What kind of friendships do you have? Are they deep and authentic or are they shallow and generic? Everyone of us desires to have relationships with meaning, purpose and growth. In this episode of the podcast, my friend Bryan and I talk about our 10 year+ friendship, what an authentic friendship looks like and how we all desperately need relationships where we are vulnerable, genuine and transparent. You need this, so join us for this part one of a two part discussion.
Bryan and Stephanie's Previous Podcast Episodes:
What Does an Authentic Friendship Look Like?
- You don't have to be alike to grow a strong authentic relationship.
"I'm seeing more and more in my life, the value of the times we get down there and tell people where we're at, people are like "me too! thank you so much for saying it. Because I've been thinking it or I've been feeling it, or I've been living it."" - Aaron
Shame can keep us from fully committing to authentic friendships.
Vulnerability is an essential element to those relationships.
True friendships are found in people who don't fake it, but live it with that other person.
I pretended like I had everything together. I pretended like I didn't have any problems. I pretended like I had figured out everything. When in all sincerity, I was broken. And so if we had never went there, if you hadn't went there, if we didn't stay committed to meeting weekly and staying committed to, not lying and staying committed to being trustworthy. If we if we didn't take those steps, then I would have never known what it'd be like to be fully known and still fully loved. - Bryan
It's a long term commitment to have this kind of relationship. You never arrive at the final destination, but you continue journeying and growing together.
What's up everybody? Welcome to this episode of Let's get trying with Aaron Lee, if you had didn't know from the intro, I'm Aaron Lee. And I'm excited that you have joined us for this episode of the podcast. Now if you're new to the podcast, welcome. So glad you're here, I wanted to tell you a little bit about what this podcast is all about. It's about living real and being authentic. And what that means is that there are so many facets of life where we need to be more vulnerable, more truthful, more transparent, more real and more authentic. And so whether you're a person that deals with depression, or if you're a person just walking every day through life and wants to live a more genuine life, that's what this is all about. And what's so easy through all that is it's easy for us to just give up, it's easy for us to not be able to keep going and just want to quit. And the whole idea of let's get trying is to keep going to keep moving to keep pushing. And that comes from us living real and being authentic. So that's what this podcast is all about. So welcome to the podcast. So glad you're here. If you wouldn't mind, after you're done listening to this episode, go over to Aarontlee.com. and scroll down to the very bottom and click where you can join our newsletter, just fill that out and it'll send it in. And we'll be able to send you content and things as it comes out. So you're staying up to date with what's going on. Also, be sure to go over to our social media accounts, go over to Facebook, you can search for the page, let's get trying podcast. And you can also head over to our Instagram account, which is let's get trying. Oh, that was a lot to say. Anyway, so glad you're here. I'll also almost forgot, hit that subscribe button. And please review and rate it It means the world to me and helps out so much. And by sharing it as well, that can get the content out into other people's hands. Okay, so with all that being said, I'm excited about today's episode, I'm thrilled to have my buddy Bryan, hey, back on the podcast, we're talking about authentic relationships. And I don't know if you feel this way. But a lot of times, it seems like the relationships we have with people are just not very deep. And what authentic relationships does is it takes us to the next level, the level where we're we're walking hand in hand with people. So in this episode, Brian and I are talking about our friendship and what it means to have an authentic relationship. And this is actually going to be the part one of a two part deal where we're talking about authentic relationships. So anyway, I'm so glad you're here. I hope you're blessed by this content. And let's take a listen to the conversation we had. So what's up, Brian, thanks for being on this episode podcast. For those of you that don't know, Brian is my best friend in the world. He was actually on an earlier podcast. And I'll have him talk about that in just a minute. and kind of give us an update on some things. But man, thanks for being here. I'm excited about this episode. Yeah, dude. I mean, this is this is awesome. I've been tracked along with you, man and love love which doing so for me to jump in. This is awesome. This is fun. Yeah, man. Thanks for being here. Well, like I said, Bryan and his wife, Stephanie, have have been on the podcast before and an earlier podcast talked about the life that they've been going through with cancer. And so Bryan, you want to tell us a little bit about what's what's going on now? What's the update on things right now?
