In part 2 of our episodes on Authentic Relationships, Bryan and I discuss what to look for and how to grow your relationships deeper. This is the friendships you need in your life and the powerful truth is that God didn't intend for you to feel alone, but to have vulnerable, transparent and authentic relationships. These relationships will help you battle your darkest times and also celebrate your victories.
Find part 1 here.
1. Authentic Relationships Have a Common Goal
A common goal draws you and that other person together. For Bryan and I, it was the goal of trying to be the men that God had created us to be. Because that's what we both valued, it allowed us to have something deeper than a basic friendship.
"You may be a person who who values real honest talk about the culture of things right now. And there may be someone in your life that you have healthy conversations with about it. That could be an indicator of someone that you could invest in and have more authentic relationship with because you value the same thing." - Aaron
2. Authentic Relationships Push Through the Tension
Relationships are not easy, but it takes a little tension to grow them deeper. It may be sharing something awkward, it may be asking a hard question or it may be a little conflict, but when you're committed to the relationship, you'll push through and find a powerfully stronger authenticity.
"There's gonna be tension. And I don't want to paint this picture that this is super easy to find, or this is super easy to do. Because, you know, it's, it's like, before you reach that next level, you got to break through and there's tension there. So you're going to ask a question, or you're going to give a response that's going to feel really uncomfortable. But by doing that, you're opening a new door, breaking through to that new layer that gets you to a deeper level. And man, that's where the gold is." - Aaron
3. Authentic Relationships Ignores the Standards of the World
The world is going to tell us not to be genuine or vulnerable. The world is going to tell us to compare our lives to those high powered social media personalities, but authentic relationships are rooted in that at all. Authentic relationships live life with flaws on display, they journey together, they eat together, they cry together. Culture shouldn't influence us, but our relationships should influence culture.
"Culture is telling you, this is what it means to be successful. This is what it means to be who you were meant to be. This is what it means to achieve your goal. And what we're saying is, there's a whole other side of this thing to actually become who God designed you to be. Whether you want to go Genesis or talk about john 17, Jesus prayed for unity, where you talk about the way in which Jesus literally spent every day with a group of dudes doing life together. I mean, think about that. I mean, he was setting a cultural tone that says, hey, you walk with me, we're sleeping under the same roof, we are walking on the same streets. We are around each other constantly. And these guys loved each other man, they ate together, they bled together, they cried together, if there was ever a model for authentic relationship this is it." - Bryan
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Yo, yo, yo, what is up podcast family. I'm Aaron. And this is a new episode of Let's get Tryon with Aaron Lee. This is a podcast all about not giving up. But in turn living a real and authentic life, no matter whether you're dealing with depression, or if you just want to have more genuine relationships in life. That's what this podcast is all about. And this is part two of our authentic relationship episodes. Actually, it's, you need this kind of friendship part two, and I've got my buddy Brian. Hey, back with me on this episode, we talk more about how we find these authentic relationships, how we live out these authentic relationships. And sometimes it takes a little tension to get there. And that's okay. Well, before we jump into our interview together our discussion together, be sure to click that subscribe button, be sure to share it on your social media. And please, please, please join our newsletter, go over to aarontlee.com and scroll down to the bottom and just fill out the form there and you will start getting emails from us over here. And you'll just stay up to date with what's going on. Hey, I just I just want to say thank you, I want to say thank you to all of you who are making this podcast happen, who are believing in this life that is rooted in authentic living in being vulnerable and being genuine. And that's a really hard thing. So I commend you, I commend those of you out there who are willing to do this because we all need to live this way. We all need one another in this because the world is kind of telling us No, that's not what you need to do. You need to be like this person or you need to be like this person. And that's not authentic. That's not real, that's not vulnerable. So in this episode, we're going to dig down into how how to have some authentic relationships. And let's get to it.
