Originally published Friday, 18 July 2014.
... And I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ's sake. For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother. Philemon 6-7 NAS
Sharing life isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s messy and emotional. But often times it can be an absolute joy.
Last year, I had a decade changer birthday. The day before I took the plunge into a new season, I asked a few delightful sisters in the Lord if they would come out with me for a night of fun... I just needed to squeeze in one more bit of fun before I said farewell to this decade. It hadn’t been the decade I expected it to be, and life lately was just begging for some fun injected into it. So I told them I just needed to make one more fun memory before the calendar changed. We had dinner at one gal’s house (amazing dinner! she’s such a great cook!) and then headed to the beach to a fondue restaurant for dessert. It was such fun I think I was smiling inside for two months after.
A week or so later I realized how often I spend my “people energy” on the harder situations. Ministry (or any people-helping occupation) requires a lot of social interaction that isn’t meant to be for your personal pleasure. People have issues that they need an ear to sort through, sometimes they feel the need to have a good cry or holler, and serving people means being a shoulder for their heart needs. But that night of fun was just easy joy. No troubles to sort. No burdens to lift. Just women enjoying each other and chocolate (praise Jesus!).
After that evening I realized I needed to put a little time and energy on reserve for fun “people energy”... yes, my husband had been telling me this for forever, but I finally felt it.
Even the apostle Paul, who I image was like the Energizer bunny of God’s servants, cultivated relationship that refreshed his heart, brought him joy and comforted his soul (that’s what he says in the verse above to Philemon). We were made to live in community. I have been so blessed by mentoring relationships (both those I’ve discipled and those who have discipled me). As a young teenager, women’s ministry really meant a ton to my heart because it was a place I found those extra “moms” I needed along the way. The opportunity to watch women in community and share life with them was like water and fertilizer for my heart. I honestly can’t imagine the wild direction my life might have taken without those women who were funnels of love, truth and blessing. And I still have need for women to speak into my life and heart--and so do you, my friend! Whether it’s a mentor or just a sister along side, we all need someone to share our everyday with... and perhaps share some chocolate, or tea, or cappuccino, or a side-splitting-laughing-fit!
So what are you doing to cultivate some sweetness with sisters in the Lord? Summer is a perfect time to hit pause and insert some relationship building time. Perhaps you need to spend some effort and time with your spouse or children that is just for fun and joy, perhaps it’s friends or extended family who refresh your heart. Whoever and whatever, may you find the Lord’s refreshing through those near and dear to you!