Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Authentic Relationships: Discover the Lost Art of One Anothering

by Wayne and Clay Jacobsen.  Quotes I want to remember.

19 comments:

Prairie Chick said...

Chapter One: Escaping the Loneliness Trap

ISOLATION AND THE COMMUNICATION AGE.

"Even with close friends many of us can't seem to steer the conversation beyond our children, jobs, weather, or sports to share the depth of our spiritual lives. And when we hurt the most it seems like everyone scatters into the busyness of their own lives." p15

"Wittingly or unwittingly many of us protect ourselves from the kind of friendships that connect us deeply with others... We end up conflicted. Even though we want close relationships, we subvert the desire by holding people at arm's length. Poised to protect ourselves from hurt and disappointment, we think the best solution is to look out for ourselves. There is no better strategy than this for ending up alone and isolated while comfortably blaming others in the process." p16

"Healthy relationships, however, are not created by sitting together in the same building or participating in the same activities, but by capturing Jesus' heart for life-changing relationships." p17

Prairie Chick said...

THE LUNCH THAT ROCKED ZACCHAEUS WORLD

"Jesus penetrated (Zacchaeus) loneliness with a simple invitation to lunch. That was the only miracle Zacchaeus needed. As far as we know, he didn't see any blind eyes opened or any lepers healed that day. The simple acts of one anothering- an offer of lunch, an opportunity for a new friendship, and a few hours of conversation- rocked his entire world. How shallow Zacchaeus's selfishness had to look in the presence of someone who had his eyes focused only on others. Before Jesus moved on, Zacchaeus had promised to give half his possessions to the poor and pay back everyone he had cheated at 400 percent interest. Every encounter Jesus had was like that. He did not engage people for what he could get out of them, but for what he could give them of God's life. Because he was not focused on himself, he was able to touch people with the deepest treasures of God's love."

p18

minitwit said...

I really like those quotes too! One thing I would add though, which may also be covered in this book, is to recognize unhealthy parts of close relationships. It is also vital, I believe, as followers of Christ, to not value our friendships and caring for others more than our obedience to God. I have seen, in myself as well, women holding onto close, intimate, spiritual relationships that end up depleting us more than filling us up. Giving to relationships is vital...becoming a withered desert isn't.

heather said...

that was not supposed to be under "minitwit"....sorry!

Prairie Chick said...

thanks for sharing this, Heather. It hit a major nail on the head for me, something that I have been struggling with for a few years now. I value friendship, I desire friendship, but I struggle with so much guilt over my friendships, because I recognize that they are important and I want to invest in more of them, but one person can only do what one person can do, and you said it so perfectly with "never at the expense of obedience to God.

So if my obedience list at this stage in my life is 1. my personal relationship with God, 2. loving and caring for my husband, 3. teaching my children, 4. managing my home and 5, ministry and friendships, I see an important pattern that each subsequent number in that list should NEVER be at the expense of the priority that comes before it.

What that means for me right now is that I have precious little time for casual friendship. It doesn't mean I have precious little time for relationship, but I need to make every moment count and I need to guard my relational investments and make sure that God is asking it from me and that it is His purpose.

It did my heart good to have you affirm this word in my life, because I struggle with it in a world where women's lives look very different from mine and they are brushing shoulders with many, often and out and about and have their fingers in many pies. I have my fingers in four and they are sticky to the hilt :)

One last thought, it has been so wonderful for me to learn to find ways to invest in relationship, not at the expense of "the other stuff". A grocery run with a friend. A walk with my neighbour when I have time to exercise... stuff like that. Two birds with one stone... same investment of time, twice the result.

Prairie Chick said...

A LIFE FOCUSED ON OTHERS pp21-22

"If you have ever shared friendships with others-focused people , you know what a treasure those friends are.

1. they take an interest in you just because they care.

2. their concern is not tied to their own needs and desires in the relationship.

3. their care for you demands nothing in return and rejoices to see you blessed.
4. they open their life like a book and let you read it freely.

