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If you've ever watched the movie "Anne of Green Gables" I'm sure you're familiar with what a "kindred spirit" is. And even if you haven't, you've probably still heard the term before. A "kindred spirit" is basically a fancy name for someone you "click" with. At some point, we all get a feel for what that type of connection is like, even if we don't experience it ourselves. That “click” doesn't necessarily mean you have everything in common, but there is a sense of ease and understanding. When we embrace those connections healthily, we give and receive selfless love, no matter what kind of relationship.
I believe God leads us to specific people for a reason, yet, it's also about our effort. It's a beautiful thing to have people in our lives with whom we can feel comfortable sharing our thoughts and feelings - the people who often know before we even tell them. But the struggle is finding these people, and once we do, we tend to reserve all our energy for them and are less open to reaching out to others. To grow in our relationships and reap new ones, we need to understand why and how we are more genuine with certain people.
There are a few friendships in my life where it simply feels right. With those people, I am just me, and I rarely tire of their presence. And I've had other friendships that I enjoyed, but they required a lot more energy for some reason. What makes the difference? For one, we are all created with unique personalities, and our attitudes and interests flow well with those that complement ours. We also relate to people with similar life experiences, even if the similarities are obscure. There is truth to the soul connection factor (the Bible even mentions it), but our choices are the key to its flourishing. When we meet someone we feel comfortable around, we choose to put in more effort. When we give and receive respect, we develop closeness. We all seek to be seen, and the more seen we feel, the more we want to reciprocate. Even "kindred spirits" can become distant if they lose intention in character. It's not about the “click;” it's about the actions we take to build trust.
No one likes to be in a room full of people and feel out of place. We often find ourselves in that position because the other people already know each other, and we are only starting to investigate. Or we are in one of those cliques, and we think that new person won't get us like our comrades do. And the thing is, we're right. As adults, it's rare to forge new connections that match relationships we've had for years. One reason is that when we're young, we're all vulnerable, and our friends face the world with us. That shared background is irreplaceable, and it's easy to succumb to the idea that if you don't have that, then you've missed your chance. Once we reach the full-on adulting stage, we are more defensive and benefit-minded toward new people. We are resistant to vulnerability with anyone and anything unfamiliar. Yet, that vulnerability is where we find the "click." So whether you're longing for intimate friendships, looking for a potential spouse, or want to reach people outside of your normal social circle, you can start by opening yourself up to unexpected common ground. It's a lot easier said than done, and it doesn't mean you need to completely wear your heart on your sleeve. It does mean letting down your guard more than you’re accustomed to and looking past the guards others put up. Just because we don’t feel immediate ease with someone, that shouldn’t mean we toss that potential connection. When it feels natural, we may not even realize the steps we've taken, but we need to reflect on those steps to see how we can give more.
Our role on this earth is to continuously connect with people. The more we learn about how we work, the more we can use wisdom to build each other up.
Looking to meet people and find encouragement? We have groups for whatever stage of life you’re in.
Written Content Coordinator at Sun Valley Community Church. An avid writer since the age of 5, who loves to explore new ideas and places. Inspired by Jesus, books, and travel.