All right, so Bryan's back for our second part of this episode on authentic relationships, man, thanks for being here. Yeah, I really enjoyed our discussion earlier about just what our relationship has meant, and how we're different people because of it. And we really want to focus, and we want to talk about all that. But we really want to focus this this time around how can we? How can we encourage our friends out there those people who were journeying with? How do we how do we all find that? How do we find those people who are authentic and get those authentic relationships or pull that out of one another? Yeah, so like, you know, one of the things that we've kind of identified is that, man, there, probably people at different levels of this. So there may be some of you out there who are listening, who you just have no relationships with people you feel like you trust, or people you feel like you're connected to in a way that you can be authentic with them. Now, there may be the next level, you may have those people that you can be authentic with, in certain things are vulnerable with and in a few things, but not everything. And then there may be those of you who are like me and Bryan who have been journeying together and walking through that, but the thing is, is it's not over. And we still have to keep working towards that. So Bryan, like, as we were talking before we started, man, why is it you think this is most important for people to be able to find that or to be able to, to have that in their lives,
you know, probably one of the most interesting battles for any of us is, is finding you know, somebody to do life with, you know, you think about on the, for us to find our spouses, you know, that like the journey to find your spouse, and there's people all over the place that are trying to find that and in a different way. But in a similar way, in this way. We were trying to find authentic relationship and somebody that we can actually do life and, and go to depths and work through things and and be partners in this thing. And, you know, I know that there were some things that we we didn't know at the time, but we had that at the very common core of us was aligned with and that we had a we identified a as different as we are and work. We had a common goal, you know, to two guys that we're really trying to figure out how to become that the men that we knew God created us to be. Yeah. So we had it we had identified we had enough a relationship by that point in time to realize they like even in just your common friendships that you there's some because here's the thing is we had other guys that we were friends with at the time. Yeah, like we were all kind of in a similar level some a little bit deeper, some lot not so much. Yeah. But there was something that, that between me and you of those other friends that were among us that I think had had, you know, kind of pinged on the radar that said, Ari, this is where we're gonna invest our time and take this chance to go after this thing. And so if you remember, man, it was one of the things that you had shared that depth. And when you did, I gravitated towards it while others didn't know.
you know, so So I think there was something there that this is that there was some identifying factors that said, Man, this, this guy is, you know, that old acronym faithful available, teachable, and that that whole thing? Yeah, is somewhat corny. But But, but I think that the the reality of there was an availability, there was a faithfulness. And there was a willingness, you know, teachables, maybe not the right word, but there was a, a willingness to go alongside one another, yeah, fight and fight together. And I think that, that, when you find that as somebody, and you identify somebody that is like sincerely pursuing that, and they are available, and you can tell they're faithful to it, and and they're, they're willing to take it. And you know, you start diving into that investing into that. And like I said, before, you start realizing, as you start chipping away and going to more depth, that the person is being drawn towards you versus away. And I think that really spoke something to me that I think other people can identify and look for.
you know, that's, that's good. As you're talking, I was thinking about you remember, we went on a trip with a bunch of guys one time. And you and I rode together. And on the way back, we talked about, and this is no knock on anybody else. It was just we we yearned for that trip, to be deeper. Yes, we thought, as we went into it, that we were going to talk about some really deep spiritual things that we were going to be invested in some, some really authentic communication with one another. And it was all fun and play surface level
classic, like what the majority of what you would expect.
Exactly. And, and again, no knock on anybody else. It was just what mean, you were like being pulled to. And I think that that said to, to us, even more just kind of validates what we're talking about here, you're we're drawn together in that way. Because that's what we're yearning for. It's what we value, we both valued that. And it made us want that more. Two, we had this relationship coming into it. And so we had expectations of this. Now I say that because as I as I think about this, I think there's people that that you're probably connecting with other people that we connect with, that you see value, the same thing as you. And when you guys value the same things. And let me clarify, this is not just men, this is men and women. That's right. And so I'm just saying, in general, there are things that you you may value like, for me, being a pastor, I value people and discipleship and those kind of things. So Bryan, and I, obviously, because we're both pastors, both value that we're gonna drift towards each other in that way, we both appreciate good movies. So we both drift in that way something we value, but you may be a person who who values just real honest talk about the culture of things right now. And there may be someone in your life that that has, that you have healthy conversations with. That could be an indicator of someone that could be that you could invest in and have more authentic relationship with because you value the same thing. I don't know if that makes sense.
