"Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit.”
The desire for meaningful friendships is universal, yet loneliness plagues us. The cultural trend since the middle of the 20th century to increasingly elevate the individual, the relentless pressure of displaying an idealized version of ourselves on social media, plus the nearly infinite ability to connect with anyone paradoxically leaves our hearts aching for true relationship.
The good news is we don’t have to live like this.
As members of a faith community, we can practice what Christians have done for thousands of years to build meaningful friendships.
Vulnerability with one another.
None of us are who we portray ourselves to be. Not completely. We’re a composite of secure and insecure. Strength and weakness. Cowardice and courage.
However, each time we reveal ourselves to trusted friends, we walk into the very footsteps of the One we worship, Jesus.
On the eve of His greatest hour of love, Jesus chose to reveal Himself to those He called friends.
Then He said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here and watch with me."
Matthew 26:38 (ESV)
The One who demonstrated true strength, courage, and sacrificial love did so in front of others. Though He walked His path alone, Jesus leaned on trusted friends for prayer and watchfulness in His final hours.
Let that sink in—the Savior of the world vulnerably let his friends know just how much He needed them.
He knew they were going to fail Him, but He still chose to be completely present with them in His honest request.
Jesus modeled what Brené Brown recently discovered, “Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in.” (Daring Greatly).
Vulnerability is the path toward wholeness on this faith journey.
It requires courage, which impacts the person stepping into it. But it also bestows a sense of honor upon the confidant. It communicates, “I trust you to not injure me with what you now know.” Lastly, it gives the confidant permission to reveal themselves as well.
As we follow Jesus into these vulnerable places, may we discover this life-giving truth from Tim Keller:
“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”