Win Today with Christopher Cook

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Do You SUCK the Ever-Loving Life Out of Your Relationships?

But on the flipside of any healthy relationship is dealing with an emotionally draining person; those people who suck the ever-loving life out of you. And that’s flat-out exhausting, isn’t it?

Last week, I made a statement on Facebook that caught some traction pretty quickly. In it, I said:

“You’re in Christ. Your words are very powerful. Yet, there’s a difference between making destructive declarations and feeling like you have to ‘jump through hoops’ for fear that you might say something wrong and get punished. The latter is a legalistic taunt from the enemy that keeps you locked in bondage to a performance-based relationship with the Lord. Take the skates off. You’re not on thin ice.”

After writing the post, though, I began to explore the converse; relationships in which we are in fact “skating on thin ice.” You see, the nature of that statement does more than communicate intellectual truth; it communicates God’s heart towards us in providing a safe environment in which a relationship should thrive. But on the flip-side of any healthy relationship is dealing with emotionally draining people; those who suck the ever-loving life out of you. And that’s flat-out exhausting, isn’t it? In one moment, everything is fine, but in the next moment, you’re not sure why your “winter wonderland” is cracking below your feet. Perhaps you know the type:

  • Those who are dramatic; people who create chaos out of small inconveniences.
  • Those who are unrelenting complainers.
  • Those who are consistently negative.
  • Those who are aggressively opinionated and self-centered.
  • Those who are overly critical of everything and everyone.

But before you cast your ballot, here’s the challenge: it’s much easier to spot those qualities in others than to take regular time for self-assessment to determine whether or not you actually…suck.

Just like that famous Hoover vacuum.

“Hoover, nobody does it like you.”

Remember this commercial from the early 90’s?

Well, it’s crazy, because the melodramatic 1990’s neon lyrics perfectly describe someone let alone something that sucks. But for real:

“Nobody does it like you, the way that you do. Nobody’s got the power to please me…nobody does it like you.”

And just like that, another key characteristic of someone who sucks the life out of others is that they are rarely satisfied and rarely pleased. In my estimation, though, the propensity toward this behavior blossoms as a result of unresolved pain from the past; pain in which an individual has experienced a lack of personal validation and now is living from an identity crisis so-to-speak.

Pumping Water from a Dried-Up Well

Living from a lack of healthy identity is like pumping water from a dried-up well. Moreover, a person lacking a healthy identity will always be seeking approval and attempting to prove himself/herself to others in an overt and insecure manner because he/she has no deep-seated worth, value, or substance from which to draw authenticity and contribution to the world around them. In one respect, that lack of identity causes major anxiety. On the other hand, the behavior lends itself toward draining the life out of the relationship.

Not being heard, understood, or validated is one thing, but in life, it’s all too easy to rely upon someone else for what only God can only provide. The prophet Jeremiah explained the situation best, as recorded in Jeremiah 2:13-14 (AMP): “For My people have committed two evils: They have abandoned (rejected) Me, the fountain of living water, and they have carved out their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”

The point is this: when we abandon the true source of living (and unending) water, we’ll be left to draw from a reserve that’s shallow and stagnant. And in that place, we will inappropriately (and perhaps unintentionally) sabotage our relationships.

Love > Fear

Ask yourself these two questions: Do I extend the same grace to those with whom I have relationship, or do I make those closest to me “skate on ice” in my relationships? Do I overanalyze, criticize, and pick apart their words like the FBI on a fingerprinted crime scene?

Our automatic response in life was intended to be love, yet we learn fear through negative, dysfunctional circumstances and behaviors within ourselves and within the context of relationship.

I’ll be honest and admit that it’s easy to love the God I can’t see but not too easy to love the person I can see. But that “love” is not telling of practical, tried-and-true relationship skills.

1 John 4:20 (MSG) validates this thought: “If anyone boasts, ‘I love God,’ and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.”

And the only way to do so is by drawing our life (our identity) from the fountain of living water. As for me…

I don’t want to suck.

  • JMikael Rogers

    First off: that Hoover Vacuum ad is ridiculous! An entire BALLAD for a VACUUM CLEANER? Wow. Just… wow.

    Anyways: personally, this post reminds me of unhealthy relationships I would get trapped into that really would suck the life out of me in the past. It does actually feel physically, emotionally, and spiritually draining! I like the reference to “carving out cisterns” from the book of Jeremiah. From experience we can (I’ve) learn (learned) that we (I) can try (tried) to “carve out” what we (I) want from Christ, instead of conforming to His word and command to love your neighbor as yourself, and to love God.

    I love that Jesus is a constant source of positivity we can draw from in our lives every day, kinda like a fountain of youth, only nonfictional. Thank you for this post, Chris. Grace be with you and to those reading this particular comment who love Christ.

  • tash6ft6

    Well said Chris! I love the quote at the end. Our automatic response in life was intended to be love yet we learn fear. The entire piece spoke to me but that part was crazy! Just imagine if all the people in the world acted out of love and what that would do for us as a whole. Love conquers and covers all!!
    Thanks bud