Navigating relationships in the church and beyond

Relationships are hard to maneuver, especially professional ones. There’s often a power dynamic that is under written in every interaction. The nuances of a relationship and your role in it is based on who you are; are you parent or child, husband or wife, classmates, coworkers, supervisor or subordinate? As your role changes, so do your interactions with those around you. Your best work friend is promoted to a position above you. Things aren’t the same anymore, there’s more distance between you now.

As women, we have to carefully navigate the world searching for the place where we feel safe and respected so that we can thrive and spread God’s love. This is achieved by finding the best environment for you, trusting those that you work with, and protecting yourself. Once you’ve done all of that you can focus on spreading God’s word and love.

Please read on to see the steps to thrive under leadership in the church and otherwise.

  1. Find a place where you feel safe and respected

I wish I could say that everyone has your best interests at heart and that they will respect you right off the bat, but that’s not always the case. A lot of stress in relationships can be attributed to a difference in communication styles. You might be quick to trust someone, but they don’t feel the same way about you, so they aren’t as generous with their time with you or open to hearing your ideas. It’s okay to walk away and to find a better situation for you. You need to take care of yourself before you can start taking care of others.

2. Build up trust with those that you work with.

Once you find yourself in a good situation that you are comfortable with, you will need to build up trust with those around you. With your boss, make sure that he/she knows that you are dependable, respectable, and professional. No two bosses are the same, you can build up trust with one by always checking in and telling them what you’re working on regularly. While another boss can be more hands off and not want you to tell them about every little thing as long as it gets done. You won’t know until you meet the person. You have to be nimble and adaptable to change with your situation. Just do your hardest and your work will shine for you.

3. Protect yourself

Like I said before, you need to take care of yourself before you can start taking care of others. Jesus took time to pray alone to find his thoughts and do self care before he was able to do what God asked of him. So should you. Relationships are tricky, and not all of them end up working out. It takes a strong woman to see whether or not she is valued and to take steps to change the situation, or leave if necessary. You need to love yourself and love God before you can love others. How do you know how to love others if you can’t love yourself?

3. Let the Lord shine through you

The most important aspect of your life is doing God’s work. He is in everything you do. Make sure to protect yourself and put yourself in the best position to be able to give all of the love that you want to give to your fellow man. A secure, centered woman is the best vessel of God’s love and light. Let his love shine through you and into all you do.

I don’t want to specifically talk about interactions between men and women, because I think people are more than just their gender. But I know that many women in the church will have a male superior. The key is to listen to every relationship, how do they treat you? Do they respect you? Do you trust them? You might have to have some hard conversations to make sure that you are on the same page and that your thoughts and ideas are heard, but that’s part of your relationship with that person. Being confident in your relationship with your supervisor will make you better at your job and better help you achieve your goal of sharing the word of the Lord.

About the author

Jessica Faylor is an American blogger residing in Bologna, Italy. Her writings are focused on global women’s issues in the contexts of spirituality and leadership. Jessica and her family will be moving back to United States in August, 2019 as she prepares for new milestones in her life.

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