How many friends would be on the profile page of your day-to-day life?
How many “followers” would you have on a news feed of your commute to work, the moments after an argument with your wife, or the days and weeks following the loss of a child?
As much as we’d like to believe we’d have just as must attention drawn towards ourselves in the mundane, or even tragic and difficult seasons of our life…the reality is we simply would not. Perhaps we would be offered the equivalents of those new “sad face” emojis on Facebook, but certainly nothing of meaning or substance would last through all of life’s many trials or boring details.
In a world where we are told that it is more valuable to be “followed” by many than to be truly known by few, we are missing something vitally important. We are placing value on the breadth of our relationships, when life is truly drawn from the depth within them.
Gentlemen, be diligent! Do not be deceived! Firmly place a stake in the ground. There can be no compromising on the importance of pressing deeply into the lives of those around us. There are few greater injustices you can do a friend than refusing to step into the mess of their lives alongside them.
We are to be relentless in the pursuit of depth in our relationships. Intimacy, not popularity, is to be the standard by which we judge our friendships.
In the same way, there are few greater injustices than not allowing a friend to press deeply into you.
We have all had that friend who was the first to comfort you when you were struggling, but altogether refuses to accept your help as they confront trials of their own.
Gentlemen, never allow yourselves to miss the importance of being known by others. To be truly, intimately known.
I was recently on a road trip with my dad and he shared something that resonated deeply and that I’ve continued to carry with me.
“It’s good to be got”, he said.
It’s a simple enough thought, and it’s nothing I didn’t already know to be true. But it put words to something that I know I long for in all of my relationships but was yet to identify in such certain terms. He wisely places importance on the need we all have to be “got” by others.
It’s vitally important that we press into our relationships, yes, but it’s just as important that we allow others to know us in that same way.
We have so many surface relationships that demand our attention and effort today. So many acquaintances that in any other generation in history would be entirely absent from our lives. But as our world has become increasingly smaller, we are forced to spread ourselves thinly over an unsustainable number of relationships, with little left to pour into the friends who do life with us on a day-to-day basis.
I will say it once more. Do not substitute intimacy for popularity. Said differently, do not allow the number of your relationships to outweigh the depth within them. We must understand and appreciate the importance of this long held value.
Allow others in. Allow others fully into your lives and into all the cluttered, broken, and confused parts of it. You are not as “messed up” as you think you are. We are all broken people, with unattained dreams and shameful secrets. Do not think yourself so different that there’s no one who can understand how you are hurting. In the same way, allow others into your victories and accomplishments! Do not take the opportunity from others to celebrate with you. It blesses you both, and should be encouraged with every situation that allows it!
We are constantly forming new relationships as we journey. As a modern day gentlemen, ensure that as you do that, you are intentionally seeking out people who are prepared to enter into the boring, tragic, exciting, anxious, and victorious seasons of your life with you. Ensure, also, that they are prepared to allow you to do the same with them in their trials and successes.
So go. Go and be men who refuse to compromise in a society that so often demands it. Go and be examples of strength and courage through vulnerability and transparency. Show the world that depth of relationship matters. Be the catalyst for change that men today so desperately need.
Let us know in the comments below if you have any wisdom to share in this area. What has helped you establish depth in your relationships? What has proved to be more difficult than you foresaw as you stepped into them?