What about your last one of your last podcasts of how are you really? All right, like the one that asks that question. Yeah, you know, and in some ways, being willing to take the chance to take that step to make that like, I always say, to set the depth, like, in some ways. So if you're listening to this, and you're like, man, I want this. And you've identified a little bit of what we're talking about, you see somebody that's kind of shown some interest in this, and you go to coffee, go to lunch, invite him over. And then you start talking about these things. And you start you start asking that next level question of, no, I didn't, I wasn't saying Hey, how you doing? I'm like, dude, how are you really doing right? Like going to that next level where you're gonna go, man, let's, let's cut through the surface level stuff. Let's go one step lower. Right. And and then when you find that person that accepts that goes there with you. Yeah. Then you can go. Well, let's go one more step. And it's just the This consistent flow of where you're building trust with one another because it is a journey, it's not as a marathon, not a sprint. Right. So it's this journey of you're walking with somebody, you're asking that next level question, and the next level question. And then you know, you're sincerely, authentically caring and not being selfish in that, yeah, but you have to be caring about the other person and what we're saying you can't be walking in this, I just want to have somebody that cares about my feelings and my stuff. Yeah, you have to honestly care about what you're asking them and listen to them. And you said, you've, you've touched on both listening and asking that deeper question in the last couple of podcasts, which is right in this line?
Well, and and to I think there's, there's another side of this, that allows us to be able to say, there's gonna be tension. And, you know, I don't want to paint this picture that this is super easy to find, or this is super easy to do. Because, you know, it's, it's like, before you reach that next level, you got to break through. Yeah. And there's tension there. Yeah. Right. And so you're going to ask a question, or you're going to give a response, that's going to feel really uncomfortable. Yeah. But by doing that, you're opening a new door, breaking through that new to that new layer that gets you to a deeper level. And man, like, that's where the gold is. Yep. You know what I mean, like, and, and I think we can even say that in our friendship over the last 10 years, there's those little breakthrough layers. that got us to the next level, whether it was sharing something else from our past, whether it was a we've had conflict in our we fought before, we've we've had tension, and but you know what, I think some of that tension caused us to be better friends. Absolutely. And so what I'm saying is, I think for those people who are working their way down, there's gonna be resistance, there's going to be tension, but if you're both there together if, and maybe the other person isn't even there yet, but that question, or that thing you share might take you both to the next level. So okay, that that hits with someone that has a maybe has someone in their life that can that maybe is a candidate for us a terrible term in 2020. And, um, but so what about what about somebody that's out there and just feels very alone just feels completely alone? Don't feel doesn't feel like they have any true friends? Because I know there are people who feel that way. Yeah, man, what, what encouragement Can we give them and give one another? When, when we're struggling with that.
you know, to go after this or to have not gone after this. I imagine most of the people out there listening right now has been wounded or hurt. Yeah. Either by your family or, you know, people that you grew up with, or you know, the way high school went for you. And, and you have set in your mind a thought process that has been a habitual pain cycle that if you let people in and they hurt you. And so I think there's a lot of, you know, in small ways, in big ways, people that have been like me, because the reality is, is that those you love the most can hurt you the most. Oh, absolutely. And so there is a risk here that I think for a lot of people who are feeling lonely and away that they're going man, I it may be in part because you've tried and and you know, you've been awkward or you fall over yourself or you've ran into the wrong people and because here's the thing, reality is both me and you have have tried to have authentic relationships with other people. Yeah. And, and, and it has not worked. Sometimes...
I need to stop comparing them to you, Byran.
