What do The Fellowship of the Ring, Fast and Furious, and Parks and Recreation all have in common? They all feature strong friendships; ones that can withstand the test of time, can walk through any trials (even middle earth), and celebrate the successes of our lives. This idea of strong friendships is a common theme in society today (which is freaking amazing if I do say so myself!). Everywhere you look you see Instagram posts about finding your Ride or Die crew, your soul sisters, your tribe, or your fellowship. That’s because we’re not meant to go through this life alone. We’re not meant to celebrate the joys of living on our own, and we’re not meant to face the trials of life by ourselves either. We’re supposed to walk through life with people by our side, which is why we have to find and cultivate relationships that can withstand the test of time and the setbacks of life.
Everyone needs friends, but we need something more than that. We don’t need 100 mutual acquaintance friends, what we need are a select few friends that know us, really know us. Sure, we can still have friends that are fun to hang out with, but it’s important to have that core group of friends – that tribe, that fellowship – who can hold you up when you feel like you can’t go on anymore. These are the people who not only know your heart but can point out you are no longer being true to who you were created to be.
Sometimes it’s scary to open up to people, to let them see who you really are. To see the very heart of who you, and the dirty inside stuff that we’d rather keep hidden. But only through opening up to others and inviting them into our lives (and subsequent mess) are we able to find the support that we so desperately crave. However, it’s not a one-way street, and we also need to be just as invested in our fellowship as they are in us. To create a culture of openness and vulnerability, we need to participate in it as much as we expect others to. But in that, we need to make sure that when people do open up to us, we don’t only welcome the good things, but that we also welcome with open arms the messy and dirty areas too.
“A sister is a true sister when she digs for good soil in another. If she finds toxic soil, she keeps digging. It doesn’t scare her. If she finds dry and barren ground, she brings her sister water for her soil, words of life, and the water sees fruit grow from the good soil of commitment and pursuit. Toxic soil isn’t’ to be so scary we run the other way. The Holy Spirit is the master gardener and is asking if you would be the rookie apprentice. We have much to learn, but the Holy Spirit is ready to teach.”
I may not have hundreds of friends, but what I do have is a fantastic core group of ladies that stand alongside me through thick and thin. They don’t all live in the same place as me, some don’t even live in the same country, but I know that they have my back no matter what. I can turn to my little fellowship with prayer requests and praise items, troubles and triumphs, and they do the same with me. We all hold each other up, and we press on in life, together. Above all, we remind each other of who God created us to be when we have forgotten; and we encourage (and lovingly push) each other towards the pursuit of a true relationship with God.
Whether you already have a tribe of your own, or you’re in search of one, I encourage you to open yourself up to those around you. To open yourselves up to being vulnerable with others. And to open yourselves up to walking through life with people. It’ll be hard, and messy, and uncomfortable, but it will be incredibly worthwhile! As someone once told me, don’t run away from the uneasiness, lean into it. So lean into meaningful relationship with others, lean into doing life together. Lean into it all!