To Be Known
Do you desire deep relationships? Do you want to be genuinely known and lovingly supported? I know for me that answer would be “sometimes”. There have been times in my life when I’ve desired that, but there have also been times when I didn’t even grasp what that meant or how to experience it. My college years were some of my most spiritually formative years of my life. I was a Christian and believed I needed Jesus, but honestly didn’t recognize the eternal gift of having a relationship with Him and what that meant for my relationships with others. I was blessed in those years to have encouraging friends and godly women begin to pour into my life. These women took time out of their lives for a season and taught me what it meant to follow Jesus, the devastating effects of sin, how to read my bible, the essentials of prayer, and the importance of walking in the Spirit daily. These years with these godly relationships changed my life.
God used that season to teach me about true discipleship and being intentional with relationships (Matthew 28). God used that season to root my identity in Christ, not in how I look or my success, but that ultimately I am found in Him. God used that season to teach me what it meant to grow and fail, but know I’m not defined by these moments, but instead by the righteousness of Christ. In the 10 or so years since college, I have experienced seasons where relationships like this have continued and also seasons where they are lacking. The one thing I have learned is that these types of relationships are difficult to find and build, but I always come back to this: they are so worth it. It’s worth going through the awkward moment of approaching another person to ask them to coffee, it’s worth sitting through the first meeting with moments of silence, and it’s worth letting someone ask you tough questions about the deeper areas of your heart. It’s worth it because this is what we were designed for.
God has used all of these moments in my life to strengthen my marriage, to sharpen my parenting, and to shape my intimacy with Jesus. And as a result, I have been equipped to pass that on to others. I love walking the working mom through the challenges of balancing work and home life. I love walking the single gal through the gift of singleness (1 Cor 7) and the joy of purity. I love pointing the struggling wife to the comfort only God can provide; that He knows every hurt, frustration, and sadness, and He’s going to use this momentary affliction to help her to comfort others (2 Cor 1:3). I love it all because I get to point these women to Jesus; how He has gone before them and equipped them for every good work in every different season. I love it because I’ve been through all of these seasons myself and know the joy of having other women point me to the same truth.
We often think we need to have all our ducks in a row before we can pursue God and invest in others, but that is just not the case. If you are a child of God, He is using you to glorify him right where you are. God has placed you in that friendship, marriage, school, job, or gym for a reason. Don’t let insecurity about your knowledge or eloquence with words get in the way of making an eternal impact. Don’t worry, God has the knowledge and the words already and will give them to you at just the right time. Don’t let “I’m busy” or “I’m just not there yet” get in the way of life changing relationships. In those relationships choose to say, “Thy will be done” and let God move.
Here’s a few practical ways to get started:
- Soak in God’s word: The bible says in 2 timothy 3:16, “Scripture is God breathed and living and active”. If you don’t start with God’s words, your words will be dead and stagnant. But, if you soak in God’s words daily, He will give you words of life and passion to speak into your relationships.
- Soften your heart: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” Psalm 37:4. Delight in the Greek means “to find joy in…” and to be soft or moldable. We need to be “soft” toward the Lord so he can mold us. Often it is easy for us to find our identity in our looks, status, career, friendship, being the best wife or mom, or just looking like we have it together. But our identity is found in the one who made us and knows the number of hairs on our head and the number of our days. God will shape your softened heart and begin to reveal to you how He’s gifted you and how you can help others discover the same truth.
- Start somewhere: As a wife and a mom of 3, I start with my family. It can be overwhelming at times, but I have such an opportunity for impactful relationships without even walking out the door! There are 4 other people, 4 other personalities, 4 others souls I can invest in each day. I need to pray constantly and look for conversations, activities, and experiences to point each of them to Jesus. And the beautiful thing is that these relationships in my family don’t exclude others. For me right now, I am able to invest in our babysitter, have women over dinner, engage unbelieving moms in play dates, and in general just invite other women in my life. So much of discipleship can be doing what you already do with gospel intentionality. We miss this sometimes as moms, but it’s so important. This is not to say that I don’t have coffees with other women or one-on-one time, I totally do. But for all the moms out there, you need to know that it doesn’t have to be “all or nothing.” God can use you in the normal rhythms of life. For some, where you need to start is with a co-worker, your kid’s teacher, your study buddy, or a neighbor. Be sensitive to who God is leading you to, but start somewhere. God will bless your initiative and multiply your impact in ways that surprise you.
Deep relationships where you are genuinely known and lovingly supported are only possible through Jesus. He gave His life so you could experience relationships like this. Don’t miss what He wants to do in you and through you as you walk in His design for relationships.