What Trials Reveal About Friendships

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Episode Summary

How are you going to re-enter life after quarantine? We should all be reflecting on the relationships & communities we are a part of and making decisions on how we want to re-enter when things get back to a new normal. It’s in times of challenge that the best discovery can happen, and we challenge you to pursue some self-discovery about your relationships so you can grow them and lead your family.

Biblical friendships are not self-focused, but rather Christ-centered. We should not be focused on what we want, but rather what we can give. It is our human nature to desire to be known, to be loved, and to feel valued. In times like these when we are not interacting as much with other people or friends face-to-face, it can be easy to get lost in our desire to be known and to become discontent. 

We mustn’t rely on our fleshly desires or other people to create peace and feel valued. At the end of the day, God is the only one who is constant. When we rely on him for peace, love, joy, and acceptance instead of people we will never find ourselves in a place of desperation when people fail us. 

Relationships are important, and yes, maybe your friends haven’t reached out to you, but what if they feel the same way? Have you reached out to people, or are you hiding away? Maybe you need to be the first to initiate? The truth is that we only get out of a relationship what we put into it, meaning we must invest in others, and have realistic expectations as well. Our relationship happiness should never be based upon what we receive. We all know that God loves a cheerful giver.

In This Episode We Cover:

1. Sowing & Reaping

2. How To Grow Relationships

3. Your Relationship With God

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Scripture In This Episode:

2 Corinthians 9:6-7 –But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountiful. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Proverbs 17:17 –A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

Hebrews 10:24-25 –And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

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Full Transcript

Welcome to Courageous Parenting Podcast, a weekly show to equip parents with biblical truth on raising confident Christian kids in an uncertain world. Hi, I’m Angie from Courageous Mom. And I’m Isaac from Resolute Man. We’ve been married 19 years and have seen the fruit in raising our eight kids biblically. Based on the raw truth found in the Bible.

We can no longer let the culture win the hearts of children. Too many children from Christian families are walking away from the faith by age 18. And it doesn’t have to be this way. It shouldn’t be this way. Join us as we start an important conversation about effective parenting in a fallen world.

Welcome back to the podcast. Hey, everybody. So we’re talking about friendships today. What trials reveal about friendships. We thought that be relevant to what we’re all dealing with right now.

Yeah. I mean, as this global pandemic continues around the world, a lot of people are experiencing stay at home orders of some kind or at least just not going out and not being as social as they normally are. And that can reveal a lot of different things.

Specifically, people have commented to us about feelings of isolation and loneliness. And so we’re going to talk a little bit about that today, but also about what it reveals regarding your friendships.

Well, first of all, how are you doing? How are you really doing? So if someone asked you a third time, no, really, we want to know, how you doing?

How would you answer that?

And I think it’s important to think about that, because we need to be edified. We need to be strong so we can lead for families and for others.

God made us social beings because we are made in his image and he’s a social being in community with himself. Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God, the father, three and one. And when we are trying to be obedient to the authorities that have access to stay at home as much as possible, specially for sick, it can be so life altering that we can easily become self-consumed and potentially not even reach out to people that we do love and care about, at least not in the same way that we used to. And that can reveal a lot of things to other people as well. Right.

And so if if you maybe haven’t been getting text messages or phone calls or you haven’t seen somebody from work or someone from church or a friend that you’ve had for a long time, and you’ve literally gone distant in your relationship over the last month or so, it’s time to reconsider and really be introspective and think about what kind of relationship you have sown.

Yeah, maybe it was just a relationship of circumstance, meaning you went to work, you had a good relationship with that other brother right now that you’re not working together. That relationship hasn’t been staying the course.

And as we were we were talking about this session before, we’re especially concerned for the body of Christ because the truth that we know from our personal experience, because we have been married for 20 years. And in those 20 years, we have only been a part of home church for about almost four years now.

But before that, we had thought about doing home church. Maybe we’ll share that story later in another podcast. But we know the difference between being a part of mega churches, large churches that are not mega churches, smaller churches, church plants and home churches, because we’ve experienced all of those and we have experienced firsthand what it can be like to walk into a church, even if you’re super involved in running ministries and walk out and not really connect with anybody. We’ve also experienced not showing up because of sickness or whatever and no one reaching out to us because they just assume that we went to a different service. And so here you have the coronavirus. And people are not able to gather in churches as we have for very long time. And people might potentially be like, wow, I thought I was friends with her or him. Yeah. And I haven’t heard from them at all since this whole thing started. And that might be really hurtful, actually.

