I taught you to fight and to fly. What more could there be?
J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan and Wendy
Do you have people in your life that empower you to both fight and fly. There is no fairy dust involved but something quite intangible happens when we connect deeply together.
In these relationships an imperceptible strength mutually grows.
Finding a commonality to the struggle gives hope that we can go on and fly to great heights together. We all need relationships, safe non judging relationships where we can be known, explored, touched and discovered.
Do you have a need for this? For someone who will accept you as you are, warts and all with complete unconditional, no strings attached, love.
One of my favourite little Bible stories is that of Jesus after his death and resurrection just walking with a couple of his followers. As they walk along he talks with them about all the events.
That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him.
By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, but they begged him, “Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.” So he went home with them. As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared!
They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24
They had found their well of refreshing. They were learning how to both fight and fly.
There is something within us that desires relationship, community, and the presence of someone else.
Blaise Pascal wrote this
There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus. Blaise Pascal
Blaise got it right. The vacuum in my heart can’t be truly filled by anything other than a knowing of God through his own expression of being human (Jesus). Yet don’t we have an expectation, subconscious, that this or that person meet our needs? And when they don’t live up to our expectations we get our noses out of joint?
Having a Rhythm of Connection calls us to have meaningful deep relationships with a few others on a regular basis.
How many deep relationships can you truly have in your life? Relationships where there is strong connection of felt purpose.
Alongside my spouse, I probably only have about three others where I can say that I have this type of deep connection. Into those relationships I pour regular commitments of time, prayer, and openness.
These relationships are strong because we have committed ourselves to these connections in deeply vulnerable ways. We have exposed our weaknesses and haven’t felt shamed or put down.
I have met with many who have been hurt in relationships, in fact I would say that it would be impossible to find someone who hasn’t.
Yet it is in these places of both friction and warmth that God works his changes in us.
To build in a rhythm of connection requires an intentionality to meet, converse and connect with a few others. For me it is my wife and family, then a couple of good friends.
Each Thursday I have lunch with two other guys. We don’t study the bible, pray or any other so-called ‘spiritual activities’. Instead we just talk about whatever comes up. No agenda, no plan, just relating. In this ‘free for all’ conversation there has grown a trust that when those tough times hit, and they surely do, there is a community that will listen.
How to develop a Rhythm of Connection.
Ask for Gods direction to that someone who wants to learn how to both fight and fly. They probably are already in your circle of relationships but maybe God wants to bring someone new to you.
2. Check your attitude.
This is not a W.I.I.F.M. (What’s In It For Me) activity. This is a place of mutual support and it starts with an attitude of seeking to serve.
3. Schedule a time.
Don’t leave the prospect of deep relationship up to the whims of availability. ‘Hey, lets catch up for lunch sometime’. Instead be intentional, set a time each week to meet and connect.
4. Seek out a Spirit led compelling vision for each person.
I want to see those that I deeply love grow in their faith and statue. To see them learn how to both ‘fight and fly’. So I prayerfully ask God to give me a compelling vision for them. What would they be like if they fully surrendered more of themselves to God? What is it, in them, that God takes delight in and invites me to do likewise. Learn more about creating a compelling vision here.
5. Commit to the long haul.
We live in such an instant culture. The deep benefits of having a rhythm of relating with just a handful of others don’t appear in a few weeks. Instead they become apparent after many seasons of conversation. It takes time to build trust and openness, and only storms can weld a team together.
Quotes to reflect on.
- People with handicaps teach me that being is more important than doing, the heart is more important than the mind, and caring together is better than caring alone. Henri Nouwen
- One thing we can know for sure is that when we are confessing our sin to God but not to the people around us in ordinary, nitty-gritty life, there is not much real spiritual transformation going on. Ruth Haley Barton
- A friend is more than a therapist or confessor, even though a friend can sometimes heal us and offer us God’s forgiveness. A friend is that other person with whom we can share our solitude, our silence, and our prayer. A friend is that other person with whom we can look at a tree and say, “Isn’t that beautiful,” or sit on the beach and silently watch the sun disappear under the horizon. With a friend we don’t have to say or do something special. With a friend we can be still and know that God is there with both of us. Henri J.M. Nouwen
- To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable. C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
Questions to consider
- If you were on that Emmaus road what would you be asking?
- What would it be like if a few close others had a Spirit led compelling vision for you?
- What holds you back from being more open and honest in the closest of your relationships?
- What would it be like to have someone gently curious about you? Curious to know, explore, discover, and touch some of your deepest fears.
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Read the other posts in this series