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?
Share Your Thoughts in the Comment Section!
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I’m super tempted to virtually sing “I Am A Rock” by S+G right now but I won’t XD Good article! =)
Please don’t 😲
(This was your most recent comment so I just decided to tack this on here…)
I found, through some research, you are not the acclaimed first guitar with arms. View pic for further details. (copyrighted, fyi) https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0f7e45ea0ab983f9d0efc8a3860b6a4cc72f2a0d1051655839ff69784a840835.png
Lol but that’s just some dude holding a guitar, not a guitar with arms…
All you can see is a guitar with arms poking out…just sayin’. I don’t actually remember your old pic but I’m sure there’s some discussion to be had there about the validity of your being the first guitar with arms. =)
Lol well I highly doubt I’m gonna get sued for having a Guitar with Arms blog…I have actually googled Guitar with Arms before and not much came up =P
I may start an Electric Guitar with Arms blog and see how you feel. 🙂
Lol have fun with that 😉
Lol I have google searched myself too and I am the only user to pop up with my username Explorer4lyfe! I could be the first! 😜
Also, that’s how I found out that someone(s) stole a pic from me. 😕😣
Btw, how’s life treating you now?
Lol nice 😉 That’s one thing I like about being Josh A. again, I’m almost completely impossible to find via google =P
Great!! Just got back from vacation, which was a blast. Yesterday I went on a kayaking thingy with my buddy Caleb and our dads which was also fun. You?
Aw that’s awesome. 🙂
Life has bee good; there are ups and downs, but it’s been good.
Sorry it took me um… 4 days later to respond. 😛
Lol no worries! I’m bad at responding sometimes, too =)
Really great article, Christopher! Thank you!
Such great thoughts, Christopher. Thank you so much for sharing! I’ll be keeping these things in mind for sure when I’m working at camp this summer… Sometimes in the rush of things I forget to focus on my relationships with people there.
You’re welcome, Haylie! I can definitely identify with struggling to plug into relationships… Especially during the summer.
Thank you for writing this wonderful article!
You’re welcome, Olivia!
Yes! I’ll join you!!
On a side note. Where about are you from in Northern Minnesota? I was born in Northern Minnesota too.
Thanks, Delaney! I lived in International Falls, MN until I was 12. (I was actually born across the border in Fort Frances, ON, but never lived there. So I guess that makes me part Canadian? =))
No way! I lived in Cook. It’s about an hour south of there. I went to the dentist in International Falls.
Wow! That’s crazy! Small world, huh? =D
Thank you for such a great article, Christopher! I will join you in building strong relationships this summer. I am not a super social person, so this will be a stretch for me. 🙂
That’s great Anne! May God bless your summer with deeper intimacy with Him and others!
Yes, I will join you in working on relationships! I am generally a very quiet and shy person so I don’t really invest in my friendships and I am finding that I am not being invested in. So this will be my Do Hard Things challenge, to work on my relationships with my peers and family. Thanks Christopher for another inspiring article and for challenging me to get out of my comfort zone. 🙂
Good for you, Bekah! I’m proud of you for taking this step! It will be worth it, even if it’s hard!
I am glad to join you and work on my relationships. I also would like to share something. This pass year was really hard for me. I went threw this depressing stage over and over again. It started when my “second mom” (she’s not my real mom, but she really close) moved to Texas. I am a pastor’s daughter and it is really hard for me to let people go. As people come and go at church, it crushes my heart. I take relationships really serious. That’s why last year when I lost my “best friend” I fell to pieces. Then this year I met a friend that helped me got out of the depression I was in. I lost her this year and it started all over again. With all the pain and relationships I went threw I learned and there is one relationship that you can always trust. That is God! I turned my back on him to find healing in other people and it only lasted a while. I have decided that the most important relationship in my life is God’s! No one else can give my everlasting love!
Wow, what a powerful testimony MikaRae! Thanks for sharing it!
I can definitely identify with your journey. Between caring for elderly people in our home in my childhood and providing housing for young people ever since we moved to L.A., my family has only ever lived as “just us” for about 2-3 years of my entire life. Which means many people came and went from my life.
Praise God He doesn’t leave, right?!
God bless you!
I love this! Learning to not be afraid to love. Not be afraid to go deep with people. Love can be painful, but it’s worth the risk.
Amen! Thanks Jalen!
It’s really important to become close to your friends over the summer. A lot of the time its when they need you the most. Really good.
Good point! Thanks Rebekah!
Yes, good, strong, healthy relationships are necessary. Thanks for writing!
I’m kinda an introverted extrovert. I’m really out going and loud around friends and people I know better, but new people…. meh, not so much. I need to get over it though. Which I’m gonna try to do this summer. I know how awesome it is to meet a person and they’re out going and friendly, not shy. It makes you so much less uncomfortable. And that’s the person I want to become. The one who goes up to the new person around, say hello, et cetera.
Thanks for the post!
You’re welcome, Jo!
I’m proud of you for stepping out of your comfort zone in meeting new people. That’s great!
(One secret that helps me: Ask a lot of questions. People generally like talking about themselves. So if you can listen well and ask great questions, conversation will flow pretty well. It’s even better if they toss the question back at you, then you can talk about yourself a little bit too. So on and so forth. =))
I feel like I didn’t see this for three months. Or I did and I didn’t reply. Sorry about that.
And thank you for the tip!
Great article, thanks! I will most certainly join you! I grew up pretty shy and quiet; I preferred to read books alone rather than hang out with friends. Although I’m still an introvert, and I still looove being in my room alone reading, I also have come to really love spending time with friends; and I’ve gotten to the point where I will have whole conversations with complete strangers because I love hearing people’s stories. I’m blessed with many great relationships in my life–not only with my peers, but with people from ages eight months to eighty–and I’m really grateful for this reminder that they’re so important and I need to work to maintain them!
That’s great, Haylie! Glad you are able to have so many great relationships! God bless you as you keep them up!