5. you don't ever have to guess what they are thinking, because they will come right out and tell you

6. they make you feel safe enough that you don't have to pretend with them

7. they offer their counsel freely but never demand that you follow it

8. they give you the freedom to disagree and the flexibility to do things differently from how they would do it without ever compromising their love for you.

9. almost without thinking they would give you the shirt of their back if they knew you needed it (but they won't always give you everything you want)

10. They look past your faults

11. they celebrate your promise and offer their help to get you there.

12. you may not see them for months or years at a time, but the next time your paths cross, you will feel as though you have never been apart.

13. when they say they will pray for you, you know they will.

14. when you go through your darkest moments, they will stay by your side.

15. they will let their presence comfort you even when the right words escape them.

Such friends find their origin in God's heart. No one can love so freely whom God has not first loved deeply. Discover the power of His love and you will never be lonely again."

Prairie Chick said...

ONE AT A TIME p27

>>"Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." He didn't tell his followers to love everyone, but simply the people God put before them. As we have seen, that is how Jesus loved. That kind of love doesn't work en masse; it can only be applied one individual at a time. All the scriptures we will look at in this study talk about how we treat *one* another. They don't tell us to encourage everyone, serve everyone, admonish everyone, or share with everyone. That would be overwhelming. WE sometimes hear, 'There's no way I could do that for everyone.' We don't have to.

Instead, Jesus frees us to demonstrate love in the moment for whoever is before us. We will never learn to love others if we don't do it one at a time. To help an individual, we don't have to start a ministry and look for others with the same need. Wouldn't it be much better to take the circumstances at hand and do what we can for that person?"<<

such a perfect companion quote for my quiet time verses this morning. What a great way to start the day.

Prairie Chick said...

LIVING LOVED

>>We cannot do for others what hasn't alredy been done for us...

You cannot forgive others if you have not experienced God's forgiveness for you. You cannot serve others unless you know that God is providing everything you need. You cannot live in kindness to others until you see God's kindness toward you. In that sense the one anothering scriptures are less mandates to obey than they are descriptions of what love frees us to do. Such love does not begin in the human heart. It flows only from God himself...

The last thing I want this book to do is to add to your list of ways a good christian should act towards others. That misses the point. God doesn't want you to pretend to love others or to make you act like it. He wants to set you so free in his love that it spills out of you and touches others....<<

pp29-30

it's not an "act", it's an overflow. can't overflow if not filled up to overflowing.

Prairie Chick said...

THE FRUITS OF ONE ANOTHERING

>>A self-centered life is its own punishment. When our relationships with others are filled with expectations and demands that they do what we want, the result is stress, disappointment, and despair.<<

the day I put to death all of my unfulfilled desires of uninterrupted sleep, uninterrupted quiet times, uninterrupted anything was the day I truly became free to love and found peace and joy in embracing a life of loving service.

Prairie Chick said...

FELLOW TRAVELERS

>>Competition subtly weaves its way into our friendships whenever we think we have to earn God's approval by our own will and effort. Since we all know in our most honest moments how far short we fall, we slip into the misguided hope that God might grade on the curve. I may not be perfect, but if I'm better than 90 percent of the Christians around me, then I'm sure I'll be safe.

That is not the way God thinks, but you can see how those who do think that way will regard other believers as competitors. Trying to be better than them, they will exaggerate the weaknesses of others while downplaying their own. True friendship cannot thrive in that environment.<<

major blinders blown off in that breeze I tell ya. That paired with this from my ladies bible study book;

>>Pride is a potential problem for anyone who takes spiritual growth seriously. As soon as we start to pursue virtue, we begin to wonder why others aren't as virtuous as we are.

"When beginners become aware of their own fervor and diligence in their spiritual works and devotional exercises, this prosperity of theirs gives rise to secret pride... they conceive a certain satisfaction in the contemplation of their works and of themselves... they condemn others in their heart when they see that they are not devout in their way."

