Loving With Intention
Last month I was invited to speak at the Women’s Tropical Brunch. What an honor. A scary, introvert’s-worst-nightmare type of honor. But I figured I can write and I can read so it only follows that I can read out loud. Good news, I survived. And it gave me an amazing opportunity to work through an idea that had been on my heart. Loving with intention. With everything going on in my life, some days I feel like I’ll drown treading water without strategy. I joke that when I was 20, “I got nothing done today,” meant I did nothing. Now that I’m…older… “I got nothing done,” translates as, “I cleaned the house, met a deadline, and made dinner for a family of six.” But I still feel unproductive because I know the rest of the to-do list. Without some type of strategy, my family and friends inevitably fall to the, “I’ll talk to you when you’re on my mind” arena. Is that Godly relationship? The other day a friend I hadn’t talked to for a while called. Though she’d been on my mind, I kept getting distracted and had neglected to reach out. It was a run-of-the-mill, she had an easily-answered-question type of call. But after we hung up, she texted a few minutes later to say, “By the way…” I can’t divulge the rest because it was sensitive information but it shocked and convicted me. I had been so caught up in my life that I wasn’t present for her. As her friend, I should have been there. Even though I had the best of intentions and genuinely loved my friend, I missed the mark because I lacked strategy. I wasn’t being intentional. As we really get into 2018, I think it’s a great time to ask, what type of relationships do we want to have? Normal or intentional. How do we prepare ourselves to value others above ourselves? What does that look like? It looks inconvenient and messy and uncomfortable. But it also looks like the Kingdom of God. It looks inconvenient because it’s considering other’s needs. It looks messy because it’s being a friend in times of adversity. It looks uncomfortable because it’s restoring those in sin gently. Sometimes it’s braving conflict to repair relationships. Sometimes it’s heart-racing scary because what you need to say will put you in the doghouse. Sometimes it’s humbling because just when you put your feet up to relax, God calls you to serve someone. Obviously, we can’t maintain that type of relationship with every person we care about. It would simply be too exhausting. What if God has specific people He wants us to pursue, love, support, and hold accountable through easy times and hard times? What if He also has people who will do the same for us? What if it’s our job to set aside time to really ask Him where those relationships are and what they are supposed to look like? What if we obeyed as if it were a holy calling? That would be intentional relationship. Getting that text was my personal wake-up call. I know that friend is a God-appointed relationship. I don’t want to just be a coffee friend. Or a playdate friend. I want her to know I’m a call-any-time-of-the-night-if-you-need-me friend. What does that look like? What will that look like for you? Answering that in my own life, I created a strategy workbook for help. It may seem a bit OCD but I know when things aren’t solidified, they are forgotten. I’d love to share my relationship workbook with you and answer any questions you may have. Because intention + action = effectiveness. Action Steps: ➽Consider how you can go deeper this year, serving, edifying, and holding each other accountable. ➽Reflect on Hebrews 10:24-25, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” ➽Download and fill out the relationship strategy workbook (http://www.stephaniemgammon.com/loving-with-intention/).