"To have a good friend, you must be one." For years I've fallen into the trap that I don't have time to invest in close friendships. Great friendships take lots of time, patience and doing things together. Between family, home, church and community commitments, I just don't have the time to put in for a friendship, so I learned to 'wing it' with only a few close friends.
Lately, I've learned about 'connections". It started with my friend Pam. When I was considering homeschooling my son, I visited Pam's home to see how she set up her home school. "You can do this", she assured me. I began it and found out that I can do it! Through the years, our home school connection brought about a wonderful friendship. Her continual "You can do this", has stretched me and encouraged me in so many areas I never would have ventured without her encouragement.
There are many other 'connections' I've found that are a huge blessing to me. These connections are found in many places:
- Home school Co-op - where we share that desire to home school our children and freely share the ups, downs, trials and victories of our days at home.
- Run Club - my first visit when my running coach asked how far I could run, I gave a 'safe' answer. She encouraged me to go further. She assured me I was ready for a 5K, she constantly tells me that I'm doing good. I follow and believe because she says such good things...then to my surprise...reach the goals!
- Church ministry - there is something so special about sharing a vision for service with others. Planning activities, making meals or even washing church windows together bring about some great connections.
- At the ball field - I love sitting on the side lines of a ball field with other parents for the sole purpose of cheering our children on. Soon it becomes 'all the children' not just our own we are rooting for!
I've also found 5 minute connections that have blessed and helped me. Little things like crying on a friend's shoulder, sharing things with a friend who has lost her mother that only she would understand. Taking a quick walk and talking about how the Holy Spirit is working in our lives (the good, the bad and the ugly!!) So, when a friend and I were emailing and she said "we need some girl time", I knew exactly what she meant! We needed to connect!
Connecting is simply finding something in common and building on it. These moments of connection are powerful and enriching. They don't take hours of getting together, they don't vainly use up valuable time doing worthless things, they are potent, powerful packages of blessings!
Some biblical guidelines for sharing together are found in God's Word.
Be Willing to Share: "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect," I Peter 3:15 Our openness often gives the invitation for connections.
Be a Comforter: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." II Corinthians 1:3 In our own troubles and trials we made it through by God's grace and comfort. What a gift to share with others.
Speak Power and Life: "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers." Ephesians 4:29 Never underestimate the power of encouragement!
Although the days of leisurely enjoying sitting on the porch with friends are becoming sparse, we can still find (and make) time for those vital relationships which keep us connected. Will you look for some 'connections' this week?