One thing has echoed strongly in my heart over the last months of quarantine and face masks in the strange phenomenon of our current world…
Now, more than ever, I see the importance of my people. My people help give me a reason to get out of bed each morning, push me to dream big despite the odds, and make me laugh when there are a dozen things that make me want to cry. My people encourage me to seek Jesus and challenge me to be the best version of who God has created me to be.
Here’s the thing: we need different types of human friendships.
Several months ago, I was heading into a season where I could feel the choke hold of depression wanting to creep up again. I know depression’s whispers and I wasn’t about to give up without a fight. So, I took out a sticky note and wrote at the top: WHAT MAKES ME HEALTHY? I knew I needed to buckle down and pursue health… spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.
My list was surprisingly small. (I’ll share my actual list in another blog…) At the top where three key things to my health: being mentored, my friends, and ministering to others. This thought has become a thread in my life in the last several months. It made me think of Paul, Barnabas and Timothy.
In the New Testament we see a need for these three certain types of relationships. The more I study the Word, the more I realize that in order to have a fruitful life, I need ALL three relationships in my life, working together for my good and growth. The Paul-coaches. The Barnabas-friends. The Timothy-mentees.
I’ve studied these relationships extensively for years, but never before have I seen the profound importance of these three types of friendships than now. In our world, we need to understand how God has wired us to need these interactions with “our people”.
I have a burden for my generation and the one coming after me: both Millennials (born 1981-1996) and Generation Z (born 1997-2012) to seek wise relationships. For eight years, I’ve worked in fulltime ministry with women of all ages and stages of life…starting with teenagers and now with women from all walks of life and religious backgrounds. One thing is for sure- we aren’t getting the friendship thing right. Out of all the generations, Millennials and Generation Zs are the worst. BY FAR. We are missing the boat. We are trying to redefine what God has designed and “recreate the wheel”, so to speak. We are messed up and trying to fix our brokenness all alone.
Hear me: I’m with you. I am a Millennial. There is a disconnect.
This relational brokenness is woven into our culture like the fiber of our souls. But I am here to tell you: there is an answer. I’ve lived it (in the moments I have chosen to fight for it!) and it is beautiful. Radical. Full and free. It will mean breaking outside our cultural norm and choosing to not settle for less. It will mean being uncomfortable. It will mean being “weird” at times. It is also SO WORTH IT.
If I know one thing about Millennials and Gen Zs, I know this: we can be bold and brave. Let’s choose to do it for something that matters.
The first step is obvious: you have to ADMIT and AGREE that you have an issue in your relationships. You have to acknowledge that there has to be more. You have to be willing to learn. Truth is: Millennials are the most prideful and unteachable people I meet. Sorry to make such a harsh statement, but nine times out of ten, we seem to think we have it in the bag. We don’t need help. We are fine. We don’t need other people. We don’t NEED. That’s pride. Pride is SIN. Let’s be straight forward here…if you want more for your life and your relationships, you’re gonna have to get real and see your NEED for help.
In his book, The Last Arrow, Erwin Raphael McManus writes: “Your greatest strength is not when you can prove that you don’t need anyone; your greatest strength is when you no longer have to prove that you can do it alone.” Let’s get honest so we can grow, friends.
I’m no psychologist and I don’t claim to understand the complexities of relationships, but I have brushed shoulders with dozens of teenagers and hundreds of women from all backgrounds, stages of faith, and life stories. I have made note of the common threads in human interaction and traced the same principles through the pages of Scripture. I want more than the world is offering. I want more than superficial relationships. I am craving something real and tangible and deep.
Good news is, we can have depth in human interactions. We can have healthy, full, strong relationships. The Bible has the answers…both in word and in the friendships we see modeled in the pages there.
I want to invite you on a journey of taking back what our generations have tried to redefine and together, reach for something bigger and better. I want to invite you to open your heart and truly seek truth. It might take an overhaul in our relationships, but I’m willing…how about you?
Over the next few weeks, we’re going to explore each of these three relationships on this blog. We are going to dive into the Word together AND look at how our generations are interacting with other with the backdrop of truth. There will be specific questions to help you pin-point your areas of need and practical suggestions to reach for more and get the ball rolling.
Hear me say this, friend. Although this is may seem harsh at times and straight forward, my heart BLEEDS for my generation and those coming after us. We aren’t living in fullness. We could be SO MUCH MORE if we understand these principles about Godly relationships and the balance between intake, iron-sharpening-iron, and output. We could be world changers for Jesus. I truly believe Millennials and Gen Z cannot tap their full potential without these truths laid out in God’s Word. I don’t know about you, but I want to be all God has made me to be. It takes these three kinds of relationships.
For the record, that depression never did get the better foot-hold several weeks ago…and I can’t take the credit. Jesus used my Pauls, my Barnabases and my Timothys to keep me healthy. I believe these three relationships just may be the missing link to so many of my generation’s hunger pains. God has wired us to need each other and uses us to support and love each other well. HOW we do that is important.
Won’t you join me on this adventure over the next few weeks? We need more than a facelift in our human interactions. We need an overhaul. Who’s with me?
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