Why Not Be Good At It?

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“We have to do relationships everyday. So…why not be good at it?” -Jill Kern

Over the summer, my home church (Summit) hosted a women’s series called “For Her”. I cannot say enough amazing things about how much I love this series every summer. I could definitely write a blog post about each talk and how it has impacted my life…and maybe one day I will. But, for now, I just really have it laid on my heart to share and remind myself about the talk that one woman in particular shared.

Jill Kern is one of the most intentional, genuine, caring, detailed, and Godly women at my church. She runs Base Camp, which is our church nursery. But, her job is so much more than making sure volunteers show up on Sundays or babies get fed and changed. Her intentional planning and heart for children’s ministry is something that, as a mama, I value more than almost anything else at our church.

The focus of Jill’s talk was “Moments”. The overlying message was how to make the most of our moments with the people God has placed in our lives. She broke down our relationships into three different groups of people: Intersection People, Pathway People, and Front Porch People and spoke to how we can become better with our interactions with these people so that we can make the most of our time with them.

Now, I want to make sure I say this from the get-go, that the majority of what I write to you today is going to be Jill’s words and not my own. I fiercely jotted down as much wisdom from Jill’s lips as I could to remind myself of just how important the interactions and intentionality in our relationships are. So, again, this is not my wisdom, but hers–with a few of my own thoughts and ideas scattered throughout.

I hope this speaks to your heart today and challenges you to be good at relationships, too.

We have to do relationships everyday,…so why not be good at it?

Focus on the person and not the situation.

(These two ideas will be the thoughts we continually come back to.)

Intersection People: These are the people we intersect with everyday at stores, restaurants, school, family, friends, etc.

  • Talk first and talk positive.
    • Essentially, be the initiator, rather than waiting for others to initiate relationship with you. You can set the tone for an interaction, so set the tone by being positive.
      • “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” -Colossians 3:12
  • Be courteous and give compliments.
  • Thank someone for something you think they should already be doing without any thanks.
    • This one is huge, because it takes EFFORT on your part. We all assume that people should do their job and do it well or correctly. But how often do we give recognition to those people for doing a great job? How often do you stop a server to give an extra thanks at a restaurant? How often do you thank your child’s teacher for loving your child and teaching them every single day? How often do you thank your mailman or the cashier at Target, or the pastor of your church?
    • Sometimes, the biggest thing you can do for someone is SEE them, RECOGNIZE them, and let them know that what they do matters, even when they don’t feel like it does.

Pathway People: These people journey with us for a certain amount of time.

**Keep doing the previous things but add to it.**

  • Ask questions–become good at this.
    • This is something that I am working on right now in my own life. I often feel like a conversational dummy. As extroverted as I tend to be at times, I am also incredibly introverted and doubt myself around others often. I am much more comfortable when someone else is driving the conversation. It feels safer and less intimidating. But man, oh man…how often I miss out on opportunities to learn more about others or deepen relationship with them because I’ve held back the question I really want to ask.
    • Do you have any go-to conversation starters or questions that help foster community and relationship? If so, please share in the comments below!
  • Listen (not waiting to respond)–do this with everyone but listen to the part that’s about them. If someone is sharing an opinion or view that’s not like yours, this is all the more time to listen and ask questions.
  • Encourage someone as long as you have breath in your lungs to encourage them. Don’t wait for someone else to do that. Be that someone.
    • Great golly gosh…this one speaks so deeply to me. My primary love language is words of affirmation. I know how life-giving words can be. I know that on my worst of days that if even just one person speaks encouragement to me…oh, how it changes my whole spirit.
    • Ya’ll I know this one can be hard. Encouragement takes effort and intentionality. But when you think about the times that someone has reached out to you, spoken life into you, saw you when nobody else did…didn’t it make a world of a difference? What would have happened if they didn’t? Someone has to make the first move. Someone has to speak life and truth. So…why not let that someone be you?
  • Spend time. Relationships are an investment.
    • New mamas, I see you. Busy college student, I see you. Single mom, I see you. Overworked teacher, I see you. Girl, I see YOU. We all have “stuff” that is going to take up our time. A lot of it is even important stuff. But the “stuff” will always be there. Relationships are so important. Make the time for the people that matter. Find the people that understand that you’re busy and that can relate because they’re busy too, BUT that seek out relationship with you anyway.
  • Believe the best. Don’t assume the worst.
  • Encourage your friends with that too ^
  • Talk about Jesus. Encourage your friends to read the Bible and encourage them to be the person that God created them to be.
    • I’m so very thankful that in this season of life, God has gifted me with some incredible women that I get to learn about Jesus with and do life with. My ‘Women of Wednesday’ ladies…ya’ll are the reason my faith is as strong as it is right now. Thank you for sharpening me and holding me accountable. Life with you is so full and rich because you reflect Jesus to me.

Front Porch PeopleThese people will be at your funeral or you will be at theirs. This is the deepest level relationship.

**Again, keep doing the previous things but add to it.**

  • Reassurance–you tell them you’re not going anywhere. Commitment and longevity is key.
    • Try your best in times of frustration to never show your kids that they are too much to handle.
      • Your kids shouldn’t have to “earn” your love or your respect. When you love them the way Jesus calls us to love one another, there is no merit required. They should know that no matter what they do, they can’t push you away or make you love them less. Every kid needs a champion in their corner that roots them on and loves them.
  • Forgiveness–we will be hurt and we will hurt. Say sorry as much as needed. Forgive as often as you need to forgive. We forgive because God forgave us first.

So, I don’t know about you…but this outlook on relationships has been a huge heart and mind shift for me. There are so many things that I’m still working on and I am by no means an expert at relationships. But, using these notes from Jill, I have a pretty great outline for where I’m headed. God did not intend for us to be isolated or lonely people. He created fellowship and community because He knew that we need each other. So…why not be good at loving each other? Why not be intentional? Why not make the most of the time we have with the people beside us while we’ve got them?

Which areas are you working on? I’d love to hear how you plan to be intentional with your relationships.

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