Experience Joy beyond the Surface

flower petal on water's surface

As a college student, I find that my life is characterized by a constant whirlwind of activity. Moving through my day, I am always surrounded by friends, classmates, and professors. But I rarely take the time to get to know these people beyond the surface level. In fact, I could probably recite most conversations I have as if I were reading off a script.

The way the Bible talks about relationships, though, is vastly different from the reality I so often experience. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Being in relationship with others should make everyone stronger and draw everyone involved closer to God. How can we begin cultivating these iron-sharpening-iron relationships?

Start with honesty. When someone asks how you are, it is OK to admit that you are stressed out, scared, or overwhelmed. Moving past surface-level responses, even to basic questions, breaks down the shiny façade we often present to others. This step is so vital to forming authentic relationships that build up one another in Christ.

Being courageous and sharing your life, even the messy parts, leads to more meaningful relationships. Your friends and family members could be walking through the same situation as you, but you may never know if you don’t take the first step in sharing. When relationships are built on a foundation of sharing one another’s fears and struggles, the door is open to spiritual growth.

Walking through life in community with others gives people the opportunity to intentionally pray for one another, expecting God to act. Through this, your faith grows more personal and you open the door to experience extraordinary joy as God works.

Authenticity has an equal role to play in all relationships, but it is important to note that not all relationships are going to look the same. Some relationships will certainly be deeper than others, and that’s OK. But every interaction should still be intentional and genuine.

Emily Clark is a senior at Samford University and served as an intern with WMU’s editorial production hub this spring.

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