Where 2 or 3 Are Gathered

friends on a bench

I am so blessed and grateful to have loving friends who take time to be intentional and invest in my life. These Christ-centered relationships are incredibly meaningful and encourage me to pour into others. My sweet friend Anna, who is a junior in college, is passionate about building these kinds of authentic relationships, so I asked her to share some of her thoughts and experiences:

Why do you think it is important to grow deeper in relationships?

“Thinking back to my middle school [years], high school [years], and even first years at college, I see how much I was poured into. I’m so grateful to have had such incredible people around me that wanted to invest in me, but I also know the gaps that I felt were not as invested in. I needed people who would ask questions until I was finally open and honest about what was truly going on. I needed people who would send that quick text of encouragement that perfectly matched what I was dealing with. I needed older mentors who would prioritize spending time with me because they wanted to be available for me.”

What are some ways you intentionally invest in friendships?

“There is a difference in investing in peer relationships and investing in those younger than you. Investing in people younger than me is something I think is superimportant and superimpactful, not only for them but [also] for myself. It takes time and it takes energy to be that for someone, but it is one of the most rewarding things. Walking through the hard times with someone means that you also get to celebrate the good, and that is something so special.

Vulnerable and honest relationships need to be valued and cherished because for the younger person you’re investing in, you taking the time to care for them means the absolute world. It simply takes showing up, being present, and caring. You don’t have to have all of the right answers; your consistency and care speak more than having the ‘right’ answer.”

What impact has growing your relationships had on your life and faith?

“There is a sense of safety that comes in relationships that surpasses the things that are easy to talk about. Life has hard things: challenges, doubts, fears, the list could go on forever. Building relationships that create a space where hard, real things can be discussed is so special. That type of relationship takes work, it takes trust, and it takes time, but it is something that is so treasured and so crucial. We were not made to take on life alone. God gave us community and as Christians, our community is centered on the love and grace that we have in Jesus.

Community and relationships bring spiritual growth. Our goal is to live the way Jesus did and to love others the way He did. The only way to love others is to get out of the comfort of ourselves and begin investing in those around us. Loving people [as] Jesus [did] means loving people in the good and in the bad, in the awkward and in the comfortable, in the easy things and in the hard things. Loving people [as] Jesus [did] means showing up, even if it means sacrificing something for yourself.

Being in close relationships with people means that there really aren’t many questions off the table. Having people that discuss the hard parts about Christianity and who desire growth is powerful. We are taught that where 2 or 3 are gathered, God will show up. It is in those moments—those ‘2 or 3 gathered’ moments—that I have experienced such powerful conversations.”

While reading Anna’s words, I was reminded of these words from Hebrews: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb. 10:24–25).

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

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