seasons change

A friend I haven’t connected with for a long time came to mind this morning while I was getting ready for my day.

So I asked God (which I am starting to do more & more) if I should get in touch with her.

He said, “Leave things as they are.”

I prayed for God to bless that person, then thought to myself, “Why?”

Then I heard, “Your season has passed.”

I got it.

You see, some people we encounter are only meant to be in our lives short term.

We do one another a disservice when we try to force a short term connection into a long term one.

Some times, a short term mission is meant to be short term.

You can see this in relationships that happen to across when they make a movie or are in a production together.  Close quarters can lead to a closeness with someone you wouldn’t have but for the circumstances.

God reminded me that I am not the same me I was when I was friends with this woman, and I am not to go back.

There are times when a person isn’t healthy for us, or we are awakened to the fact they never were. 

Or they seem to take off or fall apart with the arrival of every storm, also known as fairweather friends.

But we may not be able to see the truth, until the season has passed.

Then there are the friends who are in your life for the long haul.  The ones who chose to be your sisters & brothers, who can live anywhere in the world and you can pick up as if no time has passed between you.

These are your any weather, no matter the season friends. The ones who pray for you daily, lend a hand when you need one, tell you the truth when you need to hear it, and are in for the long haul. 

Jesus had a few friends like that. He left His mother’s care to one, and His church to another.

If you look through the Word, there was a large group of people who travelled with Him.

Not all stuck with Him through it all, in fact….most of them fled or let Him down when the going got tougher than they expected.

But He forgave them, each & every one. And restored the ones who would be in it with Him for the long haul, the ones who came back to Him.

We need to do the same.

If a friend has become distant, and isn’t responding to your attempts to connect, ask Him these four questions:

1. Did I do something I need to apologize for?

2. Is this person hurting & i need to let them know I am here to support them?

3. Is this her/his way of showing me this is/was a short term friendship or project only, and I need to move on?

4. Is this relationship unhealthy for me, and I need to let them go?

As hard as this season may be for you to adjust to, it is always better to have the support circle He intends for you around you.

It may not be the group you thought it would be, as God leads you through each season.

But if He is doing the leading, knowing & caring for You as He does, it will be His support system surrounding you.

Ready to walk with you through every season, as He does.

Seasons will change, but His love for you never will, ever.

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Community Chatter

Relevant Magazine recently posted an interesting article (6 Things Every Strong Community Needs) that got my brain pondering: Community

Here are their six headings, and my comments.

Intentionality

Sometimes we have to purpose to become community. And other times, it just happens.

This can happen in school, work, church, or your neighborhood. You may have kids all in the same grade or sports team, you may meet in a coffee lineup every day, or share a hairdresser…. Community is happening all around us.

We have to be intentional to plug into it.

Diversity

Not everyone is going to be just like you- in looks, quirks, likes or gifts/talents. I recently commented to a few of my closest friends that we all seem to have one skill we are able to use to bless one another in an area that person is needing a hand in. It is awesome how we can become so much more when we pool our resources, and encourage one another to be ourselves in healthy ways.

A Willingness to Embrace Awkwardness

Getting close to a group of people you don’t know can be very awkward…and I should know. I much prefer to write or sing it versus speak it to people. Its not a matter of feeling scared, but in feeling I won’t be accepted if I show who I really am. Yet, once we feel safe in community, this can be a wonderful picture of true caring for one another in being a safe place to land when you need it. This leads to….

Openness

Being able to be yourself with a group of people is a precious aspect of community. Yes, there will be disagreements as no group of people will agree about every thing all the time. The freedom to be open in a respectful way where everyone is honored is a vital piece of a strong community.

The Ability to Have Fun Together

If you have a good mix going on in your community, this will naturally occur once people feel free to be themselves in a safe respectful environment. I remember a few people I worked with at school meeting with me for coffee, who made the comment they didn’t know how funny I was. I replied, “When you are lunch monitoring preteens, you can’t let them know you are fun loving, you need to show your work face.” :). Don’t do so much work that you never take time to relax and unwind with one another over coffee, a movie, or a group outing.

Inclusiveness

If all feel welcome, you are showing a healthy community to those looking in from the outside. There are times when you are in a set few weeks where you are intently studying something, and a new person in the mix for those meeting would be awkward all round. That’s why every month I lead my ladies group, we have a fun night built in somewhere. Maybe coffee at the nearest book store, maybe second hand shopping, sometimes a movie night. A time when anyone is welcome to come and hang out.

Final Thoughts?

God invites us into community with Him in these six ways too:

Intentional. God intentionally invites us all to come.
Diversity: God welcomes everyone from any & all backgrounds.
A willingness to embrace awkwardness: I think Jesus demonstrated this by reaching out to us all right where we are at.
Openness. God is 100% approachable, all the time. The ability to have fun together. God is great company, and people who hang out with Him are able to find joy in His Presence ­čÖé
Inclusive. All are welcome to join His family. The perks come from. the privileges you are blessed with when you are in.

I find I am able to maintain my hope and focus on God when I feel connected, and a part of community:
At home with my family.
At work as part of the team.
With my closest friends.
But especially in my walk with God.

What do you feel you need as a healthy aspect of community?

and then there were two…

It is always interesting to me to find someone else who is thinking like me.

Not because I am such a great intellectual thinker, but because I look at things, as we all do, with my own unique viewpoint, based on my skills, gifts and life experiences.

Today, I reconnected with a good friend I hadn’t seen for a while, who it turns out feels a lot like I do about a few things on my mind right now.

Isn’t it a relief to be understood? Heard? Connected with?

There is another always there for me to drop by and visit. The kettle of kindness is always perking, the music of peace always playing in the background. The comfy couch of mercy, with soft pillows of joy and the throw blanket of hope, wait along with Love, the Designer of my heart, mind, spirit and soul. He is constantly ready for me to approach, jump on the sofa beside Him, keeping His ears perked to my every word, attentive eyes not straying from my face.

It was always meant to be a relationship; not rules, religion or rubric.

The two of us, hanging out, pouring our lives into one another. Always together, never apart.

Why do I resist this deepening?

Fear of being rejected.

No more fear.

I am heading for the couch.

And then, there were two.