We live in a world of fast-paced communication that seldom sinks much lower than the surface, and while we often know what half of our “friends” ate for lunch, we don’t seem to know much else.
We’re always in contact, but we seldom connect.
It’s lonely, isn’t it? This knowing the details without the depth.
For moms who are at home with kids each day, the isolation can be overwhelming. I can’t tell you the number of times I have found myself craving some adult conversation to go with my coffee. Twitter feeds just don’t suffice. *
It’s like the virtual reality viewer my nephew got for Christmas. He was wearing it and said, “Cha-Cha needs to see this! It’s Africa!” I jumped over some of my nieces and tried to put the headpiece on over my glasses. That didn’t work so I had to take them off, which meant I could see it was Africa but I couldn’t really see it either. I was close but not quite close enough.
Like Instagram where I get insta-glimpses into the lives of others without ever entering their realities either.
Over the years and out of desperation, I’ve found a few ways to do more than keep in contact with my friends. I’m learning to connect with them as well. Because that’s the heart of fellowship, isn’t it? It’s more than hurried greetings on Sunday mornings, deeper than simple how-do-you-do’s.
5 Ways to Deepen Your Real Life Relationships
Extend An Invitation
The easiest way to work your way out of isolation is to invite someone in – to your home and to your heart. Call a friend. Seriously. Sometimes you have to do more than text. You need to talk.
Chances are so do your friends. Invite them over for coffee. Send the kids outside then sit and sip and share. You’ll be refreshed by more than just the caffeine.
Play with Purpose
Moms have to make the most of every opportunity, don’t we? One of the best ways to connect with your mom friends is by strategic play date planning. Don’t just plan for the kids to play, plan for the moms to enjoy fellowship as well. I know this can be challenging, especially when your kids are pretty small, but with a bit of creativity, you can keep the kids occupied and entertained while the moms are encouraged. Consider having a teenager or two (older siblings, anyone?) oversee the play date so moms get a bit of a break. They can take the kids for a walk, do crafts and read books with them, or organize outdoor games.
Serve with Your Sisters
I’ve always found that deep bonds form when friends and families serve the Lord together. Consider doing a service project with some of your friends. It could be something as simple as packing care bags for people in need (something your kids could help with as well) or making dinner for someone you know. Even if each of you makes one part of the meal then join together to deliver it, you’ll encourage each other as you encourage a family in need.
Of course, you could always go bigger. I suggest Kenya, but that’s just me. I mean, a girls’ trip is always fun, but a girls’ mission trip? Fun and fulfilling.
Grow with Your Girlfriends
Walking with your friends through life means you’ll share highs and lows. Seeing God’s faithfulness in both will strengthen your faith and theirs. One way to see what God is doing in each other’s lives is by seeking him together through the study of his word. I can’t recommend having a small group Bible study with your friends highly enough. You will learn from each other as you all learn from the Lord.
Pray with Persistence
Praying for someone is powerful; praying for your friends binds your heart to them in a way that nothing else does. Do you have a prayer partner? Just spend a few minutes on the phone at the start of each week to find out how to pray for your friend then do it consistently. Don’t just say you will. Actually do it. Follow up with your friends as you pray for them, letting them know you have not forgotten their needs and learning what the Lord has done.
Whatever you do, remember that deeper relationships don’t develop overnight. It takes time and commitment, but the fellowship of friendship is worth all the hard work.
I’d love to hear how you stay connected with your friends. What do you do to develop deeper friendships?
*I started writing this post last night as part of Five Minute Friday but only made it through the first few paragraphs before the five minutes was up. I decided to keep writing and share the post at Five Minute Friday anyway because it really is such a great group of encouraging bloggers…it’s been too long since I participated!