Thursday, September 1, 2016


I've been preparing for a study I'm leading at my church this fall. The session I just finished watching the teaching on was about our need for people. How we need people in our lives, and we need to commit to them and fight for those relationships.

It's a topic I've written a lot about over the years I've had this blog. It's such an important thing in our lives as believers. It took me back to some of the early posts I wrote - specifically a post I wrote about community in November 2007. As I re-read it tonight, I was struck by the thoughts I wrote then.

Today is a re-post of an old one, but one that I think is incredibly important.

Honestly, I think that the only way we can begin to remove that masks that we so often wear is to begin with small groups of people - whether this is a group of close friends, a Bible study group, an accountability group, or whatever. We need to have those groups of people in our lives who we can go to and be honest with . . . and who will be honest with us as well. Without these kind of people in our lives, what hope do we really have of moving beyond the "image management" that we have gotten caught up in? I honestly don't believe we have much . . . not that I want to be depressing, but I think it's true.

I know for myself, I've grown up in the church and often believed that what other people thought was important. So, the morning getting ready for church could have everything go completely wrong, but the moment we turned into the parking lot . . . smiles on everyone's faces and the answer to how things were going was "great" . . . even if that wasn't the truth. Not exactly honest . . . but I've talked to others who had the same experience growing up.

But, I've also experienced the opposite . . . I had the privilege of living with some incredible girls for the two years that I was at Bible college. And I saw how . . . at least most of the time . . . to move beyond this "image management" metality. First of all, when you have 40 girls, two to a room, with one big bathroom at the end of the hall you see more and hear more about people just due to the living situation. But, I also never knew one of them to ask how you were doing and allow the answer to just be "fine" or "good" or "ok". The standard answers were not enough . . . and usually the questions asked were more specific than just asking "how's it going?" as you passed someone.

That was a learning experience for me . . . but it was good!

I think we need to start having those people in our lives who will ask us how we are and want a real answer. I think we need to start having people in our lives who we give permission to for them to ask us the hard questions. I think we need to start having people in our lives who are not afraid to say something when we're headed for trouble.

And if this is going to happen, we have to be these kind of people for others in our lives as well. We need to be willing to speak up when we're concerned about a friend or ask the tough questions. This isn't a one way thing . . . it has to go both ways.

Right now, we each need to find people who we can be completely honest with in our lives.

Who is this in your life?

If there isn't anyone who you could trust in this way, what is the next thing you can do to move towards having these kind of people in your life?

I asked myself these questions recently. I count myself lucky to be able to say that I do have people who ask me the tough questions or speak up when I'm headed for trouble in my life now. But, I haven't always . . . because it takes a risk to do this . . . to trust some people enough to be this open and honest with them. But the rewards of doing so are huge . . . and far outwiegh the benefits.

So, I challenge you . . . find these people in your life and develop these kinds of relationships. They won't happen overnight . . . so get started! Or if you have these people in your life already . . . continue to develop those relationships.

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