Why Aren't My Relationships Deeper?
As a young adult, I have found that the more I seek out friendships and desire connection, the harder it is to create those so-called organic relationships. We were designed for that, right? That’s God’s will for us. It shouldn’t be this hard.
We are designed for community, but we also need to put effort into relationships to see them flourish and go from striving to thriving. A friend that can be there for you in the mundane everyday life is just as important as the one who holds you accountable for your spiritual walk with God. We are searching for a balance, but why is it so hard to find?
Four Fears That Affect Our Relationships
These are some barriers that I have noticed keep me from going deeper in relationships. Maybe you can relate.
- Fear of Commitment
I believe the internet has created a safety net for us to fall back on. We can meet someone online and get to know them first before committing to hanging out in person. Commitment is scary (trust me, I know).
However, there’s a vulnerability when you meet someone face-to-face and let them into your life. When you get to see someone as a whole. The good, the bad, and the…unexpected, that’s what a true friendship is, right?
Walking through the seen and unseen together and keeping your focus on your purpose in life. Refining and sharpening each other (Proverbs 27:17). We were built for relationships that go outside the boundaries of social media, texts, and gaming.
- Fear of Opening Up
It’s hard to imagine someone fully knowing you inside and out, flaws and all, and still wanting to be your friend. There’s rawness in an authentic relationship and sometimes that hurts.
How do you create an open relationship with someone you call a friend? Well, you trust them (easier said than done). When there is a secret, an insecurity, or a past hurt in relationships, a small issue can suddenly become really big.
When you open up about your struggles, you can begin to work through them. Vulnerability allows you to heal and pushes you and your friend into a growing relationship. After working through your issues and through the process of healing, you begin to be able to put yourself aside to accept the other person as they are and speak love into their life. This allows the other person to flourish, and in return, they can show you the same acceptance and love.
The relationships I value the most are the ones where we can be honest and know there are good intentions behind the truth. Yes, it takes time to get to that point of trust, but if the foundation of your relationship is openness, building trust is so much easier.
- Fear of Being Hurt
We have a God that so badly wants you to be satisfied in Him. We have to see that He is the only One who can truly quench our thirst for connection. He is the ultimate best friend. Maybe that’s a hard concept to grasp, but He desires a relationship with you that is intimate and open.
He will always be there and He will never fail you. While God does not fail you, people will sometimes fail you. Maybe you’ve experienced this or maybe you haven’t. We are humans who are growing and changing, and we don’t always get it right. Sometimes we hurt people, even when we don’t mean to.
It’s unfair for us to expect others to be able to constantly fulfill our hearts’ desires. However, I have learned that when you are filled by Christ first, you have the confidence that God is on your side, even when a friend lets you down (Psalm 107:9).
- Fear of the Unknown
I am nowhere near to being a friendship guru; it’s actually something I struggle with and continually pray for. Finding friends gets harder as you walk outside the walls of a high school or a college campus where you are semi-forced to befriend classmates you see every day. (Maybe it’s just me.)
Although I am not a relationship expert, I know God is not finished with me yet and He isn’t finished with you, either (Philippians 1:6). If we 1. continue to focus on our growth and allow God to form and shape us into who He designed us to be, and 2. stay in constant prayer, asking Him to bring the right people into our lives, He will give us connection and community that is beyond what we can imagine.
Keep your eyes open for whom He has intentionally placed in your life and whom He will in your future. It may not be someone you were expecting, but He can use the unexpected to grow you. Sometimes, relationships last for years, but sometimes, they only last for a season of your life. But no matter how long they last, all relationships are valuable.
Three Ways to Initiate Deeper Connections
So how do we move toward more meaningful connections? Here are three quick things you can do right now, to set the stage for going deeper with someone else:
1. Call or text someone and make plans to hang out. Think and pray about how you can begin to push through one of the above barriers when you get together.
2. Send a note/postcard/letter to a friend or loved one who lives far away. Make the effort to open up a bit and see how they respond.
3. Commit to getting into a Group this fall. And think of one or two people you can invite to join you. Community doesn't happen all at once, but a regular commitment to work at relationships can make all the difference.
I have to give a little (BIG) shout out to God here. As I’ve said, I am nowhere near perfect and have so much to learn from and grow in relationships. However, He is still faithful to use me in my mess! So I encourage you to take a step of faith to go deeper in a friendship, starting today.
To find out more about Groups at Chase Oaks, visit here.