You might ask yourself, have they heard from you? And but there’s a lot of things that loneliness can reveal. Trials can reveal periods of time that are unique like this can reveal in us. And instead of focusing on the negative things, we would ask you in this episode to focus on introspection, which is looking at yourself and thinking about what can I learn from this? What does this reveal about where my contribution is or my contribution is lacking in cultivating deep relationships? Where what is this reveal about my communities I am a part of? Yeah. And was it revealing about my own sin that I couldn’t see before? Maybe it’s selfishness. Maybe I’m getting angry because authorities are imposing something on me that’s hurting my relationships. Or maybe, you know, you have a spirit of independence and rebellious in your rebelling against authority when there are stay at home orders or things like that.

You know, it’s interesting as we were discussing this before. The first thing that came to my mind was what are we focusing on?

Like a lot of times, people can become really bitter, angry, sad, frustrated kind of going, wow, I thought I was friends with them and I haven’t even heard from them. And here I am sick and no one’s even reached out or offered a prayer or anything. Right. And it can be easy to focus on that, which is actually a mess. Say, this might seem harsh but im going to be blunt. And it’s actually reveals that we’re focusing on ourself and we have a self focused desire, an attitude and perspective towards our friendships,what are our friendships going to give us versus what can we give our friendships.

It’s funny you say that because I was just talking to a 4 year old this morning, Solomon, and he was lamenting about all the little hurts on his body, which he has a little a tiny little burn on one finger.

which is really is only hurt and it’s way on the mend. Oh, I know. And then he.

But then all of a sudden, his toe was hurting any other hurt here And he pointed out like five areas he’s hurting.

And then he’s like, I want to play with my brother’s toy. And I I really am bored. Create something for me to do, dad. What am I going to do? And I’m talking with him. And then I just look at I’m going to go.

All you’re doing is focusing on yourself. What a miserable existence that is horrible just to focus on yourself. Because now you’re looking for hurts.

Now you’re looking for hurts to complain about. I just talk to my kids like I would talk to clearly, because you use the word lamenting and miserable with a four year old. I love it. It’s like, Solomon, why are you being introspective? I’m not just thinking about myself. Yes, you are about. It’s funny, though.

That’s our human nature. And we need to recognize that we all struggle with that at times. But to be really honest and say, OK, why am I feeling down right now? Wow. OK. So that actually is a reflection of.

Self-focusedness and my desires when I actually haven’t even communicated what I need to my friend. Right. And so there’s a lack of communication on my part, which is sin. Right. Or your spouse. But then also there’s this element of pride potentially where you don’t let people in to know that you have needs or let people know what’s going on in your heart or your desire for a deeper friendship. And then you’re just angry that you don’t have a deeper friendship without having actually gone out on the limb and actually tried. Which is cultivated.

Which is our first point of we need to pay attention to where we’ve sold and where and how we’re reaping. Right.

The principle in the Bible of sowing and reaping and which is not just about money like the scripture that we have for you guys today is in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7.

And this is in regards to money. Yeah, primarily, but it can be applied to other things in our life.

And I think that it’s important that we understand that the spiritual law of sowing and reaping does apply to everything.

But this I say he who spares sorry. He used so sparingly will also reap sparingly. And he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully so let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. But the principle song reaping has to do with the heart in all things.

Well, and the thing that’s interesting is when you read this scripture, there’s one word here that I don’t notice. You know what I don’t notice when you were reading that, it just stood out to me. It says, so let each one give. It doesn’t say so. Let each one take.

Oh, yeah. Interesting. Right. And that it shows the difference between what our perspective is. If it’s self-focus then we’re like, why aren’t they serving me? Why aren’t they calling me? Why aren’t they doing these things for me?

And sometimes we can get in the mode of having just like money accounts in our mind. Mm hmm. Here’s how much of put in those accounts of those friendships and how much of those people put in my account in that friendship. And I think we need to not. There could be sometimes some relevancy to that, but it doesn’t really help you to think of accounts.

