Be Kind and Be Real
We met on a morning when the rain was pouring down. Fidgeting with our Bibles and umbrellas, filled with nervous expectation of what lay ahead.
This was our first time to meet this way, prepared with some hard-edged questions that we were sure would find resolution as we wrestled through them together.
This situation called for vulnerability, which is always a little bit scary.
Many friends have rich histories and seasoned experiences that connect them, settling their hearts into a comfortable posture. She and I had less than a few brief encounters up until this point, but they were significant enough to warrant digging in a little deeper.
This isn’t the first time that I have felt these nerves, unsure of how things would go. Will we connect? Will we learn anything? Will we truly listen to each other? Will we forgive the fumbles and failings that often come with sitting before each other transparent?
It felt a little bit like a delicate dance between almost strangers who beautifully shared the same heart beat for the Lord.
We are drawn out and towards each other by the life that we share in Christ. The desire to know Him brings us together, outweighing the usual requirements of comfort found with a longtime friend.
We made our way to our seats, settling into a cozy corner of a quaint coffee shop, wet from the rain, grateful for a hot cup of coffee, and the warming expectation of sincere fellowship. As we began to share and wrestle with our questions, a different kind of comfort rested upon us, deeper than familiar.
Meeting in this way, reminding each other of the faithfulness of the Lord and the assurance of His promises does the practical and the profound.
It works to meet some of the most basic needs that we have as human beings, to feel secure, loved, accepted and known, and at the same time, it meets the deeper needs of identity, purpose and right perspective.
This fellowship will cost something from us as well. It will require us to tell our story without falsehood or pretense. This will be a process and it will be a work.
But how sweet it is when authenticity rains down on every word that we share, like the rain outside the window, washing away the borrowed opinions and protective narratives we often lead and end with most days.
We are free to discuss the raw failings of our hearts and the real power of His strength, the things that break us, tempt us and the victory in Jesus to overcome those things.
It’s all on the table and it’s tough, but it’s so very good.
This is what we can hope as we gather to each other, that we are kind and that we are real.
Finally letting the words that we have been longing to say, the ones that we really mean to say, run into the love and understanding found in the one who is sitting across the table from us.
We finished up our coffee and our conversation, full of hope and refined by Truth. We know one another better and it feels like we have gained a new friend.
What a wonderful thing it is to lean into honest and authentic relationships. What a gift the Lord has given us to experience the healing qualities of friendship in a warm coffee shop on a rainy day.
There will be more days like this one, days that I will make room for relationship. The older I get the more I see how valuable it all is to know one another for real, for keeps, with encouragement and in community.
It’s like I was made for it and I know that I am.
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