Building authentic friendships through relationship with God, transparency, accountability


A relationship with God must first be cultivated in order to have true friendships said the chief operating officer and director of development for Dirty Vagabond Ministries in her speech “How to Build Authentic Friendships in College” presented Sept. 27 in the Gentile Gallery.

“We each have a need to be truly known,” said Karen Reynolds.

Reynolds expressed that “real relationships are messy and dramatic,” and in order to properly navigate them, one needs to first develop a relationship with God.

“God can handle whatever you have in your heart,” said Reynolds. “From knowing God, you come to know yourself, and only then can you have authentic friendships.”

Three practical tips Reynolds offered included investing in one’s relationship with God through time, consistency and honesty.

Reynolds noted that transparency is an essential element toward building authentic relationships though expressing transparency is something people are not called to have with everyone. Reynolds defined the term as “exposing our hearts to a few people who know us deeply.”

Senior Ashley Dudas offered advice for those struggling to find relationships.

“It’s important to be patient,” she said. “Sometimes you have to keep waiting for those special people to come into your life.”

Regarding the deepening of friendships that are already established, sophomore Lexy Gilcrest said that “talking about the things you love bonds you with a person.”

Reynolds described excessive use of social media as a hindrance toward transparency.

“We see the highlights of a person’s life,” she said. “Comparing that to our own brokenness can cause problems when trying to form honest relationships.”

Accountability was also discussed as an ingredient toward true friendships.

“Accountability is different from judgment because there’s love involved,” said Reynolds. “We are lovingly coming to someone and seeing what’s pulling them away from Jesus.”

Reynolds challenged students to hope in God’s plans for them.

“God is passionately and madly in love with you,” she said. “You have to believe he wants to give you good things.”

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