Yeah, man. Scary times. We're kind of walking through that journey. But you guys been so good to us. We are man so much more on the upswing now. Actually, believe it or not, this is October. This is the one year from when we've she was diagnosed. So we are one year out from when she first was diagnosed. And so we've been a four year journey of this thing. And man, there's so much I've learned through that but the good news is right now she is cordoned off scans she is cancer free, Amy she is on her way. She's still on some targeted drugs and still doing some treatments and things they'll kind of be ongoing to keep her protected from anything coming back. But man as of right now she is uh you know, really coming back to normal and things have kind of gotten into a new normal, which has been beautiful, man, cuz for a while we had no idea how this thing was gonna go. Yeah. But yeah, so we'll have some follow up stuff done here in the next month or two. But man, all signs are looking really really good right now. So Thanks for asking, dude.
Yeah, man, that's awesome. I know. I've been with you guys. But our podcast family hasn't been able to hear an update soon or lately. So I'm grateful that you're able to give us some, some good news. Great news. So that's, that's all from God. So yeah, man. So I'm so excited about having you on this episode of the podcast. Because when I was when I was thinking about authentic relationships, I mean, there was nobody better for me than my best friend to be on this episode and talk about this very topic with me. And and I believe that you and I have a very unique friendship that I don't know that many people have. And we'll get into the nitty gritty of that in just a second. But man, Bryan, Tell, tell our friends out there. How many lunches slash breakfast we've had and how long that's been going on, so on so forth. This is crazy man to think about. But it has been over 10 years, like it has been over 10 years. And it was over 10 years ago that we decided a man we're gonna start getting together for either lunch or breakfast every week,
right? And we have stayed consistently faithful to that, outside of like, one of us having a kid or whatever man, like. But man, like, I put it somewhat generously. I said, if we if we would make 40 out of 52 weeks, Mike, just to just for some of those that missed out for the holidays, whatever. In over 10 years, man, that's 400 breakfasts or lunches at least. And that's that's being easy. It's probably 450 probably closer to it. And dude, at an average of like, 12 or 13 bucks a meal free twice. Things are $5,000 that we spent.
Yeah. Right. And let me let me just say that we frequent chick fil a Yeah, we really should have like our own franchise. I mean, ocker Absolutely. chick fil a. So yeah, man. It's crazy. Like when you do the math and think about how much we've talked. I mean, the topics in general, Oh, my gosh, are limitless, I believe of the things we've talked about over those 10 years. It's actually kind of sad. But you know what, I I honestly, I say this. From the purest place in my heart, like you are my best friend. I look at you as a brother. Yeah. More than anything else. And why I think this topic is so important, is because I want that for other people. No doubt, man, you know, like, how many times do you you have relationships and you just don't feel like you ever get below the surface of things. And to have that to walk through things? To say things that are probably the most embarrassing things, shameful things. Yeah, that doesn't sound super fun. But to have someone walk with you through that is really, really powerful. Okay, so Brian and I are incredibly different people. We do like similar things. I was thinking about this. When, when, when I was trying to figure out how we're going to talk about things. We have similarities, we love movies and stuff like that video games, but you're a sports guy. 100% and I'm not. I played some sports. And when I say played sports, I set the bench.
And but but why is it man? Why do you think that to people who are very different? I'm an introvert. I think you're an extrovert mother. Sure. Yeah. Why is that? Why are we Why are we friends? Man? That's that is? It's a great question, dude. So because I mean, when you really break it down, the differences are beyond belief. Like my only friends through my entire life was guys. I played sports with like that. This was like that was it? Like if I was a friend with a buddy even into college? I mean, it was it that was what we had in common. Yeah, and that is what our conversations went towards. That was the level and the depth of our conversations. I mean, it was like nothing ever went past that man. And I gotta be honest, like I think that what I mean I didn't think there was when we first went to our very first lunch Do you remember this? So our was like we went
Oh, yeah, we went we went with our wives. Yes.
So we're gonna read lobster and do it's right. Oh the best That's right. We should go there for anniversaries This is the bread
you just go there you bread Yes. Okay, we're good. Yeah, anyway, good.
