We recently visited some friends. Towards the beginning of the visit, our hosts were wanting to plan lots of activities. They love to share their home and the many incredible things that are nearby. It’s fun to do new things and experience God’s creation in their area of the country.
As great as the exploring is, we wanted to just be with our friends. Dallas said to the wife, “It’s okay to not plan lots of activities, we can just be together.” The depth of friendship allows us to be together without having something to do all of the time.
There are relationships that we enjoy because of shared interests and activities. Shared hobbies such as fishing, painting, bowling, or shopping give us connection points with others. We can enjoy the people, as we experience the activity. These friendships are good, but without the shared interest they fall flat. They lack depth.
Then there are other friendships that we don’t need to be doing anything to enjoy being together. We have a shared heart for the Lord and each other. Sure, we play games and do things, but those are not necessary for us to have a good time. We can spend hours talking without realizing how much time has gone by. Sometimes, we don’t even need to be talking, it’s good to just be in close proximity.
There is a depth of knowing and enjoying that allows us to just be without doing. These deep friendships are treasures.
What does it take to get to a place in a relationship where you are comfortable, and even enjoy, just being together? Time is a big factor. We need to be willing to invest time into others, to get to know them deeper than the surface. It takes time to discover the hidden things inside all of us.
We also need to be willing to be vulnerable. This access to our deeper self provides a heart connection. Sharing the good, the bad, the ugly, the dreams, the what could have been, and the what could be. If all we share are the common things, then all we will get is a common connection. To be willing to let another see the deep places of our hearts allows them to truly know us. In being known deeply, we will find the freedom to live fully.
There is no place for judgment in a deep relationship. For us to be vulnerable, we need to feel safe. The freedom for me to be me, and for them to be them, without judgment. Instead of judging, we need acceptance and understanding. Sure, there may be times where one has to call another to task, but that is done in love not judgment.
Finally, we need an open heart of love for each other to go deeply in a friendship. We’ve found that there are some people that the Lord just binds our hearts with in a way that is special. The couple referenced above is one of those examples. Early in getting to know them, we knew in our hearts that the Lord was knitting us together. From a place of love, we have walked through many seasons together; some fun and exciting and others hard, requiring patience and perseverance.
Relationship Over Activity
For some of you, proximity and being with someone is one of your love languages, so this isn’t so far a stretch for you to understand and practice. For others geared towards acts of service, giving and receiving gifts, words of affirmation, and physical touch, being together without anything extra attached is a little more difficult. (For more about love languages, see Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages.)
Way back in the day when we were dating, before cell phones and computers were commonplace, we would plan a time to talk on the phone. It was important to “be” together even though we were several states apart. In case you’re thinking, “But you were doing something; you were talking.”, you are correct … mostly. See, it would be a pretty regular occurrence that we would be connected by the phones we were holding, but not actually saying anything. There was comfort in this simply because we were present for each other.
There was comfort because there was a depth in the relationship. God puts such a high value on personal relationships, that He had a plan for us to be reconciled to Him through the perfect sacrifice of His Son, Jesus.
There is something special about a deep relationship that doesn’t require you to perform to receive acceptance and love. The depth of connection that permits you to be together, instead of the surface level acquaintanceship that motivates you to keep busy to avoid awkwardness or anxiety.
Doing or Being
Many Christians have a relationship with God that requires activity to feel comfortable. We stay busy doing the work of ministry. We have a quiet time with God that is us reading, and praying, and studying. There may be a little listening, but mostly we are doing something.
What would it be like to just hang out with God? Not to be doing anything but just being together? I’d bet, many of us would be highly uncomfortable with such a time.
But that is exactly what the Lord wants to do – to be with us. He wants to walk with us, talk with us (that’s a two way conversation), and hang out with us. In other words, He wants to be a part of our everyday life. Sure there will be activities and ministries to do, but that is just a bonus of being together.
Is your relationship with the Lord deep enough to enjoy just being together? Have you invested the time, and been completely vulnerable with Him to develop that deep connection? If there is something that is in the way, identify it and take care of it. If it is sin, confess and repent. If it is unforgiveness, work through the process of forgiving. If there is guilt or shame, give it to Jesus. The Father wants to be with you because He loves you!
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