Taken from The Relational Soul – Be it chronic or acute, slight or significant, loneliness is proof of our relational design. At the core of our being is this truth—we are designed FOR and defined BY our relationships. We were born with a relentless longing to participate in the life of others. Fundamentally, we are relational souls. We cannot not be relational. We cannot exist well without connection and communion with another. Relational reactivity and alienation is death for the soul.

Our individual relational reality was born out of the connection of our parents. Without the loving and nurturing presence of others after birth we would not have survived. The relationships in our family of origin shaped and molded our lives. As we grew into adulthood our relationships influenced the state of our souls for good or for ill.

We cannot reach our potential without healthy relationships. Like an acorn maturing into a mighty oak, we grow into maturity through healthy relationships. Life-giving relationships are the source and the fruit of life. When our relationships foster appropriate connection and lead to deep communion with others, we become more fully alive. Deep and meaningful relationships are both the means and the result of living into our potential.

Profound relational connection and communion is “the narrow way” of which Jesus spoke. We may live in an incredible house and have a wonderful job, but if our closest relationships are fractured, life is miserable. Wealth and power prove to be poor substitutes for matters of the heart. The reason we might “gain the whole world and lose our soul” (Matthew 16:26) is simple—we are constituted relationally. We are neurologically configured for and by relationships.

Why do we carry this design? In future posts we will explore the answer to this question.

Taken from The Relational Soul by Richard Plass and James Cofield. Copyright (c) 2014 by Richard Plass and James Cofield. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL  60515-1426. www.ivpress.com