Day 13 | Many Advisors

As I’ve had many talks about community over the years, I’ve heard many sentiments like, “I just want to find that one person that I can really share my life and struggles with.” or “I really want that best friend I can always rely on.” I don’t know if we’ve just watched too many Disney channel movies or what, but we seem to have this underlying notion that deep community means one to three very close friends. Specifically, one “BFF” and maybe a couple “close 2nds” so we can all do a weekend trip to Tahoe, or … go hunting with if you’re a guy? Not sure what you all do together!

I’m not sure that’s an accurate view of a healthy community. Or at least, ought not to be the standard we’re seeking or striving for. I’ve run across some studies showing that “weak ties” can be stronger overall than “strong ties” and more research is being done on this concerning happiness and mental health. People may tend to be happier and have a greater sense of belonging when having multiple weak ties, rather than only a few strong ties. In my only 31 years on this earth, I have already witnessed the strong tie “BFF” relationships tending toward co-dependency and unhealthy behaviors. Specifically, serving with middle school girls, you can quickly see how one close relationship going wrong can fully disrupt a student’s life and faith! But even as adults, I wonder if having a healthy balance of friendships is better for us as well.

When we need to make decisions, whether small or large decisions, we turn to our community. When we only turn to one person, we may be missing a whole variety of perspectives and people who hear from the Lord in different ways. Proverbs 15:22 says “plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” When we have many connections who are able to speak into our life, we have a greater sense of what wisdom may look like. We can have a bigger picture and have multiple godly perspectives that speak to our situation.

I’m not advocating for having a bunch of surface-level relationships with 100 people. What I would encourage you to do is look up and above and around yourself. I wonder what “weak ties” may be around you that you can cultivate, grow alongside, and share a new perspective with. Who can you open up to today? Who can you share a piece of your life with? Who can you ask for help? I think you may find you can have stronger ties with your weak ties than you previously thought!

Ask God to give you the courage to look around your already-established social circles. Pray that he would give you fresh eyes to see someone that you can take a step of vulnerability and open up a deeper conversation with.

Lydia Long
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