The Practice of Spiritual Friendship

image111614The very first repercussion of sin in the Garden of Eden was that Adam and Eve realized they were naked and in their shame they covered themselves. We’ve been playing hide-and-seek with one another ever since.  Our guilt and shame drive us to hide, yet we are desperate to be found. We long to be fully known, loved and accepted for who and what we are. Intimacy is at once our deepest desire and our greatest fear.

Is there someone in your life with whom you can be fully yourself? Or perhaps the better question is, is there someone in your with whom you’re willing to be fully yourself? Our fear of rejection is profound, driven by guilt and shame as old as the Genesis story.  Vulnerability is a critical pathway to spiritual growth, but a path many of us fear to tread. We’ve been burned. We’ve been judged. We’ve been rejected. And so we hide.

The practice of spiritual friendship invites us to get found! Pastor Paul Gauche describes a spiritual friendship this way, “It’s an intentional relationship with someone that you can be real with, someone with whom you can share your heart, tell your secrets, someone you can confide in without fear of ridicule or rejection. It’s developing a relationship that involves cultivating a covenant relationship where you can naturally share your thoughts, feelings, doubts and discoveries about God in a way that actually helps you grow spiritually and encourages you to make a commitment to support, encourage and pray for another person. It’s developing an intentional relationship with someone you can be completely you with because this is the way God has designed you.”

A spiritual friendship might sound appealing to you, or it might just scare you out of your whits! I can tell you from personal experience that it’s worth the risk. Far too many of us go through life allowing our fears to keep us from seeking and enjoying what our soul most desires. We were made for friendships that nourish the soul.

Want to know more, including some ideas on how to get started? Check out this article.

Need a little musical inspiration? Let James Taylor provide it here.

The road to experiencing the good life that Jesus promised is best traveled with a friend!

Jeff Marian is the Lead Pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN.

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