This post is not just about relationships in the significant other sense, but the friendship sense as well!
My sophomore year of college I started to go to church again. I was intentional with my friendships and I followed the Lord’s word more than I had in a long time. The first time I was at church I met my friend Emily. She was kind and inclusive and immediately asked if I wanted to join her small group. I don’t know if she knows how much gratitude I have for her and how much love and hope I felt in that moment. If it wasn’t for that short, intentional interaction, I don’t know if I would have continued to go to church.
Anyways, the first week of small group we shared testimonies. As I was new to this whole “Christian” community/ friendship thing, I wasn’t quite sure what testimonies were yet (The story of your life with Christ and why you are where you are today). I went last, and it took three years of the “first week of small group testimony night” to actually get me to tell my true testimony. The thing is though… straight off the bat, we told each other about our walks with Christ. Our hardships and downfalls. Our strengths and our weaknesses. The things that we have overcome through Christ.
Within an hour, this group of five girls had become my best friends. Seriously. To me, telling my testimony wasn’t telling these five strangers my deepest secrets and my greatest problems; it was helping them understand me on a deeper level. By the time I left small group, I knew those girls better than I knew anyone. We spent the time learning to understand one another, which I truly thank God for every single day. If I am having a bad day and I see any of those girls, it’s not an “Oh my gosh, why is she so sad? Why is she being quiet? Etc.” They know that there is something truly wrong. They know that there was something that stressed me out, caused me to be anxious, or caused me to panic… and I love them for that.
Beginning our friendships with God at the center only made us stronger as friends. We understood each other on a deeper level. I knew more about my small group than most people in the world. In the first hour of being around them, I told them more than I had told my friends of years…because Christ was at the center.
Here comes the actual “relationship” part, so hold onto your seats folks!
As I go on first dates and awkwardly tell them about the little things in my life, or make small talk, I desperately wish I could just blurt out why I am nervous or quiet. I wish I could sit them down like I did in small group, tell them my testimony, and have them understand me. Is that too much to ask for? I know that most of the time, it really is. And I know that I am probably alone on the, “let’s just put all the cards on the table” thought, but having Christ at the center has always given me such trust and understanding with a man that I just want that in a relationship.
A “Let me sit you down and tell you about myself… really.” Not a superficial conversation but I deep one. Boy do I love those deep conversations. I love goofy conversations too, don’t get me wrong, but there is nothing better than a deep conversation about a person’s heart! I always feel closer to someone after I really know their heart, where they’re at. No holding back; just an honest to goodness solid conversation.
Of course I understand why we have a first date and why the conversation is more surface level knowledge about one another, but dang… some days you know? Haha. I feel like having Christ at the center of a relationship can only make it stronger. No doubt about it. When you put Him first… the desires of your heart, and what He wants you to have, will be known and will be at the forefront of the relationship.
Getting that out in the open up front and telling the guy about all of that just seems logical to me… I don’t know why. I just know that I made my best friends through opening up and being honest and telling them my heart, and I feel like telling a guy your heart has a pretty high success rate. When you tell a person about your life… really about your life… you develop a much deeper understanding of one another, and isn’t that just an amazing thing?
Yes, there are times where you cannot avoid the inevitable surface level talks (first dates or conversations with someone you just met), and there is a portion of time that needs to be devoted to the basics. The stuff you almost have to ask to feel comfortable enough to open up your heart. With that being said, I have had the deepest conversations with people I barely knew because I opened my mouth, my heart, and just said what I felt like Christ wanted me to say.
This is what happened the first time I talked to my neighbor. I always saw him sitting on his porch for his smoke breaks, while I sat on mine drinking coffee and reading, and we would never shared anything past a head nod. Then one day I got this overwhelming feeling just to go talk! I said no, of course, because that was crazy and his brother’s had slashed my tires, but the feeling did not go away. So I took a deep breath and went over and sat down with him! We did the initial “Oh hey what’s up, how are you,” sort of thing and then we just too off into an exceptional deep talk. About Christ, life, what we saw in the future and everything in between. We both ended the talk and walked inside our separate houses feeling pretty amazing! Now, we share more than just a head nod. We know each other on a much deeper level. We are nowhere close to best friends, but I know that we both needed that talk that day; and that was what mattered.
There was another occasion where I had not seen my friend in a long time, and we met up late at night to catch up and talk. At first it was just the normal catch up routine, but then we got deep. Little did she know that I really needed a friend. Someone just to tell me to suck it up, and that Christ was there. ALWAYS! I will never forget the feeling I got when she told me to pray. To go pray and do my best and not worry about the rest. She was not afraid to bring Christ into the conversation even though we had not seen each other for years, and she might not even know how much it helped me, but it was just what I needed, and I think that Christ knew that too.
On a separate occasion, I was sitting outside of Starbucks studying. School was killing me and I was not having the most confidence about well… anything. Then out of the freaking blue, this guy just sat down across from me and started talking! He told me a quote about how beautiful people aren’t just born that way, they are worked and molded and that life is so beautiful if you just take the time to look. I needed that exact quote. I needed to hear that I was a beautiful person and that life was good. Granted I got about zero minutes of studying in, but his conversation made my whole day and week better. There is NO WAY Christ was not involved there. Did I ever see him again? Nope. Was taking the time to talk to him worth it? Totally!
Maybe it is awkward, and feels totally weird at first, but you never know what the other person is in need of. Any you know what? Honesty really is the best policy! It is real, so never be afraid to share the real you!
Layne & JoJo:
Wasn’t being honest and open Christ’s policy as well? When you look at scripture, Christ doesn’t walk up to people and say, “Hey, what’s up?” and just leave! Especially if He can tell that those people really need the Lord’s wisdom in their lives. He never had conversations with people that were not intentional and genuine. Of course scripture does not document every single hour of every single day of Jesus’ life, but I truly doubt that He had many surface level conversations, or saw a person struggling in the way they spoke and just walked away. It was just not in His way. He was PERFECT. Yes, PERFECT. In His 33 years, he did not make a single mistake. He was honest and blunt, but was also kind and loving.
“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” – Psalm 143:10
God asks us to do the same thing that His son did on Earth. Do His will. Be kind and loving to others. Be intentional. Be honest. Go deeper than the surface level!