Hello summer! The days are sunny and hot, so you’re off to the swimming pool. Do you jump in and get soaked from head to toe? Or, do you prefer to ease in, getting your toes wet first?
Summer is a time for backyard BBQ’s, family reunions and other gatherings. How do you feel walking into a social event where you don’t know anyone but the hostess? Do you ease your way to the food prep area and find a way to assist the hostess? Hang out around the buffet table making small talk? Or, do you introduce yourself to other guests and dive into the conversation?
Got another one for you.
A good friend invites you to attend a retreat that she knows is perfect for you? Is yes your immediate response? Or, do you instinctively begin silently listing at least ten reasons you can’t make it? I mean this friend gets you, she really knows you, and this retreat is an opportunity to connect with like-minded women generously sharing knowledge and experience you need. You may not know you need them, but your friend does. Yet, the more she tries to convince you, the longer your list grows.
Friends, I don’t know what this says about me, but I’ll jump right into that swimming pool. Wet hair, don’t care! Yet I am also the one who makes her way to the food prep area to find the hostess at that social event. Yes, I do love helping her. But another truth? It’s also a way for me to stay busy and avoid connecting with others I don’t know. Yes, I’ve been guilty of that, but inevitably I left with regrets, knowing in my heart I had missed opportunities to connect and cultivate friendships.
But following Jesus has a way of changing things….if we allow Him to rule in our hearts.
And guess what? Connection and friendship are important to Jesus!
Let’s think about how Jesus modeled the importance of friendship. Remember his deep friendship with Lazarus, Mary and Martha? Three times we’re told Jesus loved them in just one chapter, John 11. Though His disciples questioned Him and reminded Jesus of the Jews’ recent attempt to stone Him, Jesus risked death to return to Bethany when Lazarus died.
Jesus taught the importance of friendship. He called His disciples His friends, no longer servants. Jesus teaches us to love one another as He loves us declaring no one has greater love than to lay down one’s life for a friend.
Proverbs 13:20 imparts this wisdom about friendship: “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools suffers harm.”
So back to the friend’s invitation to attend the retreat attended by women with like interests and knowledge to share. What is your response?
If your first instinct is to hesitate and start that list. Stop.
You’re missing out on some of the best God has to offer you!
I too made that list, but I’ve ditched the hesitation and jumped in–just like I jump into that swimming pool! And friends, it’s as refreshing as that cool water on a hot summer day.
Twice I’ve been invited by a friend to attend a retreat. Twice I’ve jumped in without hesitation. No Plan B. No list. No hesitation.
Friends, there’s beauty and freedom in stepping out of our comfort zone and stepping into community with others. Jumping in, I’ve been met with friendship and encouragement–blessed with wise counsel and loving support spurring me forward on my walk with Christ and pursuit of His call on my life.
I attended one of those retreats just last weekend. I drove home with newfound friends, deeper friendships with those I knew, a joy-filled heart, encouragement, and valuable insight needed to keep pursuing the dream God has placed on my heart, and a smile as big as Texas!
If I could bottle this up to share with you, I would in a heartbeat. But here’s what I’ve learned as I prioritize time with God. It starts with jumping in, saying yes! Trust God, not yourself, and certainly not your list. Take that leap of faith and you’ll start connecting with community. Maybe you’ll realize what your friend already knew–these are friendships you never knew you needed! You’ll be on your way discovering the wonderful community you need and deserve. You’ll be walking wiser wrapped in encouragement and support, smiling from ear to ear as you continue walking with Christ!
Jump in, friends! The water’s fine.