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Building Deeper Relationships - Issue 351
August 08, 2014
|Hi there! ....
This week We’ve done some study, some painting in the bathroom (Naomi’s had a badly sprained ankle which has hindered her climbing up and down ladders with a paint brush), Daniel helped plant out some seedlings and helped stack wood with Grandad (until he got a stick poked in the eye). So there has been a balance of study and life driven projects. Both Josh and Daniel graded with Taekwondo taking them up to a Blue belt level. I think though that our biggest news is that today Daniel is getting baptised, so we are celebrating with him and renewing our commitment to stand with him as a young Christian man.
If you are a new Australian reader I would appreciate you reading this special
This week I wrote a blog post Curriculum Plus More so click over to my blog if you missed that through the week.
Building Deeper Relationships
Over the last week or so I’ve had a few different things happen that have highlighted not only the importance of relationship with others but the variety of expression of those relationships. One phone call I had we talked about how hard it is to develop meaningful relationships and yet how precious they are when we do take the time. Our family is going through a season where we are faced with the challenge of ‘how are we going to be intentional with building and maintaining relationships.’ I think this is a good question for every family to ask of themselves as a part of their yearly review of goals and purpose.
It takes time and effort to connect with people. We have to pause from our tasks, and actually shift gear in order to focus on a person – to focus on their life, their pain, their story. It takes effort to give ourselves physically and emotionally.
There are three reasons for this effort
Here are some ways that caring and Christ-based relationships have been expressed to me over the last fortnight:
Some of these acts of love have taken time and effort to make happen, others have been quick and spontaneous but all happened out of a desire to be a friend. The challenge to me is to see how simple and yet meaningful these acts were and to grow in the habit of showing love in the same way to others myself.
I was reading a short ebook about the meal table being central to building relationships. The author encouraged the reader to see that we have 3 meals a day, 7 days a week – that equals 21 opportunities to spend time with someone over a meal. Whether you want someone over for breakfast on Monday morning or not, is not the point – the challenge that I took home from this short e-book, The Table Experiment: Loving your neighbour One meal at a Time, by Ryan J Pelton, was to look at the times in my week and be intentional about using them to be involved with others.
We are all familiar with sharing meals with others but sometimes we need to get creative with that idea too. Here are some ideas I’ve written on my list to help me give more than 6.00pm dinner invites (though they are good too):
But we can make the time and effort to connect, but relationships can still remain shallow. The next step is really heart attitude that only we can make ourselves. It is internal – we have to value relationship, we have to decide to be honest, open and that makes us vulnerable. Being prepared to go there though is the only way deeper relationships can form.
I have a friend who used to ask me “What are you reading Belinda?” or “What is God saying to you Belinda?” I found this a very challenging and yet meaningful. She wasn’t keeping me accountable (though sometimes I found it intimidating when I knew the question was coming and wasn’t sure I had an answer!) she wanted a glimpse into my heart. It was often the beginning of a great conversation. We could have continued to talk about the weather, or happenings around town, but her willingness to cut to the important stuff built our relationship stronger.
One thing that cuts off inviting a deeper relationships is when asked how our week has been, to give a simply reply of ‘busy’. This tells the person nothing: nothing of our activities and nothing of our emotional response to those activities. Busy means that our days are full, but infers that our days are too full. Our response hints that maybe we don’t even have time to talk about it! The question may well be the standard surface chit-chat, but if our response is real and personal, it is likely they’ll respond in much the same way when you return the question. When this happens we have an opportunity to get to know a person a little bit more.
I’m reminded of a lesson Jessica learnt when she spent time in Uganda. She came home saying that they valued relationship – when they said “Hello, how are you?” They actually stopped to hear the answer; they expected an answer, an honest answer. They made time to hear you. This is such a strong contrast to stereotypical Aussie – “Hi-how-are-ya?” and we move on not expecting an answer at all. It is really one word meaning “Hi”. Sometimes we do just pass by and say “Hi” but we cannot afford for that to be our standard interactions with the people we meet.
Over the last little while we have been aware of a couple of marriages breaking down in our community. We know these people, but not in a personal way – we know them because we live in a small town. How our heart hurts for these people. How we wish we could be there to hug and support them in their pain. But in a sense we have to earn the right to do that and we earn that right through spending time, building relationships in the good times. Of course, we can be caring to the stranger and we need to be, and there have been times where we have done that in our community, but the challenge is there – am I building relationships with people, or do I just know who they are.
So all these things are going through my head and turning over in my heart at the moment.
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Blending Life with Lessons e-book - Does your everyday life challenge your homeschool ideas? This is my journey as I discover that it is possible to disciple my children in today's busy lifestyle.
Heart Focus Parenting book/e-book - A heart focused parent will keep their attention on their child's heart for God, instead of on external behaviours.
Restoring the Heart, Mind and Soul of Christmas Do your Christmas celebrations line up with what you believe? Do your celebrations help your children learn more about Jesus?
This e-book is based on a workshop I held for a couple of years to help families see that Christmas can be a significant tradition in our family life. If we are intentional about how our family celebrates we have the opportunity to use this time to teach our children about Jesus, and his love for each one of us.
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Live life with your Kids newsletter is about being a deliberate parent, about enjoying family life and using the opportunities that happen to teach and train your children in righteousness (right living with God). I hope that you will find regular encouragement as you live life with your kids!
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