With hundreds of friends at our fingertips on Facebook and Instagram, it is all too easy to effortlessly “maintain” friendships through quick comments and likes without ever realizing the missed potential for authentic relationships. When we minimize friendships to short text messages and small talk, we miss out on the opportunity to speak identity over each other and draw out one’s destiny that may otherwise lay dormant.
For me, the hurdle to experiencing true friendship was the concept of vulnerability—I cringed at the word. The thought of opening up my heart and letting people into my deepest thoughts and fears was terrifying because I didn’t want to give anyone the power to hurt me. For a long time I was paralyzed by that risk and found safety in self-protection and shallow interactions.
Since that time God has taught me the true meaning of friendship and spent the last few years challenging me to embrace vulnerability and fight for connection. At first it felt unnatural to let others into my past experiences, current feelings, and dreams for the future. But to my surprise, as I continued to step out in vulnerability, I actually found a palpable sense of safety and true acceptance.
The feeling of being known and still unconditionally loved in community has been the most powerful experience in my walk with God. It has propelled me into freedom, challenged me to walk in my calling, and eradicated fear in my life.
What does friendship look like to me now? It looks like opening up my heart and sharing my story, inviting people into my present struggles, and giving them a voice to speak truth. My friends know my weaknesses and know the enemy’s tactics that attempt to rob me of the truth God has spoken over my life. I pray and prophesy over my friends frequently so that we can denounce lies we are believing and remind each other of our extraordinary identities in Christ.
The result of vulnerability was acceptance, understanding, and love, which then served as a platform for accountability, confrontation, and growth. Friends became family as we embraced differences, pressed forward and rejected compromise.
Friendship is a daily commitment to seeing each other through the lens of heaven and choosing love above comfort and convenience. Jesus modeled this perfectly as he intentionally spent his days alongside the disciples doing both the radical and the mundane.
I challenge you to embrace the community around you! Ask questions, be open and vulnerable, pursue hard conversations, face trials united and celebrate victories, commit to seeing true identities made realities, and experience Christ’s love through each other.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: if one falls down, his friend can help him up… Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” ( Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)