My People (part two)
by Becka Burke
August 8, 2018
A few months ago, I wrote about the importance of community, the value of crossing paths and making the unfamiliar close. (Check out that post here.) Today let’s continue that conversation, and take it a step deeper. A part two, if you will.
Something I find completely fascinating is that study after study, statistic after statistic, professional after professional will tell you that we are absolutely created for connection. We want to be connected to something, to someone. In a secular setting you might hear people relating to organizations, pets or even a hobby as if it’s the most important thing in their life. It probably is.
For someone who believes in Jesus and the redeeming work He does in our life, we usually find that connection in people and in God Himself. Finding this type of community can have so many levels of depth, but what creates intimacy on the deeper levels? What moves a hi-and-bye at church to a text mid-week asking to go to lunch? I have so many wonderful people in my life who have shown me what a good friend is, what a good community member is. I thought I would put together a little list (because if you know me, you know I love and live by the list.)
Solid friendships are not made overnight and are not instant. So be patient with yourself and with your new friend. That being said, here are a few things I have gleaned about those who are really good friends to me.
- Follow up. Friends who follow up are intentionally staying in your life. They want to stay involved. They want to stay a part of the conversation of your life. They ask how that doctor appointment went, they schedule lunch, they check on your sick kid. Don’t wait for someone else to do this. Listen to what your friend is saying and follow up. Can you think of a time when someone has done this with you? Didn’t it feel wonderful to have someone remember your schedule and think to check in on you?
- Be vulnerable. I was talking with a newer friend of mine recently and she was saying how her small group was everything to her. They had carried her through the thick and thin as only God’s people can. I asked her what made them so close and she said matter of factly that it was being vulnerable and honest with the really hard things in her life. But this is scary. This is difficult. I speak from experience. I would encourage you to share parts of yourself, even over time, with your friend to create a space of honesty. On the converse, when you have someone share with you, look at #1 . . . follow up. Instead of leaving them hanging, send a text or a note telling them you are thankful they shared themselves with you.
- Be available/show up. I think if you are wanting connection and friendship, you have to make room for it in your life. Friendship is not defined by going to MOPS from 9-11:30 every other week. It is not having a breakfast date on the first Friday of the month. Those are building blocks of relationship and are so important, but it does not end there. It is the little minutes in between drop offs or pick ups. It’s running to Target together or dropping off hand-me-down clothes and chatting for twenty minutes instead. Friendship does not come in perfect time blocks and calendar appointments.
If this is something you are working on, or feel like you have a need for in your life, I would encourage you to give this to Jesus. Tell Him you are working on being a good friend and need good friends too. He will empower you with these skills and provide. Maybe not always how or when we are thinking but He does.
What is a way that someone has shown you quality friendship? Share in the comments; we would love to hear how others are doing life and blessing one another.
Becka Burke is an active member in her school community, helps with MOPS, loves holding babies and the craft of good coffee.