But so here's like so I like I'm a sales rep. It is my job at the time to go and like find something that's unique about somebody and like talk about that. And so do I give you my for full court press like I'm like, unlike so Hey, who's your favorite team? You're like, Oh, really following scenes. I was like, ah school, like, so do you like like hunting or fishing? No, no, not not, not particularly. I was like, Ah, okay. Um, so like, what do you do? He's like, I love I love Star Wars. So I was like,
he said was like, I didn't know you know anything about it like, like there was it was like two different worlds like, I left that lunch. So like, dude, I don't know if I'm ever gonna sit with this guy ever again, because it felt like on the surface, we had nothing in common, like on in general speaking, right. Like, I struck out like I got done with that. And I was like, Well, our wives hit it off. But I don't know. Oh, no, no, no. Let me stop you for a second because I let me you get to talk about me in that way. You're the guy who looks like Gumby. And
I'm like, Oh, my gosh, I'm sitting across the table from Gumby here. Let's go. No. Brian does a Gumby face. ----
Yeah, you're right. We were We were much different. I was not as into sports, as you were. Now granted, we we went to the Sugar Bowl together did in Louisville played Florida, the way that we enjoyed that. Man, you know, there's so many things about our friendship that is really powerful. Especially because we're different. Yeah, but let's go back. Let's go. Let's go back to what was the moment? What was the thing? Yeah, that you're like, Alright, let's go.
Yeah, dude, for me. We went camping. We were in a small group together. So you were a stranger didn't know you. Me early on, we go into a small group. And, and so this, this Bible study, and we're all in our 20s so we're all in our mid late 20s. Kind of in that range. All the good old days. Oh, yeah, man. No kids. It was awesome. So we went camping and not going camping camping.
out there. Yeah. Oh, poured the ring.
Yes, man. And so we're out there. And so you you bring the guys together. We're all kind of round campfire type thing. And Dude, you you did something that I had never witnessed in my life. Like, up to this point. I had never seen or experienced a man.
And well, I say you set a depth that I'd never seen. You went more honest, in more real within the struggle, that that man, like you came out while we were sitting there around a campfire and you said gas, I gotta be honest with you. I struggle with pornography and I need help man, I need I need you guys to hold me accountable and help me because I, I don't want this to be what owns me. And dude, in that moment, I was honestly, jaw dropped. never witnessed it. And I was like, This dude just went to a level that I never seen anybody go like, that was a real conversation. And you were willing to do that. And we didn't even know me that well. And you were willing to be that honest. And do that. That struck to the core with me. Because not not only that, because because I had my own battles. And so here's a guy who went a place that I would never be willing to go. And even though it was okay to go there. And so it immediately opened my eyes to now what what does that mean? Does that mean this guy can cannot actually be real this guy, because Dude, I had demons. And I had wars from my past that I was just held up in darkness and shame, and not willing to have it out loud to anybody, including my wife. I'm going, man, if this dude's willing to go there, maybe? I don't know, maybe. And so that's where it started for me. Well, when this dude's different.
Well, you know, I, we talked about that, that moment. For me. I was just being honest. Like, I I've told Brian this I more than anything, I just was miserable and lost and needed to confess to some brothers. I'd already confessed this to my wife. The day before we had talked about me going to counseling. And we get you know, I'm leading a small group, that's where we take this group of this group of husbands and wives to to go camping together and I you know, I'm, I'm just ridden with guilt over over that time. Like I'm leading these people and I'm over here struggling with this. And I remember just being like, okay, Lord is convicting me, the Holy Spirit is saying like, you just need to tell these guys like that you need prayer. Because I remember that I remember specifically like saying, guys, like I just need you to pray for me because this is where I'm at. And it's crazy to me how I had no intentionality of trying To break down a barrier with you, oh my gosh, yeah, like none. Absolutely. Last thing on my mind, I could care less about you at that. That's not true. But in, you know what I'm saying? Yeah. But for me, like, I just needed to, to be vulnerable. I just needed to confess what was going on? And yes, it was like one of the hardest things I've done. But at the same time, I'm like, it's the right thing.
But it's the man is like, I don't I still don't know if you realize how uniquely special that is. That's why there's so many people following you on this podcast, because there's not that many people willing to go there. Like, I think we're in a world where it's a little bit more, but man still like dude at the time, nobody go there. They just wouldn't do it. You wouldn't hear it from a stage you wouldn't hear from Pastor. You wouldn't hear from your dad. No, you don't hear from your brother. So you got your basketball buddies, you got your workout buddies, you got you guys get to hang out with maybe have fun with, but they don't go there. And that's rare, bro. And like, like, that's that's the reason was like a shining light and darkness. It was like, holy crap. This is real. I think that's why people are drawn to this man. I think that's why you've got something here.
Well, and you know, like, for me, it's, it's, I'm seeing more and more in my life, the value of how many times we get down there and tell people where we're at. And people are like me to like, thank you so much for saying it. Because I've been thinking it or I've been feeling it, or I've been living it. And I think you and I both know, like, we are better people today. Because we got down there, no doubt.
