For this month’s Cup of Coffee post, I’m discussing being intentional. Lately I have felt convicted of my lack of intentionality with friends. I hope you’ll enjoy this read and feel inspired to make that phone call, send that card, or even stop by a friend’s. You can read last month’s Cup of Coffee post here.
When is the last time you said, “I’m just so busy?” Was it yesterday, or today even? When is the last time you had a meaningful conversation or spent time feeling well rested? We are all so busy leading our lives that we get lost in our own to do list, much less see anyone else’s. I know that I get so caught up in our day to day life that it is so easy to let days go by without checking on a friend. And lately I have felt so convicted over that. I was listening to a podcast about social media and spirituality, and it was so eye opening. With endless social media apps at our finger tips, we can share every detail of our lives. It’s a wonderful tool, when it is used the right way. I know I use social media to stay updated on friends and families lives that I don’t see that often. And for that reason, I am super thankful for these little icons on my phone. On the other hand, however, it keeps us all locked in online, but not present in person.
It is so easy to comment on a post ‘praying‘ or ‘thinking of you,’ without ever really doing the two. We consider reading someone’s facebook post ‘catching up’ with them, even though we only read surface level information. I am so guilty of this, and I so want it to change. I want to use social media, yes, but for good. I don’t want to use it as a replacement for conversations.
So, how can we be intentional? There are days where we are lucky if we have time to log into social media to read that post, so how can we ever meet face-to-face or pick up the phone? It’s going to take some sacrifice and may even inconvenience you. You may think of all the other things you need to be doing, and you may have to say no to something else. In fact, it can be something that we may go into dreading. That sounds terrible doesn’t it? But the reality is, that we have gotten so hung up on what is easy for us, that we have a hard time doing anything that may upset our schedule. Invite so and so over for dinner? Then I’ll have to make an extra stop to the grocery store, they’ll probably stay late and mess up our nightly routine, and I’ll have to do some extra cleaning. Guess what?! OH WELL. How important is this relationship in your life? How much could you benefit from some one-on-one interaction with this person? When we get past the busy-ness we set ourselves up for, and actually begin to see being intentional as a blessing, then it isn’t so daunting. You may be reading this and thinking, I have no problem having friends over or meeting up with a girlfriend! If that’s true, then I am so happy for you. Pray for the rest of us.
What does being intentional even mean? I looked up the definition of Intentional and here is the result: done with intention or purpose, designed or planned. That means I’m investing in my friendships on purpose! I am seeking ways, planning ways, designing ways, to go out of my way for that friend.
Here is a short list of ways that we can be intentional with those around us, who matter most to us, right now!
- Go beyond a text message or a phone call. Send them a card in the mail. I promise it is 100% more effective to receive something in the mail than to get a phone notification. Something about a hand-written note just makes you feel good inside.
- Bring that someone a small gift. It may be a co-worker, a friend you see regularly, or someone at church. Is there something you know they like, specific to them? Maybe you could bring them a cup of coffee when you get to work, buy them a book they have been wanting to read, or even get them a $5 gift card to Sonic. Happy Hour drinks anyone? It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture to show that you care. They’ll be surprised and excited by your caring heart.
- Host them for dinner or a game night. For me, this is my go-to. I love having people over for dinner (although since we’ve moved that has been a little harder to do). While I’m not a great cook, I know that a home cooked meal is a gift of love. If cooking an entire meal is too daunting for you, consider take out! Instead of going out to eat, you can have take out and sit on the living room floor. Mixing it up is fun! Some of you are still thinking about the dishes that will need to be cleaned after, so consider a game night instead! For me, this would be an act of sacrificial love. I hate games (oops!) so if I’m going to play a game with you then you know it’s real. However, I know another couple who thrive off of games, and this would be their jam.
- Pray for them. This person may not ever know that you’ve got them down on your prayer list. That’s ok. But you are spending time every day loving them in the absolute best way- going to God on their behalf and asking Him to bless them, or for a specific need in their life. God will do more for them than we ever wish that we could!
- Be present. This may be the hardest one on my list to accomplish! When you are with that person, lets be fully present. What does that mean? Put the phone down! Fully listen to them. Look them in the eye. Hear their heart. Every time I’m with friends at some point I look up and we are all on our phones, head down. Yay, we haven’t seen each other in six months, so lets spend this precious time together on our phones. *I’m rolling my eyes right now just thinking about it. No! Spend time being present and not being distracted.
- Love Languages matter. This could easily coincide with bringing them a small gift or writing a card, but learning someone’s love language is the best way to speak to their heart. So what are the love languages? Physical Touch/ Words of Affirmation/ Quality Time/ Gift Giving/ Acts of Service. There are SO many ways to be intentional with a friend once you know what speaks to them the most. If your friend is Acts of Service, consider doing a small errand for them this week. You may never know how helpful that could be.
- Let them know how much they matter. No matter how you choose to be intentional with a relationship in your life, the ultimate goal is to let that person know how much they mean to you. That even in this busy season of life, they are important to you and worth sacrificing for. Everyone is different, and only you know the best way you can show them that.
I hope that this post inspires you to reconnect with a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, or to go a little out of your way for those around you this week. As Christians, we are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus. When we become so consumed in our own lives, we are neglecting to show Christ’s love to those around us.
“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:18
God knew that talk is cheap, and easy. The real test of friendship or character is in our doing. Thank you for sharing coffee with me and reflecting on what intentionality is in our lives!