I’ve been checking out a church plant on my college campus recently, and today’s sermon was about discipleship. Discipleship is a big, church-y word that makes a lot of people uncomfortable, perhaps in the way that talking to a psychologist does: nobody really wants to meet one-on-one with somebody solely to spill all their problems.
However, that’s not what discipleship is.
Discipleship is about gaining wisdom from someone who has accumulated more dark moments, more experiences with grace, and more stories of overcoming than you have. And not only that, but discipleship is a two-way street: while you’re reaching up for wisdom, you should also be offering the other hand down to those following in your footsteps, looking up to you.
That being said, I want to talk about being intentional.
With the rise of social media and busy lifestyles has come the fall of face-to-face interaction. Dinner tables have been replaced with on-the-go meals or shifted closer to electrical outlets so people can surf the internet while they eat. Phone calls to old friends have been replaced by Facebook profile stalking. Instead of finishing a book before bed, kids and teens scroll through their Instagram feed, unknowingly waking up their brain instead of shutting it down for the night.
I only say these things because I am completely, utterly, and entirely guilty of them myself.
I’ve done some things differently though, lately. Small things, but they're bigger steps for me, being an introvert. I took a friend up on the suggestion of meeting him for coffee to finish a conversation, rather than us typing through Facebook about it. I’ve been meeting out-of-town and new college friends for lunch. And instead of sending my friend a text for her birthday, I dropped by her house, not even sure if she’d be there. (Thank goodness, she was, and it was so good to see her).
This has really been on my mind lately, and the lesson about discipleship this morning drove the point home. We need to be intentional about our relationships with others. The issue of being unable to find the time to spend with friends and family must be tossed aside. If we wait for the perfect time for anything in our lives, we’ll miss every opportunity. There is no perfect time. There is only the present, and we’re called to make the most of it with the people we love and care about, the people we can invest in, and the people who invest in us.
We were designed for relationships, and in a time where so many friendships are based on a certain amount of likes or shares, there’s no better time to start being intentional about them. Intentional, meaning, meeting a friend for more than just a chat. Taking a swig of coffee for strength before delving into life’s issues, small talk cast aside, with someone you trust. Being able to watch them react, mirror their smirk, notice how they tilt their head when what they’re telling you about themselves makes them uncomfortable. Or even just being able to laugh with someone. After all, laughter is the best medicine.
It’s time to start making time for what’s important. We need to disciple, and be discipled, even if that means nothing more than helping an older friend do laundry while they talk to you about their journey through life, so you can soak up the wisdom. It doesn’t have to be a heart-to-heart; it just needs to be intentional, patient, and honest.
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How are you going about strengthening the relationships in your life? Are there any relationships in particular that you could pursue more intentionally? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!