Like there's no, do you have any idea? What would have been if we didn't meet and do this?
I know, man.
I mean, look, I'm talking about I wouldn't have kids right now. Like because me my wife was so broken about our past that we didn't want to have kids because the brokenness that was there like, I would have still been fully caught up in addiction I would have. Like, I wouldn't, I probably would not even be a minister right now. If it was not for an authentic relationship that would allow me to work through this stuff and guide me to the counseling I needed. And and stay beside me along the way. I mean, so we're not joking. This. I mean, we like to laugh and have fun here. But man, we're talking about one of the most serious, impactful moments of my life was this friendship. And don't you? I mean, I want that for everybody.
Me, too. Everybody made to me. 100%. Let's talk about what could have went wrong? Yeah, sure. Let's think about it that way. So you kind of went there, let's go there. What could we have done? So it's, in a way, it's like, Why do people not have this in their lives now? Like, if there's someone sitting there listening to this, what are they thinking? Like, I don't have that. What is it that would have kept me in you from being where we are?
Well, let's say that it's shame. Man, I think that I was I was being burdened and carried by shame. You know, I couldn't look myself in the mirror type of shame. And and with the false assumption that if I did share this, that it would result in being made fun off, that I'd be pushed off to the side that I'd be ignored and hurt. And so what could have went wrong? Here is me just heard you say that and then just walk away and go, Well, I can't believe he did that. I'll never do that. You know, and just just letting shame on me. Yeah. And not being willing to, to go there. Like it's, it's one thing to, to, for you to have gone there. Like if you never were obedient to that sincere authentic desire for prayer and for for help. And you didn't have the strength to do that. I don't know if it's ever happened cuz I didn't have the strength man. I am no as natural as crap for you just to be honest. But for some people, man, it is so hard to be willing to let yourself be seen. Really? Like fully. And man, you did that?
Well, I will correct you. It is not always easy. Well, for me to be honest.
And and, and I say that because I live in my head more than I think more than anybody in the world but I know other people live that way. But that that goes into shame. Yeah. So So we've talked about on on this podcast, shame is the enemy of vulnerability. It's it's the thing that got replaced at the fall, man in my opinion, that's, that's what's happened. And shame is what says to you, yeah. If you if you tell someone that they're not going to like, you know, they're not going to love you, they're going to look at you different. And I, you know, I look at my own life and I say, you know, there's been times where I think I may have overshare, which I do believe you can do. But I also see the most monumental moments in my life where I physically could feel shame, like, like, just arms, bearing all around me. But I did it anyway. And that's those are the moments like we're on new like this. This is it like, this is what I was supposed to do. This is the way I was meant to live outside. Once I've done that, once I've shared that, and you know, there's so many times like we've had conversations about very, very specific things that required us to put some to put shame aside, because especially as we walk through the pornography struggle, as you get into the nitty gritty of that. People start to back up real fast. Yeah, because this is weird. This is, like, gross, this is all those things. But when you can see that, that every person that goes down, that path is hurting, and they're trying to medicate themselves, then you don't see the act itself. As any of those things, you see the sickness that that person is, is dealing with, right. And I think, by us taking care of one another because, you know, I go back to that moment. And and yeah, I shared that friendship, I think initially started strong there. Yeah. But there was times, man, when we would meet, I didn't want to do things. I didn't want to keep going to counseling, you know that I didn't, you'd have to take my computer keyboard, on a weekend that my wife was gone to make sure that I was protected. While I didn't want to do that. And it required me to push shame aside because it's easier to live in shame.
Yep. But on that same topic of what you're talking about what would have happened if we didn't do this. Like at the time, I felt like, no one really loved me. And the reason is, is that I always felt like I was a version of myself. That was a false actor. Yeah, like, because I pretended like I had everything together. I pretended like I didn't have any problems. I pretended like I had figured out everything. When in all sincerity, I was broken. And and so if we didn't never went there, if if you wouldn't went there, if I'd never went there if we didn't stay committed to meeting weekly and staying committed to, to not lying and stay committed to being trustworthy. If we if we didn't take those steps, then I would have never known what it'd be like to be fully known and still fully loved. Yeah. And even the fact that's weird that two dudes are saying that about each other right now. I know. Is this something broken with that? Like, like, there is anything in that that's broken, but we joked about all the time, like we felt like so weird sometimes. Because we go where? Like, it feels like Oh, no. Is this even like it? Can? Can you go there? And may we? We do and and look fully secured with wives? Just just be clear, clarify. Clarify. But it's real man.