Well, see, I echo what you’re saying. That’s a really good perspective because they help you at all. No, it doesn’t. Because if you’re like, well, I’m always the one that’s giving in this relationship. And they’re never giving. They’re just always taking. Well, why were you giving in the first place? What did you have a cheerful heart attitude where you just giving without the expectation of receiving in return? Because that’s what real unconditional love is. Right. And I mean, there is an element of when you’re looking at like a biblical friendship, for example, there should be both people get absolutely right. And so you do need to evaluate your relationships and not be constantly pouring your self out to other people when no one else is.

But sometimes there are two sides to a story where you think you’re giving more or maybe they think the same thing. Right. You just never know. There’s different perspectives. And we should just have a lot of grace for each other, especially in tough times. And I think I think being introspective is what we’ve been talking about. What has your sewing reaped instead of deflecting and go? It’s they should this person hasn’t these things to go, well, what have I reaped in my relationships now that we can’t physically be near each other?

Right. And and I’ll be honest with you guys, the depth of your relationship should not be altered or changed by a stay at home order.

I know that the younger generations, like the millennial generation and even younger than that, they are used to a social world, like with social media texting. We didn’t have that actually for many, many years. Most of our lives actually to where it’s on for us. Getting on the phone and picking up the phone and having a phone conversation is not an awkward new thing. Whereas even with our kids, I know that for them, some of them, it is because they’re used to just texting. And so this is a time to stretch out of your comfort zones is where I’m going with that. Oh, yeah. And that we need to find creative ways to actually connect, because the depth of your relationship should not be changed based upon not being able to see each other face to face for a short period of time. You can utilize zoom calls. We’ve been doing that with our church.

Or maybe you’ve been posting on social media and normally your friends like things. But since you’ve been home, there’s not much to boast about. You’re not getting that dopamine release of people like us, which isn’t real relationships anyways, right?

It does really.

Should dopamine release that? We get addicted to it. And then in addition to that, you’re used to texting and you don’t usually call because I see people and then I text them when I don’t see them. Now you can’t see them, you’re only texting. Maybe that’s not going very well. And maybe there’s like maybe this is revealing this to the poor communication we always have. And it’s just more glaring right now.

Or even it could be like I just want to go back to what you were talking about regarding social. I’m putting posts up and then the dopamine release and how that can be addictive because I think that you’re onto something there. If we were just to continue with that follow even a little bit longer, because a lot of times people will get their satisfaction in that right. They find their contentment, their joy, their happiness is dependent upon accolades from other people. And if they’re at home and they’re not living the life that they normally are living, that’s so glamorous, right? Like we have celebrities that are normally traveling and doing all these big things and they’re at home just like all of us right now. Right. And so the reality is, is if they don’t have something to post and then they feel negative about themselves because they’re not getting accolades, that actually that right there reveals where they’re finding their identity, where they’re finding their joy.

And it’s in a false hope, actually, which is why that would lead to depression and other things like that.

And so I think that it’s important that we are being we’ve been saying it over and over again, being introspective.

But we also need to try harder and we need to step out of our comfort zones. Do face time. Praise God for all the technology we have. Utilize it. Yeah. And there’s another scripture that we were gonna share with them. That’s in Proverbs 17:17. This is a fantastic proverb. You ready? You ready? Listen. Are you ready? He’s good. A friend loves at all times. And a brother is born for adversity.

So you really know who you’re close friends or your deep friendships where you’ve sown deeply with people. When you face trials.

Yeah. And I the thing that’s interesting about this, though, is that you get to know who your real sister or real brother is. Because the reality is, is some people are not a real friend. And I think that that can be the hardest part about what we’re all walking through right now. Right. Is that. I know that for me, I can speak to both having experienced biblical friendship and walking through hard times like miscarriage, where the women in our church were totally there for me.

They wanted to be there with me, actually, and I was able to open up my life and have a couple of them come right after the women’s gathering and they stayed with us while the last few hours of losing our last baby mercy. And that was special. We had worship music going. We listened to worship music together. We prayed together.

They cried with me, kissed my four head, you know, when my company went out of business, people showing up with truckloads of meat to providing for our family money, showing up to just even cancel wise cancel this time helping us rebuild. Yeah.