>>I was in a small group wiht people I had just met, and immediately I found a little voice inside me categorizing everyone: 'This one is needy and dependent- stay away. That one is bright and has much to offer- try to connect." Why do I constantly find myself rating people as if they were Olympic contestants and someone appointed me judge? why do I so often compare myself with them as if we were in some kind of competition?<<

from The Life You've Always Wanted, Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People, by John Ortberg.

I compare. In many ways I feel I don't measure up. In many other ways I feel others don't. Neither of those thought patterns are spirit inspired.

Prairie Chick said...

A TRULY SAFE PLACE

"Being a soft place to fall does not mean we become a doormat for everyone who wants to walk over us, nor that we ignore people's actions.

>>Forgiving and accepting others simply means we won't hold them accountable to us for their failures but will continue to respond to them with love and grace.

Forgiveness frees us from the destruction others cause. It does not make us a further victim of it.

We can forgive someone who is abusive without continuing to subject ourselves to that abuse. And our forgiveness does not mean that we should keep silent if that person seeks to hurt others. Nor does our forgiveness absolve people of their *responsibility*, only of their *accountability* to us. If I forgive someone who commits a crime against me, that doesn't mean I will not seek justice to restrain that person from doing it to others. Forgiveness does not mean that we will forget what happened or pretend it didn't happen.

WE are a soft place to fall when we love people through their failures and hurts as God draws them closer to himself and transforms them from within. We will still speak the truth firmly but will do so with gentleness and patience. <<

there is so much here, I have been mulling over it for days. so much for me. it has been very helpful for me to look back on my past relationships and see how in the beginning I saw forgiveness as "forgetting, fresh slate", even when there was no acknowledgement of the ways I was hurt or abused. That was not healthy forgiveness, that was wishful forgetfulness, and it did not help my mom either, it only enabled her to continue forward in her unhealthy patterns. I learned better later in life, after a cyclic pattern repeated itself numerous times, and came to see that forgiveness can be measured by my feelings toward her, not by my relationship with her. Do I feel resentment or compassion? Do I desire her repentance for my own justice or for her own well being? Things like that. I desire change for her, for HER. I am able to let her go, let the hurts go, because it's not about me or what she's done to me...

love this quote; "harboring unforgiveness is like swallowing rat poison and waiting for the rat to die."

Prairie Chick said...

FORGIVING ONE ANOTHER

>>Many people confuse forgiveness and reconciliation, which are two entirely different processes. Forgiveness is a unilateral act. It does not absolve someone from sin, but it does free that person from my judgment and vengeance. Forgiving the hurts of others is essential to my own personal health. By releasing others from my desire for retribution, I can live free of bitterness and overcome hurts others have caused. Reconciliation, however, is a process of healing between the offender and the offended. Reconciliation demands that the offender recognize his or her offense, understand the pain it caused, offer restitution to whatever degree possible, and offer some assurance that the offending pattern will change. Often the offense is not one-sided, both parties contribute to each other's offense.

Though reconciliation is always preferable, it is not always possible, because the person who offended you may not see his or her actions in the same light as you do. While it is always worth the effort to see if reconciliation is possible we are still free to forgive whether or not the offender ever acknowledges his failure.<<

Prairie Chick said...

ACCEPTING ONE ANOTHER

>>Accept people just as they are, trusting that God will change them in time. Accepting them as people does not mean you condone their behavior or beliefs. It simply means you respect their humanity enough to let them work through the process. People open their lives to those who accept the way they are and run from those who are always trying to change them into what they think they should be.<<

Prairie Chick said...

IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU

>>I had been schooled in environments where ministry was about my gifts, my abilities, my passions, and my vision. It is amazing how blind we can be when our lives orbit around ourselves. As long as friendship and ministry are all about you, you will find yourself getting further away from them even as you try harder to cultivate them.<<

SO true. Ministry and friendship is about *ministering* and *BE*friending. It's a lifestyle that lays itself down and seeks to serve and love and care for others as Jesus did.