Yeah. Well, and that's that's a great point. Because I think a lot of people believe the lie. And I'm just going to say it. Yeah. They believe the lie that if two guys are close, yeah. There's some sort of homosexual piece to it. That is not true. No, that is not true. I look at Jonathan and David in Scripture. And I look at the friendship that it talks about them having and I see that between you and I. And you and I are able to talk about things that would be shameful to around other people. Yes. In such a way that I hope it makes us It makes us better people to talk about them. And going back to the whole thing of people not not what what would have been different. Going back to that. Yeah. I think it took two of us to be vulnerable. Because it wasn't just me, me sharing my heart. It was also you sharing your heart, your struggles, your insecurities, all those things. So we're walking hand in hand in this. So it's not as it's not a one sided like I'm your mentor. You're doing what I tell you to do. No, you're doing that together. That is huge. Yeah, that is huge. Because that's relationship requires two people, no doubt. So for me, looking back on our friendship, looking back on what I call an authentic relationship. There, there could have been some really bad choices where I said, Hey, man, I'm too busy to meet a man. Yeah, no, I had a great week. I didn't struggle at all this week. Yeah, I would have lied to, you know, and trust me, I wanted to sir. But you knew me well enough to know. Really? Right. Like, did you never done it before? How do you do it now? Right? What's the secret man? Right. Um, but I think that's true. Yeah. And the other thing is, and I'll say that more about now, is that you and I both know, we're works in progress. No doubt. 10 years later, we're still working as hard as we did. We work at different churches, we do work in the same city, but man, we have to drive to meet each other and do different things. And,you know, I'm grateful because it says, Hey, we care about this, because it's authentic. And it's important. It's valuable.
And we had to prioritize to make that happen. Right? It was, I mean, in order to make that happen, it wasn't I was a traveling sales rep gone three nights a week at the time, right? Like, you know, so I'm not home very much anyways, but but I had to make a choice. There was times that I had to drive from far distances to get back to be able to for us to get together because in order for this thing to happen, man, it it had it took that level of commitment, trustworthiness, vulnerability, Authenticity, that truthfulness, I mean, it. This was I guess what I'm saying is that even though it's happened somewhat by accident, because you were not like thinking with intentionality there, there was a lot that happened with being intentional in terms of, of once we saw, and began to realize that the trustworthiness of the other and willing to both equally go to the depths of deeper and deeper and deeper, because that's the thing is, like, early on, it started out with you set that death was deeper than ever seen another mango, of being honest, sincere, real, but didn't that wasn't all I was there. Like we had to work and start digging deeper and deeper into understanding the why the brokenness of the past, the brokenness brought me to the point where I was like, dude, I can't there's stuff that I didn't feel like I was allowed, even could tell, you know, because I was so convinced, even you that had gone deeper than ever seen that if you really knew me, if you knew how much i'd messed up, there's no way you would still be my friend. And, and yet, here we are.
But we we both felt that way. That's true. Because you live in your head, you live in this world in your head that tells you or in that shame, yeah. And you think that because I'd be the same way, even though my circumstances were different than yours. I still in my mind, was like, Man, I'm the pastor. He's gonna, he's gonna think I'm a joke, you know? Let's hit pause. Because I want to make this a two part episode. And so I think it's good for us to kind of hit pause here. We've had some really good stuff. And then we'll come back for the next episode and kind of talk about more of this, how maybe other people can look for these kinds of relationships. Yeah. So let's do that. All right.
All right, everybody. I hope that conversation between Bryan and myself was helpful to you. We're going to continue that in our next episode, we'll talk like I said, at the end, they're a little more into how we can look for those relationships, those kind of things. I think this is a really powerful topic that many of us don't really stop and think about think about your relationships in your life right now. And ask yourself do I have authentic relationships, ones that are real ones that are vulnerable and ones that are genuine and transparent? That's what you need to be looking for in your life and I believe that it it can be a life changing thing for you it has been for Bryan and I so again, I hope this has been helpful please hit that subscribe button please jump over to Aarontlee.com to join the newsletter, also ask some questions by clicking the podcast tab. You can click that and click Ask me anything. I'll be doing some segments later on where you can ask a question and I will answer it on a podcast episode. But anyway, as always, I love you guys. Live real be authentic. And let's get tryin.'