The Power of Connection
It has always been said that we have various levels of friendships and I believe it is true. I also believe that within each level, we have an allotted number of friends or connections. Each of these levels have a certain degree of connection, trust, openness, etc. Each one is vital and powerful and important. Let's take a closer peek at them.
1. Myself/Spiritual: Some might question this, but it is easier to love others when we love ourselves, when we know who we are, when we take care of ourselves, and I believe when we know the beauty of our origin in the Trinity and our identity in that a deep love for others and ourselves can flow more easily. From there our other relationships will be healthier.
2. Close friends: These are those in our inner circle, the ones we trust with the deepest places in our hearts, the ones we trust the most, the ones we walk in without knocking. We need these ones. Yet, often we avoid these because this connection requires vulnerability, transparency, honesty. It requires going past the surface.
I love this quote by Shauna Niequist:
To me this says it all. This is what our close circle should entail.
3. Casual Friend: These would be those we see maybe on a regular basis or just from time to time, we might even do things socially with them. It could be our neighbors, someone from church, co-workers, classmates, the friend of a friend, teammate, even certain relatives, etc. We enjoy their company, conversations, but they do not hold the same place that close friends have, they don't have access to the deepest parts of our hearts. These friendships may seem to be the safest because we don't have to open ourselves up to them.
4. Acquaintances: These are people we might see on occasion or regularly but don't fully engage with. The checker at the grocery store, the woman or man at the post office, a neighbor, classmate, someone we know via Facebook but haven't ever really made a strong connection with, if you work for a larger company, a co-worker, or the spouse of a co-worker that you only see at the Christmas party. You slightly know them, but it's more surface knowledge, you mostly engage in small talk.
Connection is powerful, and the people in the first two circles should get the most attention. People will move in and out of our circles all the time. Every person, whether they want to admit it or not, craves the same thing according to Jen Hatmaker; "to be known and loved, to belong somewhere....the love of God and people is the substance of life". Side note: if you haven't read her book For the Love, you should, it's excellent.
Do you take time to build connections? To reach out to people on all levels? Do you take time to take care of yourself, love yourself, find a deeper connection spiritually? Do you invite people into your life, around your table? Do you invite people to stop and chat, to just show up and knock on your door?
What happened to good old front porch conversations? How about we take time to invite someone over, or to lunch, or out for coffee. Why not take a few minutes to really look into the eyes of the person serving you at a restaurant, grocery store, etc, and really see them. Why not invite someone to go run errands with you just so you can spend time together? We live in a culture that values busyness way too much sometimes. Let's change that.
With Joy Unquenchable,