Refresh Friday

“It is a wonderful thing to find someone else who, when we are low, can speak to us words of real encouragement. In the church of Christ this ought to be more common than it is. Nevertheless, even in a good church people experience a certain measure of isolation, a certain poverty of human fellowship, and this is not without purpose.

For this loneliness, this place in our hearts that no other human being can touch, is the place reserved for God alone, the place that only He can fill.

  • No other human being can love us as God does.
  • No other person can speak to us from the bottom of our own hearts as the Holy Spirit does.
  • No one else can plumb the mystery of our character and discern our peculiar needs and gifts as clearly as we ourselves can, by the Spirit’s light.

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The…need for every individual [is] to cultivate a deep life of personal prayer and to hear and to heed the voice of the Lord. We need to take our problems to God first, before rushing out to spill them to others….Before we are answerable to any other person, we are answerable directly to the Lord, and in His eyes there is nothing more precious, no higher authority, than this intimate personal bond in which ‘deep calls to deep’ (Ps. 42:7).”

– from The Gospel According to Job: An Honest Look at Pain and Doubt From the Life of One Who Lost Everything, Mike Mason

I pray today that you find your deepest satisfaction and sense of being wholly understood in the One who created you.

Your Thoughts: A Better Question

“How are you?”

I’d guess this is one of people’s most common greetings. And I’ve found it one of the most meaningless ones. Not that some people who ask this aren’t sincere in wanting a real answer. But it’s usually said as commonly as “hello” and not really intended to be answered…not really. I mentally kick myself when I use it casually.

The truth is, most of us answer, “I’m good, fine,” or some variant of the two, while beneath the mask, we’re struggling, hurting, in pain, grief, feeling the fatigue of life, etc.

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So recently I have tried to do things a bit differently: “What things are new in your life lately?”

And then really listening. And asking questions to keep the conversation going and letting the person know I actually do want to hear. Even if it means stopping what I am doing for a few minutes (these few minutes aren’t mine anyway, they’re His). Even if I can’t do anything to change what they’re telling me.

Sometimes the best way…the simplest way…to show someone who Christ is can be just to listen. With patience and kindness. With interest.

Tell me…what ideas do you have for better ways to open up conversations with people that lets them know you actually want to connect with them, if only for a few moments? I’d like to hear your experiences.