The key to deeper relationships

deep friendships
Transparency.
You can replace transparency with vulnerability, authenticity, whatever.
“Thank you for your transparency” is something I hear a lot when I share (or probably overshare) something from deep within my heart. Almost always, someone is appreciative.
People are sometimes surprised when someone is open and vulnerable in a world concerned with putting your best foot forward. Although it’s hard, being transparent and leading with this “foot” so to say, really is the best thing for you and your relationships. Let me tell you why.
For a LONG time I believed if I shared my faults and failures,  I would be met with whispers, with judgement, and with harsh words. This is one of those lies I was telling you about from the enemy. The fact is, Satan and shame want you to stay in the dark. But God says the opposite is true. When you can talk about everything in your life, God says you’ll be met with grace, and mercy, and purification.

“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confess and renounces them finds mercy.” – Proverbs 28:13

Unfortunately sometimes on this Earth, you might be met with responses that are not mercy or grace. To that I would say, find a new friend to talk to. Find someone who will hit you with 100% grace and 100% truth, someone who lives like Jesus.

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14

 Side Note: If you are the one listening to someone being brave and vulnerable, you CANNOT react poorly. Sometimes when people get a little too real we want to rebuke their actions, tell them they are wrong, and turn our backs. Sometimes this stuff makes us uncomfortable, and we want to change the subject. This type of reaction is what keeps people buried in their shame, and never talking about their lives. Your reaction is EVERYTHING. They have trusted you with their feelings, respect them. Now again, we are human, so of course your friend may have made you angry and your feelings matter too.  Take a deep breath, remember this is both grace and truth so if you need to speak some truth into their lives, do it, just for the love do it in a loving/graceful way. Remind them everything  is going to be okay. I think I’ve said this before, but i’ll say it again: Love is more important than being right.
If you believe the lies like, “you’re alone,” “you are the only one going through this,” “they’re going to hate you if you tell them,” “you will be a disappointment,” it will push you further and further back into the shame and into the darkness.
BUT  when you find the courage to be transparent and bring everything to the light, you will starve out those lies and shame that thrive in the dark. When you can put the lies behind you, and open up and talk about everything that is going on in your life- sin, hard times, financial trouble, infertility, YOUR FEELINGS – More times than not you will be met with an “I understand” or a “me too.” We are all humans on this earth. We deal with similar circumstances. I beg you not to believe the lie that you are alone.
When more and more of us start understanding one another on a deep level and leaning on each other, we create community and a bond that is difficult to be broken. Once we tear down the initial “feelings” wall it makes it easier and easier to share. It’s easy to recognize the process is  working. You might even think, “well I already told them the worst, and they didn’t disown me.” So you feel comfortable to share more. So we keep sharing and keep getting deeper with one another.
Let me get you to think about your friendships. Your closest friend is probably someone you can tell anything to, and know they will still love you. I know mine is! The people you aren’t as close to, you don’t tell so much stuff to. If you’ve been reading and wondering “what IS the key to deeper relationships?”or, “I’ve been friends with this person for a while, why doesn’t it feel that genuine or deep?” Check your vulnerability. Do you care about being open and honest? Or do you care about looking like you’ve got it all figured out?
I thought surely by 25 I’ll be secure in a job and planning for a family. I thought by 30, I’ll have my house like my parents and be raising toddlers. All of my debt will be paid off. Well let me tell you something, those things aren’t really happening. And I’m shockingly okay with it. What does “having it all figured out” mean anyway? I’ve lived long enough and talked to enough people older and wiser than me to know no one has it together perfectly, and we’re not supposed to. So it’s okay to stop pretending.
So when someone asks, “How’s it going?” Don’t automatically act like a robot and say “fine.” Search your heart, be real, and if you’re not having a great day, say so. Ask for prayers or to talk if you need to! If you are having a great day, be loud and proud about that too..I think sometimes we squash our joy so we don’t come off too proud or cocky. But just be you!
God created a wonderful you, and he doesn’t make mistakes! Try being vulnerable this week and sharing your feelings, sometimes it just feels good to get it off your chest!
* I know Brene Brown writes a lot about shame and vulnerability. I haven’t had the chance yet to read her books, but they’re on the list. I have heard her speak on videos and podcasts though and if you feel stuck in shame I would highly suggest her stuff. If you have read her books, or know any other good resources on this topic, comment below and tell us where to start!

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