Sunday, April 06, 2014

7 Ways Deeper Happens


Back in January,  I talked about wanting to go deeper this year-deeper in my relationship with God and others, deeper in my reading and deeper in my conversations.   As I age, I realise that all this will take time and a bit of discipline on my part.  Quick fixes aren't usually good fixes.   Great plans don't happen over night.  So where do I start?  We can't necessarily make deeper happen but there are some  common traits of deeper relationships.   Some things we can control, and the rest are a gift from God. So here is my list.

1. Going deeper takes time.  

We can't necessarily get to know someone really well unless we spend time together sharing our lives, thoughts and dreams.  My deepest friendships are with those I have known since my college days or since W was a baby.  Time was spent in late night discussions, walks around the park or watching our kids play on the McDonald's playground.   We chatted about the future, the challenges of raising kids, and our favourite books.  Now we don't get this quantity of time together, but the history is still there to talk and share at a deeper level.

2. Going deeper takes consistency especially in our relationship with God.  

I not only need time with God but consistent time with Him.  Daniel knew this.  As a captive in Babylon, Daniel was known for praying 3 times a day without fail even when it meant a night in the lions' den.  It was this consistency that paved that way for his deeper time with God when he asked for understanding of the future.  God granted Daniel his request resulting in some visions that foretold the future.   As a resident in a foreign land, my daily time is an anchor to the insecurity that is often all around.   I crave this daily time for survival.  If I miss a day, I feel it.

3. Going deeper requires vulnerability. 

 It demands honesty and transparency.  We can spend all day every day with someone but if we are never vulnerable, the relationship will not go deeper.  Of course, all relationships aren't meant to go deeper but some are.  I have some ladies who help keep me accountable.  It is with them that I can be the most vulnerable.  It is also with them that I feel the deepest connection.

4. Going deeper happens during the hard times.  

It is during the storms that we cling to God and each other.   Some of my closest friends on our team were those who went through language school with my family.  We went through the ups and downs of learning a new language and culture together.  With family far away, we had to depend on each other as one friend had a baby and another had an emergency appendectomy.   We knew each others' weakness but didn't let those get in the way of our friendship.

Some of my most intimate moments with God were during hard times.   One such time was when my son was going through some health issues and my husband had long work hours.  I remember evenings listening to worship music, reading, praying, and crying.   I would not ask for that again, but would not take away that time either.

5.  Going deeper demands grace.  

We are all sinners.  Hopefully we are also sinners saved by grace.  In relationships where people take us as we are, life is beautiful.  It is in this place where we can grow and become more like God made us to be.  We are encouraged to take risks and given grace when we mess up.  Grace works best when combined with #6.

6. Going deeper means asking the hard questions and sometimes having difficult conversations.  

In marriage, especially, this is much needed.  Just this past weekend, my husband confronted me about the way I was speaking to our son.  It was hard for both of us.  I cried realising that his words were true.  I repented thankful that God was using my husband to not only help me go deeper in my relationship with my family but also with God.  When sin is in my life, my relationship with God is at a stalemate.  Sin also affects my relationship with others.  By having people in our lives that point out the sin in our lives, we have the opportunity to go deeper.

7. Going deeper takes trust.  

Trust that our words will be kept in confidence.  Trust that promises will be kept.  With God, trust that He works all things to our good and is not finished with us yet.  Trust that He will never leave us or forsake us.

 As I see this list, I am thankful for the people God has sent my way that I have been able to have a deeper relationship with.  I am also aware of where I am now and my need to strengthen current relationships.  The list challenges me to be more intentional in my relationships and more conscious of how much grace and trust I exhibit to those I am spending time with.

What are some other traits of going deeper that you have seen?  What has helped you?






2 comments:

Betsy Cruz said...

This is a wonderful, thoughtful piece of writing, TJ. Good food for thought. In a few words you cover the bases of relationship with God, marriage, family and friends. Wow. We've been through a difficult spot lately in our family life, so this encourages me.

TJ said...

Betsy, Thank you for your kinds words. I am glad the post encouraged you. I wrote it as a reminder to myself of things I need to be doing in my daily life.