Every one of us wants to be fully known and with that… be fully loved. When you’re vulnerable and alone, you’re afraid, but when you’re vulnerable with other people, you become brave. ~ Rebekah Lyons
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. — John 15:12-13
I’m learning not to be an “I’m sorry” person. I have a tendency to apologize for my loud laugh and personality, open-wide emotions, and the unguarded messiness of the real me. I’m “muchier” (as mentioned before) than I want to be so apologies are frequent enough that my people tell me to cut it out. Bless them.
I’m slowly learning, with the best of friends and family who are so dear to me, that it’s healthy and good to connect with safe people without worrying that we won’t be loved by them. Some people (even those who should) won’t love us but others… they will be such a joy and find us a joy as well!
In community, we can flourish in our truest self, become alive, and be free.
Jesus, our #1 Friend, came to give us that freedom! And those close relationships that we can thrive in and help others to thrive, too.
Loneliness and isolation is for the birds, right? There are times, daily times, when we need to get away, recharge, get in tune with the Lord, hear His voice in quietude, and be prepared for the day, but that solitude isn’t the whole day! We need connection.
I’ve got nothing against text chains. Frankly, my closest people and I text non-stop. It’s not unusual to wake up to 35 texts unread about everything from a struggling marriage, to a picture of a cute, new dog collar for their pooch, and everything in between.
But heart to heart, face to face is where the real work, the real love is done.
The truth is, we were never meant to be alone. We were created from connection for connection. ~ Rebekah
Sometimes that’s easier said than done, of course. Making new friends can be challenging and it takes effort and a positive attitude. Receiving love can be scary if you’ve been wrecked by someone you loved, but it’s so worth it!
Be the friend you wish to have. ~ Rebekah
If you want to have friends, you show yourself friendly. — Proverbs 18:24
Here are some habits I’m working on for the connect rhythms, too:
Get together for celebration and rejoicing and together for grief and suffering.
Set the coffee date and keep it.
Go for a walk with someone new
Let a trusted friend be your 2am person (emergencies) and be theirs.
Listen. Look your friend in the eye. Hear their heart. Feel their feelings with them. Share their burden. Lighten the load. Express gratitude and love.
Rejoice in the Lord together.
Ask, “What’s going on in your life right now? What are your dreams for the future?”
Ask about their history, the hopes, and their heart
If we’re serious about connecting, we have to dig in with our closest relationships and make sure there are no grudges, no old wrongs not made right, no resentments and hurt feelings that aren’t addressed in love and forgiveness. Get rid of arrogance, untruthfulness, unkindness, apathy about any hurt we may have inflicted, and anything that separates and damages. Be real and choose to be the love of Jesus.
And, no more apologizing for being ourselves. Those who love us will love us anyway!
Friends I’m thankful for: Cindy, Jen, Beck, Tracy, Jilli, Shawnie, BethAnne, Eric, Annie, Dawn-Marie, Peggy, Carmen, Wendy, Laura, Suzi, Mark, Jaime, Taryn, Max, Beth, Connie, Jean, Shelley, Jan
This week in your study:
- Watch the video for session four on our study home page. Take notes in your study guide on pages 75-80 and then please come join the conversation with our OBS community afterward!
- Go through the study questions with your group or on your own on pages 80-83.
- Read Part 3 of Rhythms of Renewal.
- Grab your Bible and enjoy your personal study this week on pages 85-93.
- Join the conversations about the study and get to know fellow participants in the private Facebook group!
Scriptures this Week
1 Corinthians 12
1 Timothy 5:1-2
Prayer for the Week
Jesus, we love You. Thank You for the gift of friendship. Thank You that You modeled connection and healthy relationships for us because we don’t always know how to love selflessly. It’s unnatural to us. We want to self-protect. Help us to pour ourselves out as You did and love and laugh and eat with friends so we can flourish and grow to be everything You would have us be and do the same for them, too. We love You, Lord. Amen.