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Being tied to a ball and chain holds us back from offering our unique strengths to the world. But exercising our freedom doesn’t mean we can neglect our relational obligations. We must learn how to be free while maintaining our responsibilities at the same time.

To be sure, doing life with anyone will require many personal sacrifices. And this is just the natural burden of being in relationship, as we must consider the interests of others and not just ourselves. But this doesn’t mean we become so enslaved to the relationship that we completely lose our individual freedoms. We shortchange our impact when we do.

For instance, God has given us a unique combination of personal interests, desires, and abilities. And this allows us to bring a distinct flavor to each relationship. And we rob others of this excellence when we don’t steward it well or otherwise fail to freely exercise it within our relationships.

All the same, we cannot simply focus on our gifts and freedom that we neglect our duty to others. And, in this way, relationships are restricting. We cannot simply do what we want to do without first filtering it through its potential impact on the relationship. But in mature relationships this is also for our enrichment.

While we’re bound to our relational obligations, these relationships also fuel our creativity and resourcefulness. On the one hand, their boundaries force us to consider different ways to exercise our gifts – allowing us to discover innovative approaches we wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. And, as we allow ourselves to be influenced by others, we get to experience the benefits of iron sharpening iron. Either way, relationships add to our impact and don’t merely hinder.

In the end, wisely hold on to your personal freedoms without neglecting your relational obligations. You need both to maximize your impact for good.

Photo by brooklyn on Unsplash

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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