You know, there we have. We have walked through massive trials where we have seen real sisters and brothers rise up and walk towards us in our suffering. But we’ve also experienced the opposite to where we have walked through trials. And then the people that we thought were our closest friends all of a sudden disappeared and were unheard from. And, you know, part of that I try to always have grace and this is my message to you is that I would encourage you to have grace with them, because maybe they’re just not spiritually mature enough to be able to handle what real trials are like.

Like if they’ve never dealt with death or miscarriage, they and they just don’t know what to say. They’re allowing their. I don’t know what to say to affect their ability to actually have compassion and empathy with someone, which is a lack of spiritual maturity. Actually, I also don’t know what’s going on in their marriage.

Or maybe you do because you’re deeper friends. Yeah.

There are some unknowns, but my point in sharing this with you is that you have to like allow people to be on their own spiritual journey and that doesn’t mean that you ditch those friendships.

It just means that you have a more awareness of what you can expect from them. And it’s not necessarily that they’re gonna be the ones that can walk through the hard times with you. And I’ve had that’s been a reality. Like when we were out, I was on bed rest with our sixth baby and I was puking 14, 16 times a day, threw my back out. I was paralyzed from the waist down in the hospital for a few weeks.

And during that time, people that I would have thought would have come and visited me in the hospital did not. And in fact, we only had one person come visit us. There was an older lady from our church. No other friends showed up at the hospital. I was there three weeks well, so I think there was two older ladies.

There was a wife of a gentleman that we understand came to our home.

I’m time now at the hospital for three weeks. Take care.

In that particular example was really touching because we weren’t super close with them total ages, but we went to church with them and all of a sudden this wife who had young kids herself sacrificed and came in and she was she was cooking food for our family.

And then our pastor’s wife came in and homeschooled our kids for like a month until she got cancer. At the time, I knew that I had literally handed yet for and because I was on bed rest for three months, we had to have people helping us.

But at that time we were I mean, honestly was more like a home church setting because there were only five or six families that were going to that church and we were the youngest family there.

And that was an opportunity to grow friendships in adversity that I would have never thought I would have been close to, which is the point.

And why I’m bringing this story up is that sometimes that’s why that particular passage that we just read in Proverbs that a brother is born for adversity like, that I would have never guessed that I’d be close to some of those women. And they have called such a dear place in my heart because we were in a time of adversity and they became sisters. They served us.

So you might be wondering, oh, I want friends like that. I have had people show up during those times. Some of your like. I have. And I know about that. But I want more of that. Yeah.

And the question we have for you is, are you purpose? Are you considering that as a priority when you decide where you’re going to church? Do you consider that as a priority in the kinds of communities you put yourself into?

So I have to say something about this, too, because this this particular conversation that what you’re bringing up is our perspective on what we’re joining. Whether it’s a community, a church. Right. And you know what?

I do remember Weimaraner RV trip on the way home. You asked all of us in the family. How do you want to re-enter community? Because we had been gone for three months. I think that would be a great question to post to everyone on the podcast, because they’ve been pulled away from all of their communities, all of their activities. How do you want to re-enter your friendships and your community back up for a second?

So the reason for that was more positive than anything. Yeah, and you should look at this positively. So you’ve had a break from physically being around people. So that’s a good time for reflection. Is good time to hear what God’s. Telling you it’s a good time to have introspection about your own areas of improvement and then look at how have I showed up and how am I looked at respected or not respected, loved or not loved. How are you contributing or not contributing?

And look at that and go, is that how I want to contribute? Is that how I want to be loved?

Is that how I want to bring meaning to the community and part of it if it’s not? What a beautiful opportunity to purposely think about it. And then when the time comes to re-insert, you already have a plan. So I asked everyone and family, every single person, except for maybe Solomon, who’s pretty young. Then his two had a little a list.

And you know what? Those things happen. We came back. That was amazing.

Yeah. I mean, everything from one of our daughters wanting to be viewed more as a woman within our biblical community and church. She was at that transitional stage just before the biblical womanhood ceremony that we do.

If you’re interested in that, we have a podcast on those who go look those up in Season 1 and this could be your work, two guys or gals if you work out of the home. So it’s how do I want to re-enter that community? I don’t want these relationships.

how do I want to be respected? Yeah. And I’ll just share like for me, I wanted to be fully who I was. I was holding back. Meaning? So the gift.

The spiritual gift of spiritual discernment and exhortation. So exhortation especially.

