Everyone is busy. I get it. I know. Me too. But is this really all there is?
Workers arrive home from work, try to catch up with family over dinner and then chores and homework take over the evening. Or basketball practice for the kids. Or time in the gym for you. Or . . . whatever it is your life is full of.
I’ve lost count of the number of women I’ve talked to that want real relationships. They are longing for a friend that they can just appear on their doorstep and neither one worries about how messy the house looks. A friend to call to go Christmas shopping with because that one person on your list is so hard to buy for. A friend who thinks to surprise you for your birthday and knows all those dear to your heart.
Doesn’t that sound delightful?
Many of us do have one close friend; and if you’re very lucky she lives in the same town as you. Military wives are often forced to figure out how to maintain those friendships over hundreds or thousands of miles.
My question is for the rest of our friendships: why do we tolerate surface relationships ?
Why do we allow our schedule to dictate how much time we get to invest in others?
I’m not suggesting that every relationship around you should dig deep into the darkest places of your heart. I am saying that just knowing the names of the people you sit near every Sunday isn’t enough.
My Chaplain here in Virginia calls this “subway relationships.” You sit by a person for a few minutes, you talk and forge those beginnings of friendship, and they reach their stop and are gone forever. Sure, they made you smile. Perhaps they even opened up enough to share a burden and you took thirty seconds to pray for them.
I understand that our lives will be full of these moments when God allows us to reach in and touch someone who we may never see again, and that’s great! That’s something to be cherished.
But so many people spend their whole day in these types of interactions, never going deeper.
Some people never take the time out of their lives to say, “Can we meet for dinner next week and just get to know one another a little better?” Or, “Want to meet for coffee on Tuesday morning before work?” Or, “Want to go out for a run together?”
God put us on this earth for relationship. John 15:16 says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (NIV) When I lay down my schedule and make room in my calendar for another, I am laying down my life for them.
Ephesians 4:1-2 says, “Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” (NLT) It’s only possible to really love someone and thereby give allowance for their faults if you work toward more than a subway relationship.
I know this isn’t easy.
I don’t particularly like to share much of my heart with others either. I prefer to say hi, ask about their week, remark on how cold (or hot) it is, and move on with life too.
But what haunts me? A little phrase buried in 1 Corinthians 13:2 that says if I “do not have love, I am nothing.” (NIV)
Who do you need to invite to join you for coffee this week?