Published on May 30th, 2016 | by Christopher Witmer
One Goal Every Teen Should Set For the Summer
Summer is officially here, and with it, all of the out-door, cold-free, school-free, happiness-filled, sunshine-blessed summer fun.
If your summer is like mine, between vacations, camps, and general non-school related freedom, it’s going to be busy.
Perhaps you’re dreaming big. Dreaming of the grand vacation you finally get to go on or a mission trip you’ve been anticipating. Perhaps you’re gearing up to go to college, or pursuing different hobbies to figure out what you want to do with your life.
Big stuff, important stuff, life-changing stuff.
Like I said, there are many things you could do this summer. Some of which would be wise and profitable to pursue.
For example, traveling would give you valuable exposure to new cultures and different perspectives which would broaden your understanding of the world and your awe of God.
Developing a hobby would expand your skill set, possibly giving you direction for a career. And preparing for the future, whether financially or experientially, is always a good idea.
But in the midst of the excitement, anticipation, and activity, nothing is more worth your time than relationships.
And not just relationships, but vibrant, intimate relationships.
Few things are as important and deeply satisfying as healthy intimacy.
Now, intimacy can sound awkward because we associate it with the romance of marriage. However, in this context, it refers to the closeness of two individuals who know each other well.
At its deepest level, intimacy is the experience of being fully and truly known by someone else, whether a good friend, parents, a spouse, or God.
God created us for intimacy. In other words, He created us to be truly known. Not necessarily known to the same degree by everyone, but known truly (accurately and without deception) nonetheless.
Next week, I’m going to share how, I think, we can develop intimate relationship. But first, I want to share why I think we should develop them.
1. Relationships give life meaning.
Remember, God is a trinity: one unified entity of three individuals. He’s a community. God created Adam and Eve to live in that community. To love and be loved by God and each other. It is in the stepping away from that perfect communion Man loses his purpose to live.
This is why some of the most successful people in the world are some of the most depressed. And why the wealthiest men spend their youth chasing wealth and their old age giving it away.
Conversely, it’s also why the poorest people you meet are sometimes the most content. They may lack money and fame, but they are rich in relationships and thus are rich in purpose and satisfaction.
2. Relationships carry you through the hard times.
When it comes to experiencing hard times, relationships completely blow bank accounts away in reliability–no matter how deep the stacks of cash may be.
Living in Los Angeles, I see homeless people everywhere I go. (Unfortunately, there are more than 80,000 homeless people living in L.A. County!)
As I’ve observed and interacted with them, I’m grateful and broken at the same time.
I’m grateful because I know if I experience hard times, there would be dozens if not hundreds of people helping me out.
And yet, it also breaks my heart because it means these homeless people, made in God’s image for intimate community, either don’t have such community or have walked away from it.
Bank accounts can be emptied overnight; careers can end in a day. But healthy relationships carry you through those storms.
Develop healthy relationships.
3. Relationships are the avenue to glorifying God.
The very substance of God rests on relationship. Father and Son are terms of relationship. Lord, Master, Guide, Lover, Healer–these indicate God’s relationship to us. And the phrase “God is love” reveals His relational nature (1 John 4:8).
The two first and greatest commandments are to love God and each other. This indicates His purpose in our lives (to glorify God) is first, foremost, and primarily accomplished through relationships.
Jesus Himself led a life of deep relationships. And His call on each of our lives–to make disciples–is entirely relational. Furthermore, the fabric and structure of the church falls apart and its influence destroyed as relationships are neglected. Like God, the substance of the Church is relationships.
When we start building empires rather than relationships, we step away from God Himself and His call on our lives.
This summer, I want to build strong relationships. I know they will last longer than anything else I do.
Will you join me?
How do you plan to pursue healthy relationships this summer? What are your greatest struggles in building intimacy? In what ways have you been successful?
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