I think that people don’t really like that gift. They don’t allow it to exist very much. And what I mean by that is that correcting, admonishing, teaching, instructing gift where it’s like you see sin in somebodies life and you actually call them out on it instead of letting them just continue in the bondage, in the circulation of going over and over and over. Oh, woe is me over and over again. And and I just felt like God was saying, Angie, you need to be this. Because I would constantly see things and I’d bring them my husband. And it was frustrating for me. I’d ask God to take it away from me, but he encouraged me. Isaac did. No, God gave this to you. You need to embrace it. you need to steward it. It’s one of the talents that he’s given you. You need to do something with it. And so that became my thing of this is how I want to re-enter community. I want to be great bringing my gift to the table because the whole body will be better. Edified and I did. it was hard at first.

Here’s the thing.

I want to give a warning, because sometimes the power God gives you, the gifts God gives you are not well received. And it depends on the community. Sometimes there’s insecure leadership around you and sometimes you’re not using the gifts appropriately, too.

So it could be your fault. It could be. The environment you’re in is not welcoming of that. I would always air on the side of introspection, looking at myself, asking God to reveal things to me. But also there might be some conversations, one to one you need to have leading up to this reentry or during this reentry and going, hey, here’s have enjoyed. I really feel like God’s gift to me in the help’s helping more.

Yeah, it’s one of the special gifts if you do that helps. And so I want to find ways to help more people in need at our church.

And that would be really cool. So I think that, you know, ultimately you have it. We we all have a reset button right now actually regarding most of our relationships in the sense that if we’re really introspective and we’re honest, we can go back, start reentering into fellowship with people, pursuing people, you know, communicating.

But we could come in with this different purpose and be more of who we believe God has for us to be. But the reality is, is we actually need communicate with people about that, too, so that there is a different receptiveness, which I think was really important. I know that when we returned home, we had a women’s meeting at our church and I just shared with them about this concept of how do you want to re-enter community? And I shared with them about what I felt like I was holding back and I asked for forgiveness that I had held that back because it actually was preventing further spiritual growth in my sisters. And I knew that and they were all very receptive. And then as I started like sharing things and being more who I wasn’t, just sharing them right away, it there was no like thinking beyond that. It wasn’t this thing that was tempting me to constantly dwell on and and stuff.

And so there I just am sharing that brief little story with you to challenge you and go, what is it that you’re holding back from your friendships? And like we said before, do we have a selfish perspective on the friendships and trying to take versus what can we give and leading those friendships?

A lot of people are not comfortable with deep biblical friendship.

So we’ve kind of gotten into this second point already, but it’s good. It’s how to grow your relationships. And I would say one of the key things is to pray for that relationship. If you’re just pursuing. Relationship with somebody in your own strength.

You’re missing out on the power of God because, you know, it’s cool when you pray. God can literally in that same moment convict the friend. Yeah. That they’re missed. Right.

And I think that also sometimes we don’t know what to pray for, for people in the Bible says that the Holy Spirit can intercede on our behalf with groans and and and different things. And I think that it’s important that when we’re praying under the leadership of the Holy Spirit versus praying under the leadership of our mind and our thoughts, our prayers change to where they. It becomes more of a conversation between you and God, where the Holy Spirit is revealing things to you to pray for and even just praying in silence. And the Lord knows what that other person needs. And I think that there’s an element of like how how committed are you to your friendships can be determined based upon how much time you’re willing to spend praying for your friendships.

And actually, because the reality is, is if we don’t go to God and we’re just like self-focused and it’s about us, then that’s when friendships don’t go well. But I think that prayer is definitely a huge part of it. And I would say if you want to have deeper biblical friendships, you should actually lead or invoke praying together.

Yeah, that’s super powerful. That’s when you actually get to know what’s on someone’s heart when you hear them crying out to God.

Now we have some super compelling tips. We want to give you some pause for a moment, because usually I say this the beginning, but we’re so thankful for everybody. That’s part of the one million legacy movement. Everything we’re doing with you and we’re totally called by God to do this. And it’s been amazing just in times where we’re like, how how’s this going to work out? Another donation shows up or, you know, or courses or purchased. And we’re getting the feedback. So many people jumped into the homeschool blueprint, which is just launching. I find that a courageous parenting.com in the menu where the show notes for this episode, of course, that courageous parenting icon hit podcasts and get all the show notes and info about this podcast episode and also the people that the parenting mentor program. All these things help us go move forward and full time ministry.

