For 2015 I have decided to think on the word GIVE, my one word for the year. I doubt it will be the only word I think about but it is the word I want to intentionally think about. Over the last few weeks I’ve been brainstorming different aspects and have designated one per month. This may be a little more controlling than most people talk about their one word, but it gives me something specific to think about – and see where it goes from there. I may well drop the word, I may go to other places. It is a starting point!
Journey so far: In December I was challenged with the idea that “Giving people give more than gifts”. This month, I’m thinking about what it means to give of myself – my inner self.
My inner-self, that is my heart. I’ve talked a lot in terms of parenting our children’s heart – but what is my heart. It is the same thing really: my beliefs, emotions, passions, the things that direct my choices. This is the real me. Am I willing to share those things with other people?
When I was a teenager my dad talked to me about the acquaintance circle – that there are different degrees of friends, or different degrees of closeness which creates a context for the different degrees of openness and trust we give the people we know. I think this is a healthy concept to be aware of. The idea is that we know a small group of people who are the closest to us, and then the circle of close-ness, trust and dependence lessens as the categories move towards acquaintances or general public.
- Family/Best friends, good friends, friends, acquaintances
- Those who are kind, loving and supportive, those who are loving but inattentive and distance, those who are loving but prone to be enthusiastically taking more than they ever give back, people who are not in my realm of influence
- Spheres of intimacy, influence, affiliation, acquaintance
- Self, family, community, country, world
I think we see Google + and to some degree Facebook, trying to make an online replica of this social phenomena.
My challenge is to nurture those relationships, those closer, inner relationships. I live in a town which has a very transient population so every few years I find myself with different friends. I don’t think I have grown hard of heart where I don’t want to make friends any more – I am very aware that my life would not be the same but for all the people I have met along the way. But it does take a conscious decision to build a relationship with new friends in such a way that I can be vulnerable – open, honest, real with them about my heart life.
Mind you – these things are just as relevant in our marriage relationship as well as with our family. Am I prepared to be open, honest and real with them about my heart life, about the things that make me tick.
What does it take to build close and personal relationships? To GIVE of myself is an important step forward:
- To be honest – so often my interactions with people are dictated to by socially acceptable phrases and limited time – I say “I’m good” when I’m not, I smile when I want to cry. Sometimes people don’t want to be honest or real out of a desire not to whinge, or be negative, or maybe we think that in saying the positive thing (even if it isn’t completely true) we are showing faith in a God who can change my circumstances. God has given us people to walk beside us, to pray for us, to help us. We limit their ability to do that when we are not real with them.
- To be accepting – when we talk about relationships we often address the idea of accepting the other person – we need to be understanding and accepting when they lose the plot, let you down, or go through a hard time. What is not often discussed is our need to accept ourselves – our weaknesses, struggles and our need for other people.
- To be available – It is easy to be the life of the party when life is good, but it is when things are tough that we really both need our close friends, and see who our close friends are. In order to build honest, open, and real relationships I have to put myself out there, mix with people in the good times and the bad, hard, and horrible!
Why is this so hard?
- Pride often gets in the way, as we want to project a certain image. We think that being real challenges that image but the truth is that we are 3 dimensional people, we do have strengths and weaknesses, we have highs and lows, positives and negatives. Eventually the real person will spill out – how much better to be spilt out with people who know you, love you and are ready to support you.
- Busyness is a cover that we just pass the time of day, or deal with the business at hand. No time to talk about my heart life.
- Fear of rejection, disinterest, amusement or past hurt
So how am I going to give of myself?
- Answer “How are you” with a full answer – not just ‘good’
- Initiate conversations about the things I’m thinking about, and be prepared to talk about my heart thoughts: things I’m thinking about my beliefs, emotions and passions
- Guard family time in the evening so that we can strengthen real relationships in our home
Also sharing and linking with others:
Throughout the week I share with one, or more of these blogs (see more details on my Link Parties page)
Monday’s Musings, Thoughtful Spot, Hip Homeschool Moms Blog Hop, Titus 2 Tuesdays, Coffee and Conversation, Finishing Strong (Middle & Highschool years), Capture your Journey, Thriving Thursdays, Hearts for Home, A Little R & R, From House to Home, Fellowship Fridays, Homeschooling Highschool Linkup, Weekly Wrap-up, Collage Fridays