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"My People" - How to Find + Strengthen Christian Relationships (part 1)



Whenever I was little, I used to pretend that all my stuffed animals were my people, and I'd say, "my people and my people and my people and my people". They were all my people! And that's what we all, deep down, want. We all want our people. Our ride-or-dies, our partners in crime, our human diaries.


In elementary school, everyone was a part of my people. The whole grade was "my people" and I loved them all so much. As I started to grow up, grow in my faith, and watch other people change, my circle of "my people" suddenly shrunk - until I didn't know who my people were anymore. It was a heartbreaking feeling to not know who my best friend is - and not because there were too many to choose from, but because no one knew me that deeply.


But God calls us to have our people! He knows that we thrive in community - that's why He gave Adam Eve. That's why He commanded Adam and Eve to be fruitful and reproduce - the world was never meant to be enjoyed alone, and we were never meant to live life on our own. That's why He created the church - we were never meant to walk the Christian walk alone. God calls us Christians to stand firm together and support each other.


In Ecclesiastes, Scripture states the importance of these strong Christian relationships:


Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)


And here again, in Proverbs:


Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)


As we learn more about the importance of Christian relationships, and I bet we can all agree that we want these strong relationships, the question arises: how do we make this happen? How do I find these relationships? How do I grow the relationships I already have to look like this? We want the knitty gritty, step by step plan of how to cultivate strong Christian relationships in our day to day life. That would be great.


The problem is that God did not give us a handbook called "Friendship 101" or "Dating as a Christian" or "How to Make Friends as a Christian". Relationships are messy things because people are imperfect. Beautiful, but imperfect. Your relationships won't look like my relationships, and vice versa.


Even so, the Bible is filled with encouragement on what these strong relationships look like. I want to take what Scripture says about relationships and delve into that for a little bit, and maybe bring some light on what it looks like to build and grow relationships as a Christian. It's hard, y'all. I'm not perfect but I want to learn alongside you, and share some of the things that God has taught me in these past 15 years. I want to find what the Bible says about finding my people and strengthening relationships with those people, and the knitty gritty, practical ways to live that out.


1. Find "my people"

I wish that the Bible had a section specifically for "how to make friends", but even though it doesn't, Scripture does give us a lot of guidance on what good friends (or good candidates to be friends) looks like.


Quality Christian friends should be:

  • wise (Proverbs 13:20)

  • loyal (Proverbs 18:24)

  • loving (Proverbs 17:17)

  • patient (Proverbs 22:24)

  • intentional + active (2 Thessalonians 3:6)

  • pure (1 Corinthians 5:11

  • a Christian (2 Corinthians 6:14)

  • and more!

This is by no means an extensive list of the characteristics good friends should have. And it's also important to note that there is no perfect friend, so no one will have every single one of these qualities. That being said, it's critical to find friends that love Jesus and are being intentional about living like Him.


Think about the people you interact with every day (or often). Who exhibits these traits? Is there anyone God has put on your heart to invest in? Who do you enjoy being around? Does anyone challenge you and push you closer to the Lord? These few questions are a really good way to start finding your people.


I want to remind you: you don't have to have a million bffs to have a good community. You can start right here, right now, with the people God has already placed in your life.


After you have an idea of who God is leading you to start or continue a friendship with, don't just wait for your friendship to miraculously happen! Take action. All you have to do is start a conversation and learn more about them. The best friendships start with asking questions! (check out this post about the one question you should start asking!)


2. Go past the surface level


Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. - James 5:16


Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. - Romans 12:15


Friendships don't grow if you never go deep. All of us here are looking for real, authentic relationships, and the only way to do that is to get uncomfortable and move past the small talk.


This doesn't always mean sharing everything about your life. In fact, it's probably not a good idea to share everything with everyone. But, it does mean having a few people in your life that you can open up with about the struggles you're facing, sins you can't seem to overcome, and lies that you keep believing. It's important to have those people that you can trust to help you unpack your past, fears, and conflicts.


Once your relationships get to the place where both of you feel comfortable going past the surface level, be intentional about spending time together and having more intimate conversations. Make sure that this is at an appropriate space and time.


Start asking questions that lead to discussing personal thoughts and feelings, more than what you would talk about in a casual conversation. Maybe ask or say something like:

  • "Hey, I feel like I can really trust you, and right now, I really need someone to talk to about _____. Would you be able to listen and help me see what Scripture says about it?"

  • "How is your Bible study going? What are you learning about?"

  • "What's your biggest fear?"

  • "Is there any hurt or unforgiveness that you are or have struggled with? What happened?"

  • "When was a time that God came through for you in an unexpected way?"

  • "I was reading my Bible last night, and I came across this verse. I feel kind of confused about it, and I'm struggling to completely agree with what it says. What are your thoughts?"

  • "Who is someone that has inspired you? Why?"

Getting a little bit uncomfortable and having these real, honest conversations are the best way to take your relationships past the surface level small talk and move one step closer towards the intimate community God desires for us to have.

 

Finding and strengthening relationships can be difficult, but when we look into Scripture, we find that God has created us to be in community and He is with us as we navigate friendships. I challenge you to take some steps to seek God's will for you and the friendships you have or will have. Please let me know in the comments down below any prayer requests you may have, specific to relationships or not! Or, if you have any wisdom you'd like to share, drop those in the comments as well so that we can encourage each other.


ALSO: stay tuned for this Friday's upcoming post - a part two to this post on relationships! I'll share ways to deepen and sustain Christian friendships, and I'm so excited to share some of the things God has taught me about that!



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