Relationships Take Work

We were meant to live life in community. It’s hard to deny that. It’s repeatedly talked about in the Bible and it is woven into the very fabric of our beings.

“Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love & to righteous deeds, not forgetting to gather as a community, as some have forgotten, but encouraging each other, especially as the day of His return approaches.” Hebrews 10:24-45 (The Voice)

Unfortunately, fellowship and time spent investing in the lives of others is one of the first things that gets sacrificed when our lives get as busy as they generally do. In my last blog post, I talked about the need to Get Less Busy. We cram everything in so that there’s no space left for anything else – for the spontaneous opportunities that arrive and especially for quality time with loved ones.

Relationships take work. Dating relationships, relationships with spouses, with family, friends, co-workers. They all take effort & intentionality. If you don’t make the necessary time for them, they will suffer.

And it is a tragedy.

To be honest & transparent, I go through periods of wondering who my real friends are. Who are the ones who really care. I often feel like if I don’t initiate something then no one else will, because maybe they don’t really care in the first place. So I’ll withdraw & wait. (I’ll generally work through it, get over it, and try again… until the funk comes back again.) Just being honest here…

But recently I’ve come to decide that the biggest problem is that everyone is so daggum busy. (Is that how you spell that?) It’s not necessarily that they don’t care (though maybe some really don’t), it’s just that they aren’t making the time needed to keep a relationship going…

Here’s a great thought on the value of living in community:

“The word translated ‘church’ in English Bibles means literally ‘assembly of the called’; it implies that members have said ‘yes’ to God’s call in their lives. We assemble because we are called into being by God himself. Some people, for reasons only they know, choose to live their Christian faiths in isolation. When they do, they cut themselves off from the gifts, encouragement, & vitality of others. And perhaps, just as tragically, they deprive the church of the grace & life God has invested in them.” Note from The Voice New Testament, p. 343

So I’m on my own personal crusade right now to Get Less Busy, and to invest more in relationships. I’m trying at least. Will you join me?

Take time this week/month to clear your schedule. Invite someone to lunch, dinner, coffee. Pick up the phone. Send an email (or even better, a card).

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below.

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Get Less Busy

My most recent revelation is an obvious one, but it needs said.

We, as a culture, are far too busy.

We hurry from one thing to the next, constantly filling our schedules to the brim until there is no time left. It’s like an addiction. Why do we do this to ourselves?

I can be as guilty as anyone else, and I surely do have my seasons. Especially as I’ve been pursuing my MBA these last couple of years. (And I can’t even imagine what it’s like once you have kids.) But right now, I’m trying to soak up the opportunities that present themselves, while I have a little break.

In general we leave ourselves with no margin. We have little to no room for anything “extra”. The things that suffer: real quality time with our spouse/family, with friends, time to serve, time to be able to stop & help someone else with a need, time spent sitting still in God’s presence. What about time to actually relax for a few minutes and feel refreshed. There is no margin to be able to seize opportunities like this one, when we’re going 70 mph.

So what do we need to do?

  • Quit something. Create some space.
    This is most often easier said than done. There are definitely seasons of life that might dictate this. But it’s a good idea to take a good, hard look at our weekly schedules and see what we can eliminate in order to save space for other important things that might come up spontaneously. We are a culture of doers. It might be time to quit something.
  • Learn to live more intentionally.
    Don’t go through life filling up time with just anything. Figure out what the things are that you really want to be spending your time on. Prioritize. Figure out what is best (not just what is good).
  • Spend more time reaching out to others.
    Call that friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Send an email or a card. Ask someone to go grab coffee or a meal. Invite some neighbors over for dinner. Relationships are often one of the things that suffer most from our activity-packed lives. And it’s a tragedy. Life is meant to be lived in community.
  • Carve out times to be still (Psalm 46:10).
    I’ve had a really hard time with this one lately and I’m seeking to improve. I’m finding it really difficult to quiet my mind and to be still with the Lord. But it’s so important.

What other tips do you have for shaking off our addiction to busyness?

Get less busy. Start now. Go.