Okay people, sharpen your pencils. It’s test time.
I’m making it easy on you and giving you multiple choice, but I want to see your test bubbles filled in with nice dark #2 pencil.
Oh yeah, the question first.
The question we’ve been kicking around for the last few posts is: What keeps us from pursuing the grace-giving, God-pleasing, soul-enriching relationships in our lives?
We know God calls us to sow into people, we know we are built up by others’ wisdom, we know we are to make disciples and spur one another on in the Lord, but why is it so hard to do?
Below are some answers you have shared as well as some of my own observations. Pick the one you resonate with most or add your own.
The trap of efficiency. I like to get things done. See my multi-colored task list? See my spotless car? Investing in relationships, especially people who aren’t exactly like me takes a lot of time, and it’s kind of a pain. Sometimes they talk a lot. Sometimes they call me at inconvenient times. Better if I stick with my plan.
Unrealistic expectations. I loved the idea of this relationship investment thing. I could find someone who needed my fountain of wisdom and change her life! Or, I could talk to an older woman and she could solve all my problems. But it didn’t work. I tried it. We did encourage each other and actually had some good fellowship, but it was kind of… regular. I was hoping for more sparks, or at least a kindred-spirit kind of thing. Maybe I’ll try someone else.
The virtual pull. Why bother? I can find advice on anything online, and so can anyone else. There are tons of Christian websites too, and social media has connected me with lots of friends. Why waste an hour with one person when I can reach ten people in a minute?
Fear of man. People probably wouldn’t want to come if I invited them over. And I’d write an encouragement note to someone, but I’m not that good with words. I’d love to have deeper fellowship with people, but I wouldn’t want them to feel awkward or like I’m too forward. Better to play it safe.
Laziness. I really do want to make a difference in others’ lives. I do. But truthfully, it’s a lot easier to just talk with my friends. It’s relaxing, it’s fun, it’s easy. The whole idea of asking God who I can reach out to, or how he wants to use me… it just seems like a lot of effort.
Guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty.
I’m guilty of each one.
So I need to remind myself that reaching out to others in love and building real-life relationships is both pleasing to God and strengthening to me. It’s better than efficiency. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s more meaningful than social media. It’s worth risking what they will think of me. It’s more valuable than my comfort.
And more importantly, I remind myself of God’s words: And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)