It’s a blessing, but we pour our hearts into everything. We feel like God is giving us wisdom as we’re doing these things. And it’s just really encouraging for us more even more than the money. It’s encouraging us to get the feedback and see people sharing it and sharing the movement. So we’re really thankful.

And you guys, I just want you to know that we try to reinvest as well, you know, in you guys, in being able to create different courses like the homeschool blueprint, which is the newest thing that we’ve been working on. And so when you are donating to our ministry, you’re actually furthering the ministry in and helping equip other parents to be courageous parents for this uncertain world and all different kinds of avenues, whether it’s just biblical parenting, parents that are struggling with that and doing the parenting mental program or parents who are like, I don’t know what I’m doing with this homeschooling thing or I need rejuvenation, I need new vision. Something needs to change in order from, you know, attain you know, it’s interesting.

Something fascinating, I’m sure that anybody we haven’t actually talked about this clearly like this, but something been happening this year and God orchestrates things, actually. Is that for every course that someone has bought, we’ve given at least another course away.

And that wasn’t a calculated thing that has just happened. And we didn’t happen like that last year, but it’s been happening this year. And I’m wondering if God’s calling us to just proclaim that then on the Web site, make a promise to people that we’re going to do that. I don’t know for him to do that yet, but that’s what has been happening in my heart is full. I think it is. And it’s full, too, about.

It’s just really neat because right now not everybody can afford it. Some people can’t afford anything, you know? Yeah. And and so that’s been really, really neat. So anytime you’re purchasing a course, just know that probably someone else’s that really needs it and can’t afford it.

It’s probably getting help with that, too. So let’s dive more into this. So invest in initiate. We’ve talked about this a little bit, but as you reflecting on your relationships, you’re realizing where maybe you haven’t invested in the proper ways in initiated. You know, it’s never too late. It’s how can you initiate right now one way? I just told somebody this the other day, why don’t you write them a letter?

Yeah, and an old fashioned letter.

Aren’t, you know, snail mail? Are you addicted to getting your mail right now?

We’re always like going to the mailbox.

You know, it was obvious that I’m like, is that what you say?

But you should think about who would just be so delighted to get a hand written letter from me right now. Yeah, those things are treasured. No, they’re not a commodity. When there was a time where handwritten letters were a commodity, everybody.

You know, people were annoyed by all the mail.

And so now it’s not happen anymore. Somebody wrote a letter. It wasn’t even typed and they signed it. it’s so special.

I think that too, when we actually think about how we can invest like writing a letter.

I just want to encourage you that in biblical friendship, we should never be focused on what we would want. And then giving people that we need to actually think about the other person, think about had their most valued. Think about how they’re wired and try to serve them in the way that they’re going to feel most loved. Because to some person getting no, I think to most people getting a letter would be really beautiful right now, but they would be thankful for that. But the reality is, as some people, their gift is words of affirmation. So getting a letter written to them is going to mean so much. I know that that’s something that’s huge to me. But for other people, it’s quality time. So taking time out and doing a face time call and, you know, spending that time with a person, listening to their heart, encouraging them, even though it’s an investment and it’s hard to get away from the kids and different things that’s going on right now because we’re all at home. It is something that’s necessary. We actually need to purposefully try to invest in our relationships with one another.

So just be the first. If it’s not happening and go for it. And to everybody has this kind of desire to be known. Whether we admit it or not, yeah, we desire to be really known. And sometimes if you don’t feel known, you’re these silent thoughts of desperation. Nobody knows. Nobody understands. Nobody gets me. Nobody’s in the same situation I’m in.

And you know what that might be?

The enemy is definitely a door for the enemy to speak doubts in your head. You take every thought.

Captive, captive. You know what? Do I know others? Because you can’t be known unless you’re trying to know others. That is a catalyst for deeper relationship.

Well, and you have to be what you want. Right. So if you want other people to open up to you, you actually have to be transparent and vulnerable if people first. A lot of times I would say that because our our society and world in general is so busy, they busied themselves out of actually making heart to heart connections with people in such a way to where it’s uncomfortable and unfamiliar. Maybe never really been modeled for them. And so you may actually have to be the leader in trying to develop the deeper relationships.

