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Build Strong Relationships

I am going to ask some hard questions this morning, so please bear with me. What kind of friend are you? What motivates you within friendship? How is it that you seek to have your needs met in that relationship? How is it that you seek to meet the needs of the other individual? Do  you build strong relationships, or are you content with nothing more than the superficial or 'artificial' kind of friendships? These are tough questions, but if we begin to answer them honestly, we may find they reveal something about either the 'success' or 'failure' of our relationships with each other!

Forgive someone, and you will strengthen your friendship. Keep reminding them, and you will destroy it. (Proverbs 17:9)

As a kid, I truly desired close friendships - the kind where you could tell your BFF anything and they wouldn't blab it to the world, or judge you because of something you thought or did. I truthfully didn't have any of these 'close' relationships until I was well into adulthood, though. It wasn't for lack of trying, but because I really didn't understand what it was I needed to 'give' in relationship and what it was that I 'needed' out of relationship. So, I went through my childhood with those 'superficial' types of relationships - good friends to hang out with, riding bikes, playing with our Barbie dolls, and watching clouds pass overhead on a hot summer afternoon while reclined under the shade of the mulberry tree.

Coming into adulthood found me seeking something deeper, though. I was no longer content to just have 'play dates' with people! I wanted deeper relationships - the type that would challenge me to grow and give me a chance to be myself without the masks! Let me assure you of one thing - these types of relationships are harder than you think, take longer to find than you might imagine, and are worth their weight in the most precious of metals or gemstones! Now, maintaining these relationships is something we seldom think about - but without 'maintenance', they will soon drift into the types we call 'superficial'!

If we desire to grow into strong relationships with each other, it takes consistent work - yep, you heard me - work! It isn't all fun and games, good times, and easy conversation. Sometimes it is harder conversations - the kind that challenges us to think differently, to see things from another viewpoint, or to just listen without saying anything in return. The time we spend together is truthfully treated as a 'valuable commodity' - every moment is spent building the relationship. Yes, we enjoy our times together, but somehow each time we are together there is something that transpires within that relationship that draws us closer. It may be laughter when we need to just have a good belly laugh, or tears when we just need to share our fear or hurt. Either way, growth is occurring.

I don't know where you are today, but I hope you are not in a bunch of superficial relationships. You need the closeness of that one who will challenge you. You don't know what you are missing out on in your life until you have found that strong and lasting relationship of one you can truly be yourself with in this world! You are growing, not singularly, but jointly. You are good for each other - not just for one, but for both. Just sayin!

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