Doing Life Together

On Mondays, we fast and pray for the Lord to raise up godly men, for the Lord to give us soft hearts that are obedient to Him, and for strong marriages for those who desire it.

Sunday afternoon, I got together with Anna, Amy, Michelle, Connally (for those of you who are new to the blog, Connally is one of the founding fast.pray. members who continues to mentor us) to talk about everything from work and possible career changes to relationships/lack of relationships to sexuality in American culture.

As we sipped tea and the hours flew by, I couldn’t help but think about how grateful I am to have these women in my life, even if we don’t see each other very frequently. They ask challenging questions, give new perspectives, and share words of wisdom and empathy to address life challenges. There is something so refreshing to my soul to wrestle with the tough issues in a safe place where we are grounded in the Word of God and are honestly seeking to live our lives in obedience to His calling.

Having this vulnerable, caring relationship with these women has addressed my God-given desire for a deep connection with other people; given me freedom in the knowledge that others share the same struggles with singleness, the Christian walk, etc.; and has taught me to not be afraid to talk about “the stuff” that doesn’t always get addressed in a sermon.

I share this experience because the theme that the Lord keeps revealing to me as I interact with others from all walks of life is the common desire we share for community, for regular, sustained connection with others. For example,

  • A stay-at-home mom from my church who lives near me asked if I would be willing to work out with her a few mornings a week to give her a chance for some regular time with another adult who is not her husband.
  • A co-worker and friend who is single recently shared her struggle with feeling alone and that she hasn’t felt successful in making new, lasting friendships.
  • The common answer from my friends (and me) about why we want to be married is: “To have someone with whom to do life.”

Every Monday, we fast and pray together, and I know there is power and community in our shared faith and prayer, but where I have felt convicted is that I sometimes let it substitute for reaching out to the people in my life in tangible ways and face-to-face, personal interaction. I neglect to tell those on my Monday prayer list that I’m praying for them. I make excuses about why I don’t have time to get together with people or get more involved in my church. I waste time and energy pursuing shallow friendships, oftentimes so I feel popular or to fill up my social calendar. I’m afraid of what others might think if I share too much personal information.

My question/challenge to you (and me) this week is this: Who are your people? With whom are you vulnerable enough to share your struggles and ask for prayer and accountability? With whom are you intentionally doing life?

Partnering in prayer with you,

Emily

P.S. Are there other tea-drinking/sharing-our-brokenness groups doing life together out there? Would love to hear how God is working through your times together!

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9 Responses to Doing Life Together

  1. R says:

    Honestly, I think making friends as an adult is really hard. I’ve had some good friends move away, and I have not been able to make any new friends. I am part of a Bible study group, with women that I love, but who are all older. I really wish for friends my age to go to a movie with or out for tea. The people that I reach out to will only want to see me during the week, when an hour plus commute, and activities like Bible study, tutoring my nephew, and a book club, cut into the days I have available. I am always open on the weekend, but they have families and boyfriends to spend time with then. I would be really interested a blog post about how to make friends as an adult. I am doing all the right things, but nothing seems to happen. I am starting to wonder if God has me in a season of loneliness for a reason that I can’t see yet.

    • Emily says:

      I 100% agree with you that making (close) friends as an adult is difficult, especially with work responsibilities and trying to navigate everyone’s busy schedules. The other writers and I have been talking about focusing some posts on practical steps for singles, so I will include this suggestion in our next discussion.

  2. Monica says:

    I have been a part of the fast-pray community for several years now, but it was not until this past March that I began to pray together with a friend on a weekly basis following the many recommendations to do so. This practice has been a tremendous blessing in both of our lives. My friend, Christine and I found each other after many years’ absence and various continental moves. She lives in Germany and I in Italy and thanks to skype (for which we regularly thank the Lord) we talk about the issues of our life at the moment and then pray, guided by the Holy Spirit.

    Since March, God has moved mightily in our lives through this consistent instrument of accountability, encouragement and truth-sharing/pointing
    – she has met a godly man and appears on her way to marriage
    – we both have had great opportunities in our work lives
    – we both have experienced emotional healing, ridding ourselves of baggage to make way for the new (clearing the cupboard, we call it)
    – she has strongly encouraged me in my creative writing aspirations
    – I have avoided major missteps in terms of relationships/sexuality in part because the awareness of keeping accountable to her sobered me in the heat of the moment or my own weakness.

    These are just a few of the ways that our lives have been enriched in this small, intentional community that is plugged into the fast/pray group and indeed the whole body of the church. I believe that God prepares us for the intimacy of marriage with these relationships – the vulnerability, sharing and commitment to another person – in a similar way that human marriage is a reflection of our ultimate, divine marriage to him.

    • Emily says:

      Monica, this is a great story! I love how you are using Skype to connect with others over long distances – maintaining community even through geographic barriers. I 100% agree that God uses these relationships to prepare us for marriage and as an image of the relationship we can have with Him as well. Blessings!

  3. Lynn says:

    I don’t currently have a group/community like this in my life on a day-to-day basis. I would love to. I have a few friends and family members in other cities with whom I feel comfortable to be completely honest and vulnerable, but I don’t have that community here where I live. I’ve recently joined a group at my church that seems promising. I’m hoping (praying) that this may be a source of community for me.

    • Emily says:

      Lynn, will be praying for meaningful relationships to come out of your church group! I’m so glad to hear that you’ve acted on the need for Christian community in your daily life. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Daniela says:

    Thank you Emily for this insightful post! In fact, I’ve been experiencing the same; especially since I “outed” myself by writing articles about my struggles as a single woman. Of course this is like the last step if you even dare to go public (although it wasn’t really my intention in the beginning, but that’s a long story!). I found it so liberating! Of course we make ourselves vulnerable if we openly share about our struggles; but this is exactly what people need! How can I ever cope with my struggles if there is apparently nobody out there who has been where I am?

    In fact, my only motivation to finally step “out of the shadows” have been such courageous women like Carolyn McCullough, Connally & all the other writers on this blog, and many more. We really need to encourage each other!

    Actually, a lady I’ve been working with in my ministry recently had a nervous breakdown – one of the reasons being that she is suffering from being a single mom for many years. However, I was not aware that she was struggling so much with not having a life partner. I had always thought that she would deal well with her situation! So it’s very important that we come out and share. And we can “do life together” with like-minded brothers and sisters, althought it’s not the same as having a husband to share our lives with. God has created us for community, and in our single state we have plenty of opportunities to learn how to relate to other people, as there are so many similarities with the marital relationship.

    • Emily says:

      Daniela, thank you for sharing how you’ve stepped out on faith to share your story. It is scary to be vulnerable, but I’ve found that sharing ministers to others needs and at the same time, ministers to me and reveals God’s purpose for why He might have us walk through certain trials so we can help others in their journey. Blessings!

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