We had amazing time at Integrate EXTRA today. After an hour and a half of games, crafts and sports for all the family, we gathered around meal tables. At the table we spent time in worship, doing games and learning about friendship.
With a loneliness epidemic in the west it is so important that we learn to make friends,keep friends and help others to make friends.
The Integrate community, being such a friendly bunch,were really good at identifying lots of qualities and actions that are needed for good friendships. We thought about talking openly, truly listening, being trustworthy and honest and remembering to smile and have fun. We also noted that some people have lots of aquaintances but feel that because they have not been able to be open and vulnerable with people, the real them is never seen and so they feel lonely.
Right at the beginning of the Bible, there is the first of many words about the importance of friendship and relationship. ” It is not good to be alone” It is in relationships and friendships that we give support and receive support. In friendships we grow and develop as people learning from each other and having rough edges smoothed.
However I am convinced that the most important friendship anyone can develop is a friendship with God. As with other friendships this includes speaking (prayer) and listening (silent prayer), it involves trust and responsibility ( doing actions that we known are right and good) and it involves learning to know the other better( reading the Bible and spending time with God and thinking about God).
Abraham has been described as a friend of God. He grew in his knowledge and love of God. He listened to God and followed even when he couldn’t see or understand the full picture. When we grow in our friendship with God we realise that we are truly never alone. We have someone who has always got our back and is always ready and willing to listen, encourage, challenge and strengthen. And people who really deepen their friendship with God also find that their other friendships also deepen.
Things to ponder:
Are your friendships deepening?
When was the last time you made yourself vulnerable outside of your immediate family?
Are their people who you could help develop deeper friendships?
Could you be described as a friend of God?
You version Bible app ( The Bible plus loads of resources about how to develop friendships, avoid fear, grow in joy etc)
Pray as you go app ( guided prayers and reflections)
Centering prayer app ( app to help you grow in silence and listening to God)
Spotify/Apple music/Amazon music/you tube ( so many great songs to listen to and sing along too.)