Yes, right. Don't do that... no, man, but we have because there's some people that weren't ready. Yeah, they weren't there in their life where they've got other wounds and backgrounds. Everybody wants this. Oh, yeah, but they're just maybe not ready for it. Or they've got other things in their life that's breaking it and so that that that's the side of try again. Yeah. And then the other side of this that I would go at it is be careful where you're looking for it. You know, it's kind of like trying to find a spouse in an environment in an area that you don't really want to live in. So I always joke like you know, my my Christian friends that go and find a spouse that's maybe actively engaged in sinful activity we'll just leave it general Oh, yeah. Yeah. And it's like Alright, I'm gonna found my spot find my spouse there and maybe I can influence was like man if you do that you're going to find them in a rough spot. Maybe look for them and places that there so for us we're looking at the church and and the encouragement there was, you go to church for God, you want to know about him. You want to know about more about you. You want to praise and worship and you want to maybe you're just intrigued by God, you want to know more about it. But the other side of it is man. Church is the assembly. It's the gathering and gathering of people with a common core desire, which should be in the path of more direction than perfection. They're going to head towards God. Yeah. And so some of that is commonalities that man, if you're out there and you're going, Man, I'm at least trying to figure out how to follow God, you find other people that are authentically sincere towards that path. And part of that path is going to be in relationship with one another.
Yeah, yeah, what I look back at. So we started in a life group together, right? So for those of you know, it's a small group, whatever you call it, you know, lots of people call them different things. But you know, as a, we were all in same the same life circumstances, which I think is hugely important. I believe that I do believe that you can be in groups with people of multiple ages, different age groups, and that is great. But I think what was great for us is we were at a place we didn't have kids at the time. And we were able to journey in a way that we couldn't do it when we had kids. Now, what we learned is how valuable it was. So now that we have kids, we've made it a priority. Yep. So it's a little harder as you get older, I do think especially as you get much older, I would imagine that it's harder to find people to be authentic and honest. And vulnerable, really vulnerable is the word, I think for sure. Because we get older, we know more, we're wiser, maybe. And I think that's true. So I you know, for me, if you're a believer, start there. Now, start there, finding a group of people you can get with, and then look for those commonalities, like we were talking about. And then and then push through the awkwardness, push through the the tension that we were talking about a minute ago, as well. I would say, for someone who feels alone, I, I really have a heart for those people. Because as someone that deals with depression, I have seasons where I feel very alone, even though I have you, even though I have Jerrica. And my boys and I have many other, you know, people in my life that love me, and I'm grateful for. But there's something that happens in all of us when we deal with that where you just feel like nobody really cares. Like, and and I'm imagining those people who are listening, thinking Well, yeah, that sounds great. Must be nice. Right? Um, and I would say, like, there's the cliche answer, well, you have the Lord that you can go to. But also I would, I would say like, the Lord doesn't want you to be alone. Like, that's what Genesis tells us is God. God didn't want us he said, it was not good for us to be alone. And so it by that very comment that God made, he has someone for you. Right? You just have to maybe take off the glasses to see what things really look like. And to know, maybe there is someone right in front of you. It could be your mom, it could be your sibling, it could be your neighbor, it could be the person that you met at a Bible study. It could be any of those things. But to say that you're meant to be alone is not a true statement. Yep. God has someone for you. Absolutely. So let's turn this just a little bit to culture. Right? I want to I want to kind of think about culture for a second. Because culture is telling us something about and I think it's why a lot of people don't have authentic relationships. What would you say? culture? How culture influences this?
