaborated and encouraged each other, and he has guided me in many decisions. I am so grateful for him.
Mentors and close friends are hard to find, but most people agree that you need them. The next relationship, however, can be much easier to find; this relationship requires a lot of humility, however.
Many of us could benefit greatly from some time with a godly, encouraging, but strong counselor who can speak into areas of life we do not understand. Seeing a counselor requires you to admit you need someone, however, and you have to invest financially.
Warning: Once you decide to see a counselor, you need to be willing to open every closet and corner of yourself for your time to be truly worthwhile. Some see a counselor but hold back certain pieces of information. In that case you might as well take your cash and light it on fire. The counselor will only be able to provide moderately helpful information if you withhold a part of yourself from him.
I will admit that I have been reluctant to see a counselor at times. I can say unequivocally, though, that my relationship with my counselor is possibly the most influential relationship I have had in my life aside from my family. He has given me encouragement and challenge, grace and firmness, truth and compassion as I have needed it, and I am eternally grateful to him.
Every one of us needs to have close friends and mentors, and most of us would benefit from having a counselor as well. I know I have.
What relationship are you missing in your life? What are you going to do about it?