Have you ever known someone with whom you never scratched below the surface?
All across our lives people roam without any real investment. We relegate coworkers, neighbors, and even people we consider friends to a superficial plane where we can be safe without any real skin in the game. It would be easy to blame social media, however, this phenomenon likely has occurred since the beginning.
Why do we have more meaningless relationships in our lives than meaningful ones?
Both our practical natures and emotional identities influence the answer. On a basic level, solid friendships and relationships require time and effort to build. Trust is not cultivated overnight. Additionally, deep bonds necessitate more of us in order to grow. Vulnerability and openness foster strong relationships, yet people tend to be inherently averse to risk.
The cost is greater to play it safe, guarding oneself and refusing to be truly known.
Everyone hurts and suffers pain at some point. Unfortunately, humans frequently react in destructive ways as a means of self-preservation. A past offense serves as a deterrent (or at least a consideration) in future relationships. Burn me once, and I’ll take three steps back from the fire.
The Bible calls us to another path.
We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also (2 Corinthians 6:11-13 NIV).
God calls us to let our defenses down and to open our hearts to those around us. We were meant for connection with others. Being truly known is impossible without risk. No one can see us clearly, flaws and all, unless we grant them permission and give them the tools to hurt us. If we guard ourselves too closely, we miss out on the greatest relationships in life.
Does vulnerability manifest itself in other ways?
Being vulnerable and open to risk translates into our goal-setting as well. If we sit back, lounging in the familiarity of our lives, we miss opportunities for growth and fulfillment. To seek a dream is to risk failure. Sometimes humanity would rather let aspirations fade than chance letting someone see them fail.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).
Trusting the Creator can assuage doubt and fortify us to persevere. God will uphold us through the challenges and difficult times. We need to rely on God to have our backs and to propel us along our paths knowing, in Jesus, failure isn’t final but an avenue for redirection.
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10b).
Deeper enjoyment of life’s simple pleasures brings satisfaction.
God calls us not only to work hard but to enjoy life as well. He created the world for us to relish and appreciate. True relaxation and participation in hobbies widen our scopes and help us to see new and different aspects of life.
This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot (Ecclesiastes 5:18).
As we roll through life, we generate a level of living. While seeking deep fulfillment involves risk and the potential for disappointment, to live superficially deprives us of true meaning and happiness in life.
When building a new relationship, planning future goals, or seeking the best out of life’s pleasures, don’t skimp. Jump into the deep end.
Trust me on this.