Yeah, man. Well, we we joked about last time about two men relationships. Yep, that is very, very deep. Now, I think the same thing is true, and actually maybe even more now than ever for two women. Yeah. Because even now, you know, my, my wife has made comments like, you know, back in the day, like two girls could hold hands or put on an arm and walk down the hallway was no big deal. But now, that means and signifies something different. So our culture is kind of going all over the place on these things. But, you know, to talk from the men out there for a second, because I think that this is, I think, you know, within the wiring of men, and even maybe even the culture of what we grew up with, because I think the culture for us here in America as well is, you know, if you were to define manliness, if that was your defining of culture said this is what a man is, you could go to movies, you could go to shows, you mean you just go to any reference of who is mean you go to the person that has the most followers and likes on social media are they someone who you would describe as someone who is intimately, deeply vulnerable and available to walk with a brother through life. Is that what you see? It's me No, man, right? No, you, you look at that. And you go, man, that is not what they look like, that's not as what is portrayed as authentic masculinity. No, that's not so. So culture is telling you, this is what it means to be successful. This is what it means to be who you were meant to be. This is what it means to be set to achieve your goal. And what we're saying is, there's a whole other side of this thing that actually become who God designed you to be. And and there, and like you said, whether you want to go Genesis and talk about john 17, or Jesus prayed for unity, where you talk about the way in which Jesus literally spent every day with a group of dudes doing life together. I mean, think about that. I mean, he he was setting a cultural tone that says, hey, you walk with me, we're sleeping under the same roof, we are walking on the same streets We are, we are in around each other constantly. And these guys love each other man, they ate together, they, they, you know, bled together, they cried together these, if there was ever a model for authentic relationship, you can just go back to Jesus even
Oh Yeah, I firmly believe in that. And I talked about this in one of the earlier episodes about Jesus's authenticity in the garden of Gethsemane, he comes to his closest friends and says, I am grieved. I am overwhelmed to the point of death. Pray for me. Yeah. You know, and that's man, that's a big deal. Yeah. Because he's showing us exactly how to live how to be vulnerable, but authentically showing us what he what's important to him, and then asking for them to join him in that. I think you're exactly right. Men and culture today, our fathers generations saw a lot of you don't talk about emotions, those kind of things, like you're saying. But even now days, I think there's some parts of men that we can't be masculine. The way God intended it to be. I will say, like, for anybody, men or women, look at social media, I use social media all the time. In describing this, yeah, social media creates a false view of the world. It shows you the most beautiful people, it shows you the most beautiful scenery, it shows you the post picture. So you know, you can you can only see one dimension of, of what is being shared with you. So in that reality, it's it's not authentic, it's not real, it's not vulnerable. And so people see that, and they think they have to achieve that, too. Yeah. Like, how many pictures Do you see? of people's houses? When they're taking a selfie somewhere in their house? Do you see a pile of clothes in the back? Or naked kid running through the house? You know, peeing everywhere? Or? Or? I mean, you came through our house like, yeah, we're live. We're a lived in house. And we're okay with that. Yeah. But I think culture tells us, you have to have a clean house, you have to, you have to have a clean car, you have to have cut grass, you have to wear the nicest clothes, you you have to look like you're happy. Mm hmm. And that tells people you can't be real, you can't be authentic. and that in turn, works against this authentic relationship thing.
That's a great point, man. Because it whether or not it's intentionally saying it or just just saying it on a superficial level, it is absolutely saying you cannot show your brokenness. You know you because that's things like, I love it. Because even the nicest homes I've been into you walk in their garage, and you're like, Oh, you know, it's so me. Everybody's got it. But no one's it's still such a, even though there's a false sense in which the culture is now more open and willing to accept people and, you know, it tries to portray that, hey, we're more of a welcoming society and that type of thing. The truth is still it is because of social media and other things like it. There's still an absolute, swimming upstream, to really feel like it's okay. To not be perfect. And dude, I'll even say this.Even in our churches.
That is so true. Yeah, that is so true.
I mean, isn't that crazy? Like the the place in which we should feel the most? Okay, with not being okay.
Yeah, thanks for going there. Because that's so true.
And that's the thing, sometimes I think as ministers like, we can't get like, like, I'm telling you like, and even as pastors like we feel like, do it. There's a sense In which can you really be real? Even in that environment. And man, to me that that is a terrible shame that we have even allowed culture or we've been the culture, whatever it may be that the to wear that is not okay that you want people to come in still thinking that you have to have everything figured out. And rather than coming in and being as real, as authentic, as vulnerable as you could possibly be, to be fully known, and still fully loved in that mess.