And I would just encourage you that the best way to do that is actually verbalize what your heart’s desire is to someone else. They may not even know.

That’s right. And as far as church goes, I know your pastors are incredible. They have the hardest leadership leadership job that exists. There’s a lot of reasons for that. And it’s just honorable and admirable what they do. And so you may not agree with everything your pastor is doing, but no, I’m sure he’s being a pastor. His heart is right.

And he would or he would he would be overjoyed.

If you are a new catalyst to deeper relationships in your church. Or even with him. It’s for sure not by design that any church doesn’t want deep relationships. Right. It’s just the way some churches are set up makes it difficult, challenging. But that’s not by design. No, God designed it for deep relationship. Yeah, maybe you need to be the catalyst to bring that right to the culture of the church.

Exactly. I know that for us we have experienced deep relationships with people when we were part of bigger churches. But I’ll tell you one thing right now, it was because we tried really hard. You guys, we were pursuing people, hospitality, all of those things.

And I would say that the art of hospitality is somewhat extinct today, and I would encourage you to bring it back. It does not is not super hard like you. And I know that we’re like I just brought up hospitality.

And here we have the stay at home order right where people are not supposed to be getting together and stuff. But there are things that you can do, like going on a hike and staying far from each other or playing soccer like in an open field, things like that. You could invite another family to do that as long as you are.

You know, that might not work, but the spirit’s there.

Yes. But regardless, like the point is, is when you get out of this, once we’re past the stay at home order, like be purposeful in letting people into your life. That’s one way that you build deeper relationships, is letting people in and maybe already out of it.

And other parts of the country and even some states in our country, too. So here’s a scripture for you guys to help you with this. Hebrews 10:24-25.

Twenty five. And let us consider one another. In order to stir up love and good works, we’re supposed to literally stir up. We’re supposed to proactively engage in relationship to stir up those relationships and in love and good works in other people. And a lot of times we’re just waiting to be stirred up because we want to feel loved. But sometimes you need to be the stir. And then you get losses during back. And so that’s super important in.

Yeah, I just I that you read verse 24 in verse twenty five is kind of a heart goes for me on this. Yes.

It says not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another and so much more as you see the day approaching.

What is the day that it’s referring to when Jesus goes back. Right. And are we in the times that this is speaking of? Yes. Yes, we are. And so we need to be exhorting one another. You can’t do that if you’re not communicating.

No time to spare, folks. No. And so at least we should have that hard attitude. We should live like that. Right. Even if it’s another two thousand years till Jesus comes back.

We don’t know, but I think we should live like we believe he’s coming back right away because we live better. Mm hmm. Amen

Now, I would say that before we wrap up, the last thing that we really want to talk about is what this can reveal about you and your relationship with God. Like if you’re experiencing those feelings that we’re talking about the beginning where you’re like, man, I thought I had all these friends and nobody has text to be no one has called me. No one has stopped by. Or maybe you got super sick. Maybe you got the flu, maybe you got the coronavirus, maybe you have allergies. Who knows? And you’re just kind of feeling down.

You’re not sure if you have the virus that everybody’s little whispering about and nervous about. And you’re feeling kind of lonely, kind of sad, and you feel isolated. Now, we need a stop for a moment and we need to go. What is this reveal about my relationship with God?

Because the truth is, is that we should never find our fulfillment and our contentment and our hope, hope in our friendships or in people, because what I’ve always let us down. That’s way too much of a burden on a human being. And it’s not their responsibility. Actually, this this is this is what’s so beautiful.

And I know that this might be hard for you to hear, but if you are struggling with loneliness, you really need to read the Bible. You just really need to read the Bible, because the truth is, is that those times when I experienced the most loneliness in my life regarding friendships were also they turned into the seasons of massive spiritual growth. And it also became an introspective thing for me to have to ask my question, why do I feel lonely? Is this because I’m not finding fulfillment also in my marriage?

Because there really should not be loneliness if you and your husband are one and you should be able to enjoy and delight in having fellowship together. He’s another like women. Your husband is an adult. That’s the same age as you. And you should be able to find fulfillment in that relationship. Actually. She’d be best friends. And so there’s that element that you need to reflect on your marriage, but you also need to reflect on your relationship with God because your relationship with God is really what makes you content. You can’t put that burden of friendship on your husband either because he’s going to fail you. And same goes for husbands. They can’t put that burden of friendship on their wives, expecting them to be like God or fulfilling them like Jesus would. And so it’s.