Prairie Chick said...

THE RUSE OF EXPECTATIONS

>>"Expectations are resentments waiting to happen. We sabotage many of our relationships by imposing expectations on others...

People who live with expectations will never be satisfied...

Disappointments are the surest test that you are a captive to expectations.<<

SO good. SO true. My disappointments with people are always rooted in my expectations of them. They didn't even "acknowledge" my email (hurt), they don't return my efforts to keep the relationship growing (offense), they treat that other person with so much more affection than they treat me (jealousy). Let it go, give the benefit of the doubt, keep loving with agape love and let go of all expectations. It becomes about who I am and how I am being to others and I don't think about who they are or their behavior toward me. It is a freeing and beautiful way to rise above resentment and self pity.

Prairie Chick said...

BE DEVOTED TO ONE ANOTHER

>>I've often heard this phrase used to encourage believers to be "committed to one another. Fro the last two thousand years, the church has been passionate about "commitment". Church membership, home group participation, and even covenant relationships have been used to promote healthy relationships between believers.

Certainly Paul knew that relationships of convenience would never mean much, but he didn't see commitment as the answer. In fact, you will not find the word *commitment* anywhere in the New Testament and you will only find the word *commit* when it encourages us *not* to commit adultery or acts of wickedness. The word translated *devoted* in this passage is a relational word that speaks of having kindly affection for others. When we substitute something like commitment for affection, we mistake the shadow for the reality."<<

This hit the nail on the head for me in something I have been contemplating recently. The cart before the horse mix up we are so prone to. We place the external (bodily commitment... just showing up) before the heart of the matter... affection, God's affection for one another. If we have that, if we truly have affection... we will *naturally* be committed. It will be a "byproduct" of the outpouring of our affection for one another, but commitment can never produce affection. Commitment without affection can produce discouragement, a critical spirit, exhaustion and more. That's why Jesus said, "all you need is love." the rest will follow.

Prairie Chick said...

HONOR ONE ANOTHER ABOVE YOURSELVES

>>"Entering a room and not demanding what we want but being ready to help others get what they need is the essence of genuine church life. Can you imagine what the body would like if everyone came to be a blessing to others?

Consumers will never discover the joy of Christian community. As long as we orbit around our own needs, we will miss the freedom of preferring others...

Can you imagine how a group of people who honor others above themselves would make God's love known in a self-preferring world? It can happen so simply. When God has so satisfied you that you can trust Him to fulfill every hunger in your life, you are ready to experience the depths of one anothering.<<

Love, love, love, love, LOVE. This is totally where I'm at right now in my journey. Where it's no longer about me but about who I can be for the person next to me.

Prairie Chick said...

INITIAL CONTACT

"You make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you." Dale Carnegie

>Greetings are often only a social courtesy. We do not expect someone to take us seriously and launch into a detailed conversation...

..with today's busy lives and overbooked schedules, we feel taxed just to give a polite "hello" or a quick "good to see you" as we rush through our day. How often do we stop to think of the rare treasure we might miss in passing?"<<

This is important to me. I want to be the kind of person who "sees" people, embraces people with my attitude, not out of social courtesy, but out of genuine affection. God's genuine affection. I am working on this.

Prairie Chick said...

GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER

...Dinner fellowship is becoming much to rare in the body of Christ these days,and that is tragic, since hospitality is one of the ways we turn a greeting into a relationship. Inviting people for a meal and an an evening in our home creates an opportunity to get to know them better.

... the home provides the perfect setting for relationships to get beyond the superficial and head into deeper waters.

...I know too many people who shy away from hospitality because they think their home has to be spotless and the meal scrumptious. The whole point of opening the door to new friendships is not to impress people but to be real. If we don't break away from the need to put on our best face, we will never develop genuine relationships. We can order pizza throw hot dogs on the grill, or make sandwiches. What is important is unhurried time together to let people see into our lives."<<

Amen and amen, and amen.