~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
I have been increasingly interested in fostering genuine, honest, and transparent relationships with the people around me. It is in this type of relationship, one is free to be his/herself. To be loved regardless of your mistakes or slip-ups, to be loved through them. To come out on the other side even stronger because your friends have pointed you toward the Lord, and you have grown because of it. Knowing that what they said (in love) needed to be heard. Knowing that when your friends have held you accountable to behavior modeled in Scripture, it is because they love you.
But they can’t hold you to that standard unless you let them in, into the dark places you don’t want to admit exist within your heart. Unless you are willing to share with them your shortcomings and aspirations.
And when you are able to do just that, a community begins to form. One borne of time spent together, transparent friendship, and shared experiences. This community is not easily established; but once it is, it is not easily shaken.
So, I encourage you to ask these questions of yourself:
- Do you have this type of community? At least one relationship like that?
- If you do, are you being open with the other parties involved? Are they able to be vulnerable with you? What would it take for you to foster this in your current relationships?
- If you don’t, what’s preventing you from seeking out this type of community/relationship?
If you have some relationships that you would like to grow into this way, start asking and answering questions to further this process. Ask for their stories, and share yours. Ask about their fears and aspirations. Ask about things in their lives that continually challenge them; share what most often trips you up. One of my favorites is “what has the Lord shown you recently?”
This relationship will not flourish overnight. But when it flowers, it is more than worth it.