Friendships and Community: Article Series by Tomás and Shivonne!


Hello Everybody! 
My name is Tomas Carradero, and my amazing friend Shivonne Robinson will be helping me out with this article. This will be the first of three articles that we like to call the “Love Series,” with the last one being on Valentine’s Day (don’t worry, we aren’t here to tell you to get a Valentine. If anything, we are here to tell you that Jesus in our Valentine {As in mine and Shivonnes’ #Patience). This week we just wanted to share with you a few things on how to build community and to build relationships, inspired by pastors Eric Fuller (Eugene Cornerstone Church) and Sol Rexus (University Fellowship Church). These ideas have have been on our hearts as we have continued our walks with Christ together. If you see Shivonne and I together. there is a 90% chance we are talking about how good Jesus is. The other 10% is probably about something hilarious we saw on Twitter. Nevertheless, we hope our words will be helpful as we start a new year. We hope God speaks through us. and you soak in some good ideas that will help you get closer with people through Christ.
We believe that the best type of any relationship is when Christ is at the center. We are all now old enough to know that friends come and go. Especially after high school, we learn who our true friends are. I’m sure it rings true here in our small community of NCU – that some people don’t always stay close to you. We come into college, hopefully, with an open mindset and the willingness to make lifelong relationships. We even did this is high school. Back in those days, I always longed for a best friend. What I didn’t understand at the time was the commitment needed in order to build that best friend relationship. Our culture is hung up on “relationship goals”. You go on the internet and you see pictures of people doing simple things like eating meals together or laughing together. These things should already be happening in a normal relationship, whether it’s a friendship or a romantic relationship. What does this say about our culture today? When did normal signs of a healthy relationship become “goals”? There’s nothing wrong with striving for a good relationship, but idolizing what should already be happening is kind of ridiculous. Often times we long for a relationship but don’t want to put in the effort or we don’t realize how much effort it actually takes. 
We need to be intentional and real with ourselves, God, and others. Being real and honest with yourself will allow you to open up to others. Be honest about where you’re at in life. This, in turn, allows you to be honest and open with God. With regards to being real on a spiritual level, when you are real with God, He reveals to you that he actually cares about you. It was His intention for us to live in community with each other, not just with those people that we like. When we stop and listen to our thoughts, we should be asking “Where can I fit Jesus into this conversation or situation?” When we do this, we let God take more control of our lives and He works in better ways than we ever could. It is a brilliant way to preach to myself more in order to remind myself all the time of who God is. Everyone’s journey is different, and that’s what makes us beautiful. Being intentional with others starts by actually listening to someone instead of just hearing what they have to say. It’s important to listen more than you speak. When you do that, people notice it. And the last time I checked, I love to know that I’m actually being listened to. It’s a way of showing that you actually care. The point that Shivonne and I want to bring across to you is that a “real authentic community takes time and effort.” We hope you take these words into consideration as we continue to build our small community of NCU. 
For now, we leave you with a challenge: Find someone you may have not talked to in a while and grab coffee together to catch up. Be intentional! 

Join us next week for another article by Tomas and Shivonne. We will talk about the Church and the Idolization of Marriage

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