How to Build Lasting Friendships: Sharing Struggles
Fallen leaves skittered across the road as we drove with windows open and Taylor Swift's Love Story blaring from the radio. At the stop-light, my new friend turned down the volume and out of nowhere confessed an area of her life she was struggling in. I was shocked. Not by what she said, but by her willingness to be open and vulnerable with me. This one moment of honesty took our friendship to a whole new level. If she trusted me with her hardships, I knew I could count on her to do the same.
I consider myself all kinds of blessed to have several friends who have shared in my struggles. I believe it is because of those moments that our friendship is so strong.
They are the ones who dropped everything in order to stock my fridge with pudding cups, string cheese and chicken nuggets when we first became foster parents. The ones who have hugged me and cried with me and knelt on the floor beside me in prayer when life is just plain hard. The ones who ask the hard questions and don't shy away when my answer is anything but christian.
It is somewhat easy to rejoice with others, to celebrate with them in the good times. It is another matter entirely to walk with them through the darkness. To come alongside and say 'I want to carry this burden with you'. To be willing to crawl beside them through the mud and the muck and the ugliness of life because you care about them and their relationship with the Lord. If you want the type of friendship that lasts through all seasons, then you need to be willing to weather the storms together. But how do you get to that level of friendship?
You start by example. You start with humility.
Through my friend's example I have witnessed how humility leads to vulnerability, which leads to confession, which leads to support, which in turn makes it easier to remain humble and vulnerable.
If you're looking for this type of soul-deep community, then I encourage you to take the first step.