Inviting Friendship: Part 2

Feeling Uncomfortable

Eating out alone is uncomfortable for me. I feel awkward, as if I don’t know where to look other than my food. I don’t want to people watch that seems rude, though people fascinate me. I usually have a book to read when I’m travelling and will bury my head in its pages at airport restaurants. I rarely eat out alone when home.

Gathering with family or friends around a table, whether at home or at a restaurant for a meal is more than nourishment for our bodies. It’s nourishment for our wellbeing. Interaction with others in a safe and friendly atmosphere brings us a sense of belonging, a sense of caring about each other, it helps us to bond. It helps friendship to blossom and grow.

We see the same thing in churches every weekend before the meeting starts, people sitting with heads buried in their phones or the church bulletin avoiding eye contact. Not because they don’t want to be friendly, rather because they feel uncomfortable being there alone or unknown.

Some arrive late on purpose to avoid the awkwardness of not knowing anyone, yet wanting to be there, and they promptly leave when the service have ended. Another week has gone by and they are no nearer to making friends with their fellow believers than they were when they first started attending. They come to visit the family and go away feeling ignored.

Inviting Friendship

When we invite people into our homes we want them to feel welcomed and comfortable. We want them to feel at home, we want them to know it’s okay to lose the shoes and get comfy on the sofa. We want them to feel safe, relaxed and know they are with family. We want them to interact with the family as family, not sit with their heads buried in a book or phone feeling disconnected.

When I first attended the church I’m planted in, there was about 150 people at that particular campus. It was easy for them to notice that my husband and I were new there. Those sitting around us welcomed us with genuine warmth and each week we got to know more and more people. The church has grown over the last fifteen years into what some call a mega church.

Friendship begins with an invitation; invite someone to be a friend by being a friend.

When you attend a large church you are not going to know everybody, you are not going be able to invite everybody out for coffee. So how do we make friends in mega church? Same as you would in a smaller church. Start by connecting with those around you. Get to know their names. Make a point of talking with them before or after the service. Invite them to the small group you attend. Invite them out for coffee. Do it all with genuine love and interest for the other person. Value them, they are real people who God loves.

“Acknowledging the value of a soul plants in us a seed of willingness to build others up, encourage others, and call the greatness out of them.” Rick Bezet

When we value people as God values people we will see their worth as He does. When they see that we genuinely care about them, they will put down the phone and the bulletin and begin to interact; could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Don’t stop at only befriending those in your church, look outside. Show them the same love you show the person in the next pew.

Just as lotions and fragrance gives sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul. Proverbs27:9

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

What does Friendship look like for you? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments box either through the blog site or on Grace Lace and Polkadots Facebook page.

The month of August I will be doing some giveaways, starting with Rick Bezet’s book Real Love In An Angry World: How to Stick to your Convictions Without Alienating People. Be on the lookout.

Hope your soul is refreshed this week with friendship!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inviting Friendship: Part 1

Three times, through three different people over a course of a few days the same message came to my attention.  It was one of those listen closely moments.

The subject was that of being a friend, maintaining friendships and reaching out to others in friendship. Which is something I don’t do well, at least not as well as I would like.

Wise Words From Three Wise People

Rick Bezet in his new book, Real Love in an Angry World encourages us to show hospitality, love each other, see the potential in others and give honor.

Christine Caine in First Things with Christine, says “I cannot imagine venturing through life without great relationships! Our courage often comes from the encouragement of others, which is why we’re not suppose to live this life alone.”

Ginny Heisler, a friend from church posted on Facebook (I have her permission to share with you), she wrote;

“I have come to the conclusion that group texts, social media comments and Snapchat stories have given us all the illusion of friendship. Sit down with me and have a cup of coffee while we talk about our dreams, fears, struggles and triumphs. Have dinner at my table, I’ll cook. Play cards (or chess) with me in the park. That’s friendship! That’s how you build a relationship. That’s how iron sharpens iron.”

I get it we all need friends and we need to be a friend. The problem I find is that we are all so wrapped up in our own little worlds. I know I am! We are on the move, running to and fro work, taking and collecting the kids from school, attending church small groups and trying to have a home life. Seriously folks! Who has time for real friends?

I have a lot of friendlies in my life. You know, the people who are more than acquaintances, but don’t quite make the real friend status. We know each other’s name, we pass pleasantries when we run into each other at the grocery store or church and that’s as far as it goes. Friendlies!!

People need real friends because so many of them don’t have real families anymore.” Rick Bezet

We live in a mobile society, no longer do we live our entire life in one town where everybody knows everybody. We move for a variety of reasons, sometimes it’s because of family dynamics, a job change or simply because we are adventurous but, the outcome is the same. We don’t have roots with our new neighbors!

“Friendship starts with an invitation.”

Developing acquaintances into friendlies then into real friends takes time. It takes effort. It takes commitment. It takes planning. Not all acquaintances will become friendlies, and not all friendlies will become real friends. But it is worth the effort, one I am willing to invest in. Will you join me in proactively reaching out in friendship to others. I mean what’s there to lose? At the worst they will remain acquaintances.

Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples – when they see the love you have for each other. John 13:34 Msg

When Jesus lived on earth he was a people person (he still is), he was approachable, friendly and kind hearted. Don’t mistake those qualities for a push over. He spoke to the crowds, but he also went out of his way to speak to the one. He poured into the lives of his disciples, he knew their potential even when they didn’t. He reached out in love.

Isn’t that what we should do? See the potential in others and invest our time and energy by encouraging them. By being there when they are going through a hard time? By laughing with them when they celebrate? Isn’t that what a friend is for to share the bad as well as the good times? To lend a listening ear and a tissue when needed? To want the very best for them and to love them through the ups and downs, and if we are honest with ourselves isn’t that what we want in a friend?

Until next time

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

What has helped you to make new friends and maintain the friendships you have? Feel free to comment, we learn by sharing.