Finding Freedom in Friendship
It was over lunch. My friend and colleague calmly pointed out “I don’t maintain relationships with anyone I can’t go deep with. I’m not interested in talking about fashion, the latest movies, or reality TV shows. I want friends with whom I can share the real stuff that’s going on inside – friends I can be transparent with.”
Important Well-Being Fact: Those of us who are socially connected with quality relationships – you know, with people we’d feel comfortable calling if we needed help – are whole-person healthier – body, soul, and spirit.
I was slightly taken aback by her matter-of-fact wisdom… mainly because I’d never really thought about how I ‘spent’ my friend-time. It certainly resonated and her comment has stuck with me years later.
Even during the externally-imposed slower pace that COVID has brought to most of our lives, it (friend-time management) warrants consideration. Especially if we’re on a mission to deepen our relationship experience with the One who longs to be our best friend.
So… I offer up a few thoughts about using our friend-time intentionally and, in so doing, honouring Him and cultivating strong relationships.
- Time- ‘Tithing’ – I’m convinced that when I give Jesus the first part of my day by pausing to say “good morning”, “I love you God!”, “what should we do today?”; “who would you like me to reach out to?” or, by reading the Bible – then, the day seems to go smoother; I’m more productive, less stressed, and more fulfilled at day’s end.
- Notice Nudges – have you ever had the name of a friend drop into your mind while busy doing something unrelated? I have come to realize these ‘nudges’ are, more often than not, messages that it is time to give that friend a call. Bonus: when we respond obediently to these nudges, God will reward us by being even more clear with the gifts He is giving us.
- Prioritizing by Prayer – Jesus knows those in our circle that need frequent, regular, and only sporadic connecting. There was a time when I regularly felt guilty because I wasn’t being more communicative with friends and family members – even adding the self-imposed moniker of being a ‘bad’ person for not reaching out more. Since I’ve been more frequently relying on Jesus to “order my steps” (i.e., by helping me schedule my time), I experience way more peace.
“Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:29-30 The Message