Pillow Talk – Committed Relationships: Brotherhood/Sisterhood
Friendships are some of the greatest ways God can express and reveal His love to us! In the last post of ‘Pillow Talk’ we looked at how you can break a season of isolation, and through a community, we can start building casual friendships. Ultimately, I believe through the Love of Jesus what our hearts truly crave is to know and be known by others. (1 Corinthian 8:3) This can be quite a challenge for many of us because it requires a level of vulnerability on our part.
What does vulnerability mean to you? Is it liberating, daunting, nerve-racking, or all the above?
When I first started attending Epic I was uber slow to get involved, but my new friend Jeremy encouraged me to join his small group for a semester. My resistance stemmed from a fear of letting others get too close to really know me and God forbid see my imperfections. My first experience of the small group was filled with an atmosphere of warmth. We shared a meal, enjoyed each other’s company while cracking jokes, and then we dove into the Word. It was in these fellowships I first began to see a level of vulnerability I had never experienced before with people outside of my family.
Vulnerability begets vulnerability:
One evening we broke out into even smaller groups within the group. Each of us had an opportunity to talk about what was happening in our personal lives, and areas we may have needed prayers. Chad, a new friend at the time whom I now call a brother, shared with our group a detailed story of his past life and current hang-ups. He was honest, forthright, and authentic. We had just barely known one another, yet he trusted us with his story. I was incredibly honored and awestruck that he was comfortable being this vulnerable only after a few evenings of getting to chat with him. His vulnerability was life-giving, and with time it encouraged me to be more vulnerable too!
“Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed...” (James 5:16)
It can be very counter culture for us to talk about, let alone, be vulnerable with one another. In some regards, it can be viewed as a sign of weakness. I bought this fallacy growing up, but with maturity, I have come to see vulnerability as a sign of unbelievable courage and true strength. It is an opening to invite others into your life, agree together, and pray for one another. I can be known to be a little reserved when it comes to talking about myself, but that night I shared little pieces of my story I had never shared with anyone before. I felt secure and confident I was amongst brothers who cared. This moment showed me how our stories may be painful, grimy, or enlightening, but we get to own our story to sculpt our vision for our future, rather than our story becoming our identity.
God’s example of committed relationships:
Over the years, especially the last six months, Chad and I have gotten to know each other well. He has become a brother I can call on to share good news and/or current hang-ups in my life. We commit to talking regularly and encourage one another. It has been nothing short of life-giving and liberating. It reminds me of the friendship Paul had with Timothy.
Paul and Timothy’s relationship reflected:
· Mentorship – Sharing and learning from one another
· Partnership – Celebrating, suffering, and enduring together
· Brotherhood/ sisterhood – A genuine love and care that supports one another indiscriminately (Proverbs 18:24)
My friendship with Chad is just one of many examples of what a committed relationship can look like, and other relationships I have formed both inside and outside of Epic. Maybe your most committed relationships are with a parent, a sibling, a friend, or a spouse. Learning to be as authentic and vulnerable as we can be can help to foreshadow and lay the framework for all our future and existing relationships.
What are some active steps you can take to sow vulnerability in your committed relationships?
· Be authentic and genuine
· Take baby steps and share what you feel comfortable
· Leave ample room for grace and pray for one another
I believe ‘to be known’ is liberating, and a confidant is a direct offspring. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (Proverbs17:17)
Beresford Pratt, Communications Team