So at our campus, our Southeast Campus that I work at, we've, since we've came back from quarantine and had church, yeah, we've, we've had a bunch of people come in from a halfway house. Mm hmm. And literally the last six weeks, there has been at least one get baptized every single week, man. And the most powerful thing is, is that one of them gets up there and says they've been sober for 60 days, or 30 days. And those of us who are church kids or grew up in the church, we're like, oh, really, like just 30 days, you know? And, and but they're living in this authentic real life of, Hey, you know what, I don't have to be perfect. Yeah, to follow Jesus. Clearly, none of us are. The disciples weren't. And man, I look, there's three rows of them now, oh, man, because they keep telling each other about how God is changing their lives. And yes, some of them have been sober for a longer period of time. But they have this excitement about the Lord. And they're okay sharing with what, what they're walking through. And I believe that authentic relationships are happening at that halfway house, no doubt. They go back, they talk to their friends about how their lives are being changed. Hmm. And they're talking about the crap they've went through. Yeah, man. And they're different because of it. And that, to me, is the way we should live. That, to me is what the church should be like, you're exactly right. For far too long. We have we've hidden ourselves. And the church has done has been part of that said, You know what, you can't share that. That's weird. Yeah, that's uncomfortable. I don't I don't I think that's changing. I do believe that, that that's changing. But it's going to take those of us who believe in it.
Yeah, not only not only leadership, but all of us like, Hmm, I mean, we got to walk in with different set of us and and you know, that the whole beauty of this conversation is man, when you start walking in looking for authenticity, and vulnerability, as a good quality, Oh, absolutely. You know, and you're searching out that, that that makes you see things a little differently. That's where you see the beauty and those folks coming in? Because if I'm honest, we all are messed up like can't Can we just be honest about that, like all of us, we may not be in a halfway house, but we have areas of our life that could really use the help of those and a halfway house like, we all need counseling, we all need forgiveness we all need. We've got addictions, even if they're not massive ones to opioids, or pornography or whatever it may be. But we've habits in our life that is unhealthy habits that's stopping us from who we need to be. Yeah. And right now, it's hidden shame and secrecy. It's never brought to light because you feel like you can't and and in order to get there and expose the light is the whole reason why God decided to bring us all together in assembly. I mean, it's his idea. He said, You guys need to get together. And if you do this right, then the world will know that I came out love you came to bat for you. Like if we do that, right. And that's, I guess that's our my biggest goal man is not only does it help you from a personal standpoint of man, really knowing who was like to be fully known and fully loved. Not only is it a beautiful, selfless activity to helping someone realize that they can be loved despite themselves. But it's also a way that we can glorify God because we're actually showing that hey, you know, you wait for you for gift us and you know, authentically the mess that we are, and you still loved us and forgive us that we can actually be what God's calling us to be.
No, yeah, man. That's so so good. Well, man, that's actually I want to I want to wrap on that. I think that is that is really good. One final thing before we go, what, let's maybe just finish the sentence. authentic relationships, do this
authentic relationships do to your soul, with no other false fake broken promise of this world would be able to deliver.
That's great. Bryan, to the 10 years. And hopefully, how old are we now? Uh, anytime at least add more, right?
Yeah. I like that. optimistic.
Yeah. Awesome. I need to eat Better or i'm not going to make it. That's good point. Start eating some healthy. Well, man, thanks so much for being here. Yeah, this has been awesome.
Yeah, love it dude. Love is what you're doing.
Well, I hope you found this episode helpful to you, I hope that it was encouraging to you and it, it helps you see that you can have authentic relationships. I know Bryan and I both believe that you can have this we we believe that it is something you need in your life. And it is possible God doesn't want you to be alone. He wants you to have opportunities to to be deep and real and vulnerable with people because that's the way He created you to be. Don't let the world tell you that you can't have this because you can. You just got to look and you got to pray and you got to seek it out. I believe with my whole heart that God's gonna lead you to that person who will hear your cries for help, who will laugh with you who will cry with you and who will journey with you. Alright, so if you found this episode helpful, please hit that subscribe button, share it on your social media account. Be sure to review it on whatever platform you're consuming the podcast that really helps get the word out about the podcast and shows people Hey, this thing isn't that bad. Go check it out. And also head over to aarontlee.com. Scroll down to the bottom do the newsletter deal. You can also find the show notes up at the podcast tab. And as always, I love you guys. Go Live real be authentic and let's get tryin.