Aside from relationships outside of the marriage, right? Like friendships, we need to examine our marriages. But remember, not to put burdens on one another that are not realistic spiritually.

And to keep God the priority, a man and an opportunity to teach this to your older kids, they might be missing. Their friends might not be getting text messages back. Might not be comfortable making phone calls.

And so therefore, maybe they’re struggling with FOMO. I mean, imagine like our kids are pretty blessed because we have eight kids. So they’ve got lots of people around all the time. And yet at I just said blessed. But some of them are introverted, so they might not see that as such a blessing. No, I’m just kidding. But the reality is that they have a lot of siblings.

But there are people out there that don’t have any siblings. And so our kids are actually really blessed. And there might be like a single child or a kid that’s like 10 years older than a sibling. And they’re watching our kids post. It’s the stories of hanging out together, whatever they might have FOMO. And so we need as parents, we need to be aware of like the heart attitudes and what’s going on in our kids hearts. And we need to point them to Christ because they can find their fulfillment, they can find their hope, seize the opportunity, folks, seize the opportunity.

When there’s challenge, there’s opportunity to lead and to point your kids to Christ. And that’s a very important thing. And the final thing I want to mention everybody is what is God teaching you? What is the purpose of all this? God is sovereign.

Doesn’t mean he wants everything that happens to happen necessarily, but he allows everything to happen. He wasn’t necessarily the author and he’s not the author necessarily of these challenges.

But he does want to redeem everything. And so what does he want to teach your nation? What does he want to teach the world right now? What does he want to teach your city, your community, your church community? What is he trying to teach you? What are you trying to teach your kids? Because if we focus on why God is allowing this to happen in a good way, then this can be redeemed.

And that introspection is good. There is no reason anybody should be depressed right now because you have Christ.

If you don’t love Christ, then you need Christ and he will fill you.

He’ll give you the Holy Spirit. And if you don’t feel the warmth of the Holy Spirit responding to you, then you need to cry out to God and ask for it, because he gives to all liberally without reproach.

And the reality is that this is what he died for, is for us to have salvation and to not have to live in the bondage of depression, to not live in the bondage of loneliness or isolation. He can fill that place. And the truth is, is that when we are fully sold out for Christ and we recognize that our life is not our own, then we we actually pursue our friendships. From that standpoint, we pursue biblical community. From that standpoint, we’re no longer selfish and an island and not in community with other people and all about ourselves. No, we want to spread the love.

We want to help other people. We want to support people financially when they’re struggling. We want to lift one another up when we’re sick. We want to bring meals.

We want to do it like when we truly are saved. Our heart attitude changes to where it’s all about us and how can I make myself more money and how can I change from. It changes from that to how can I give? How can I serve? And when you are giving and serving, all of a sudden any amount of loneliness or isolation, feelings or lack of hope starts to fall off like shackles that were broken.

And that is the cure, you guys. That’s why it says it’s better to give than to receive.

So sharpen your pencil so you can write that letter. Pick up your phone and learn how to make a phone call again and nourish your relationships.

see you next Time. Hey, thanks for listening to this episode.

We wanted to quickly tell you about our six week online parenting mentor program.

Isaac and I created a powerful biblical curriculum. Here’s how it works. Each week, Isaac and I release a video with a downloadable parenting package to make it easy for you and your spouse to incorporate those teachings directly into your parenting.

It’s an incredible program where we cover everything from obedience training to overcoming mistakes most Christians are making. But more than that. It’s an incredible community. You’ll have access to a private online group live Webcasts and the courageous parenting text message line where Angie and I can send weekly encouragements straight to your phone.

If you’re interested in joining our next online parenting mentorship program, secure your spot.

Now that courageousparenting.com, that’s courageous Parenting.com.

Written By Angie Tolpin
Angie has been married to Isaac for 19 years and together they have eight children, whom she homeschools. She is the Founder of CourageousMom.com, a doula, the author of the best-selling book Redeeming Childbirth, and the creator of the first ever Christian Postpartum Course. Angie loves ministering to Women and has created a few online Bible Studies on Biblical Friendship and Motherhood.

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