I’m not going to pretend like I’m perfect at the whole relationship area of life. I’ve had (many!) moments of being a terrible friend, girlfriend, sister, and daughter. I’ve gossiped when I should have prayed for, torn down when I should have encouraged, been harsh and judgmental instead of tender and compassionate. I’ve refused to see the other side of the story, had my moments of selfishness and arrogance, and broken trust while demanding it from the other person. And if you’re honest, you have too.

Life is messy. Relationships are messy. But meaningful, lasting connections with the people who love us anyway is the stuff that makes life beautiful. And here are 6 very important reasons why it’s vitally necessary:

  • Lonely, but Never Alone

We all have moments when we feel really lonely. Life happens, time gets away from us, friends and family are moving into different seasons, and we feel stuck. But when we have those close relationships, we are never truly alone. Think of that one person you can always count on, no   Processed with VSCO with t1 presetmatter what time of day, or how many miles apart. You know you’d do the same for them, regardless of that dumb argument you may have had or how long it’s been since you’ve sat  down and had a heart-to-heart. You always have them in your corner.

  • Through Thick and Thin

This also means you have a network to turn to when things are over-the-top happy or never-knew-it-could-be-so-awful sad. Close relationships rejoice together when there is something to celebrate, and grieve together in the hard times. Just as marriage vows read “in sickness and in health, good times and in bad”, when we take our relationships seriously, we have people walking alongside us in life who are willing to do just that with us. Circumstances may change, but they are there through it all.

  • That Shoulder to Lean On

Sometimes, we just aren’t at our best. We slip and fall, our greatest intentions can have the worst results, the ugly comes out and we see ourselves for who we really are. Those relationships we’ve cultivated in the best of times will also be there for us when we’re falling apart. When others are only seeing the addiction, the mess-up, the lost cause, we don’t have to hide from those who love us and care about us the most. Just like you’ve been there for them in the messy and the broken, they’re more than ready for your not-so-beautiful moments too. But not to wallow–no, they are there to hold you up, dust you off, and help you find your way again. They will never give up on you!

  • Eyes to See, Ears to Hear

Have you ever dated someone who was so wrong for you, but were blinded by “love” and couldn’t see the florescent, screaming red flags slapping you in the face? Or had a toxic person in your life who was so manipulative and judgmental, and yet you felt the need to change yourself and work with them, hoping things would just get better? Sometimes you need the loving shake from a trusted friend to help you see the truth. We can dissect situations on our own, good and bad, but we can only get so far in our understanding. Those who love us the most and have discerning hearts can give us a better perspective, a deeper insight, and can see our blindspots.

  • Iron Sharpens Iron

Here’s the thing about meaningful relationships- they are hard. It’s not fluffy, feel-good emotions all the time. But if you are looking for deep, nitty-gritty, lasting friendships, then you’re on the right track.

I am so grateful for the people in my life who love me and aren’t afraid to tell the truth. This doesn’t mean I’m always ready to hear the truth, but when I need to grow and be challenged, God has a funny way of putting the words in their mouths. Sure, there are many people who will think they have some sort of authority to speak into your life, but only those you trust will be able to have an impact–just as you are a source of truth and encouragement for them also.

  • God’s Intention for Us

Finally, and probably most importantly, God specifically designed us to have close relationships. That’s the nature of humanity. We can pretend like we’re independent and self-sufficient, but in the end, if you’ve never taken the time and effort to love, follow through, cultivate and grow with others, you’ve lived a very lonely and broken existence as a human being. Togetherness is what helps us to overcome difficulties, take risks, and believe in something greater than ourselves. If you’re unsure of your relationships, it’s time to take a step back, reevaluate and ask for wisdom. Life is too complicated to navigate alone.