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10 Small Ways to Take Friendships from Surface Level to Deep and Meaningful

  • Michelle Lazurek
10 Small Ways to Take Friendships from Surface Level to Deep and Meaningful

As a pastors’ wife, I often live with surface level relationships. People only want me for what I can give them, not for who I really am. Every once in a while, though, I find someone who forsakes my position in the church for deep relationship. My life is truly blessed for these relationships. How do you move from surface level to deep meaningful relationships? Here are ten ways you can do that:

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1. Keep Yourself Accountable

There is nothing that moves a relationship deeper than sharing your sins with someone else. Confessing your sins to another person not only cleanses your soul, but also builds trust and intimacy between parties. This allows someone else a window into your heart. To find an accountability partner can’t be taken lightly, however. It requires finding someone who can keep a confidence and offer godly counsel when asked. It also means that person puts the other ahead of herself and is willing to speak the hard things to make them a better person.

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2. Give More than You Take

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.” John wrote this in his gospel because he understood the significance of deep relationships when he referred to himself all throughout his gospel as the “disciple whom Jesus loved.” This was not to be haughty, but instead he believed Jesus loved Him best of all because He accepted and knew Jesus’ love in a deeper way than the rest of the disciples. He was bold enough to run to the tomb at His resurrection and He had the audacity to lay His head on Jesus’ bosom. Good friends know that they are accepted and loved no matter what. Each friend gives of herself so the other can benefit.

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3. Consider Yourself Less than You Ought

Romans 12:3 says, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” The deepest relationships are ones in which both parties see each other for who they really are. Neither sees herself as better than the other, but rather equal to each other. When one gets trapped in the cycle of pride, the other loves her enough to tell her she is being prideful, so she can change.

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4. Practice Spiritual Discipline with Others

Deeper relationships result when each person has a similar goal and works together to achieve it. In this case, both parties have the same goals: to grow closer to God. Doing life together includes practicing disciplines that strengthen and improve your lives both relationally and spiritually. Read the word together and discuss your revelations with each other. Pray together and share your struggles. Fast together and struggle through each hunger pang together. Spiritual disciplines help fellow brothers and sisters go beyond a mere hello, passing one another in the sanctuary at church. It helps them go deeper with Christ and help each other along the way.

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5. Live Authentically

Deep relationships are not fake; neither party wears a mask. Masks hide the true self. We all have the innate desire to know and be known by others. This stems from God’s design to have fellowship with His children in paradise. God does not do life alone and neither do we. Surface level relationships do not afford us the privilege of being deeply known, warts and all. By removing our seemingly perfect exterior, people can get to know our imperfect interior, and love us in spite of it.

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6. Speak Truth in Love

I’ve heard Ephesians 4:15 quoted many times, “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” We all know we should speak the truth to those we love, but why? The verse explains that saying the hard things to others helps them to grow into more mature Christians. Saying hard things is not easy or popular. It is easier to hide behind kind words, justifying our actions by emphasizing a need for encouragement, but being encouraged all the time does not guarantee spiritual growth. By sharing your heart with someone and helping her get out of her sinful patterns, you not only spare her relationship with God from being severed, but also help her take a step forward on her spiritual journey.

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7. Share Transparently

Transparency means being able to see right through someone. There is nothing hidden from the other when a relationship holds transparency at the highest value. This is different from taking off a mask, because although you may be able to see someone’s true self, it doesn’t mean that they have chosen to reveal their deepest darkest feelings and ideas to you. One way to do this is to practice what my husband calls a “whole life confession.” He practiced this with a fellow pastor friend and he felt cleansed from the inside. When you find someone, whom you trust, to confess your sins to, ask the Holy Spirit to recall to your mind any sins you have not confessed. Although all of your sins are already covered under Christ’s blood, Scripture commands us to confess our sins to each other, so that Satan will not gain a foothold in our lives and we can walk in the light with others.

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8. Give Sacrificially

A contestant on a game show I watched, recently revealed the sacrificial giving of a stranger. Someone contacted a man with kidney disease on social media to say she was prompted by God to give him her kidney. A stranger, she drove fourteen hours to get tested, and after finding she was a match, donated her kidney to save this man’s life. This is sacrifice at its best. Jesus gave everything for those He loved, including His life. While we may not be called to give our lives for someone, we are asked to give everything we have. The Acts church grew in number because they met the needs of those around them. They gave everything they had, even selling their possessions to do so. Are we willing to give everything we have for those we love? Going above and beyond in our giving will change our superficial relationships to ones that enrich our lives in the deepest ways.

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9. Use Your Spiritual Gifts

Spiritual gifts are for the mutual benefit of both the user and the receiver. The giver gets to establish her purpose within the church body, and the receiver gets the benefit of being blessed by someone’s offering. When I use my gifts for someone’s benefit, I reveal my true self and trust is established. When trust is made, it automatically moves our relationship to a deeper level.

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10. Love Recklessly

Merriam Webster defines reckless as, “marked by lack of proper caution: careless of consequences.” Reckless love abandons all reason and order and ignores all possibility of negative consequences. To be reckless means to love someone no matter what they have done. Even if the person deserves judgment, love overrides that, vetoing the guilty charge and rendering him innocent. God’s love did that on the cross. When we love others despite the negative consequences they may deserve, we allow others to get a taste of the intimacy shared between God and His children.

Surface relationships are nice, but they don’t allow us to be seen for who we really are, leaving us unfulfilled. To be known and know others means building trust, loving others recklessly and sharing our lives with each other, even the parts we don’t like. We do this in the hopes that Christ will make us perfect through Him.

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Michelle S. Lazurek is an award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife and mother. Winner of the Golden Scroll Children's Book of the Year, the Enduring Light Silver Medal and the Maxwell Award, she is a member of the Christian Author's Network and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She is also an associate literary agent with Wordwise Media Services. For more information, please visit her website at michellelazurek.com.