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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Day the Wall Fell

I’m not one to run to people with my issues. Ask me how I’m doing and I will probably give you my default answer, “Good, yeah I’m good.” It’s not that I want to be false, I’m just not one to lightly bare my soul.

Maybe you can relate?

I remember several years ago hearing Joyce Meyer on the television telling us to “Run to the throne not the phone.” I know she wasn’t suggesting we never talk with a trusted friend or counsellor. It was just that some people either run to the phone only, or they run to the phone first, putting Christ as a last resort.

Are you a phone first or throne first kind of girl?

A few years back I was having some issues. I had gone to the throne and talked about them with my heavenly Father almost on a daily basis. He told me to go talk with one particular lady at church. I thought it odd that the creator of mankind would pass me off to one of His creations. What in the world was a mere mortal going to do that the great I AM couldn’t do?

I didn’t want to take my concerns to that particular lady, so I shelved the idea.

Have you been down that road?

The Lord instructed you to do something and it wasn’t what you had in mind so you either put it off or conveniently forgot about it?

The issue continued and I continued to bring it to the Lord. He reminded me to talk with that particular lady. “Not her Lord. Please not her.” Now let me make something clear, It wasn’t that she was mean, oh no quite the opposite. She was a sweet southern soul, kind and considerate. Gentleness and love poured out of her every word and action. She loved everyone and everyone loved her. But I did not want to talk with her, at least not in a counselling situation.

I brought up several other names before the Lord, each time He brought me back to the sweet southern soul. It was way past time to obey.

Picking up the phone I dialed her number, half hoping she would not answer. At least I could tell the Lord I tried and perhaps then He would say I could talk with someone else.

Have you ever given the Lord alternatives to His plan for you?

When she answered I felt embarrassed and stumbled over my words. I apologized over and over again for bothering her. It was a difficult conversation for me but, she was gracious and we arranged a date to meet.

I didn’t want to bare my issues to anyone, not even the other names I had mentioned to the Lord. Pride kept them locked inside, walled up in their own prison. I didn’t know it was pride that shackled me. I told myself, my issues were just that, My Issues and nobody’s business other than the Lord’s.

My sweet, southern soul lady listened and only spoke to prompt questions. She didn’t give me a five step plan, or pretend to have all the answers. Instead she gave her ear, her heart and her time.

It was a humbling experience for me to ask for help, but one that I will always cherish.

A wall called Pride, cracked and crashed the day I obeyed the Lord and asked for help.

No matter the name of your wall it can come crashing down too. Seek the Lord and follow His instructions and watch your wall or walls fall.

“God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

Until next week

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance.

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