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Where Are You Planting Seeds for Future Relationships?


#1

Page 132-133 describe not only the different spheres of relationship around our lives, but also demonstrate how acquaintances can grow into intimate friendships. This is more an organic process than a contrived one, but it does remind me to think about where and how I am planting seeds today for getting to know people today that may grow into friendships tomorrow. I’d estimate that for every 100 people Sara and I invest time in, about 20% of those actually go on to become friendships. The reasons for that are varied. It may be lack of time and proximity, it may be there just isn’t any chemistry there that allows a friendship to grow, or it may be that God only intended the connection to be for a moment. But that means for 80% of the people we initiate some contact with, nothing enduring results. That’s why we continue to open the door for connection and trust God for those friendships that grow more enduring.

We are always looking for those God might want us to spend time with and regularly we are inviting people into our lives by inviting them over our out for a meal. We also look for activities we might share in together that allows friendship to grow.

How are you currently planting seeds of relationship with others?


#2

This one I have a problem with. We use to call them… " a time and a season" relationship. But it seems these ones, when ways are parted, the parting gift is guilt. Guilt for breaking off a relationship. Guilt for not investing enough time in maintaining it. Guilt.

When more than one person is involved in a relationship, rarely if never are both people in 100% agreement. One wants to leave, one wants to hang on.

I wish I could come to a peace that some connections are okay to be seasonal. When do you let go…when the connection becomes more of an obligation than an attraction? I have found myself attracted to people (I am talking platonic attraction) and exited for a relationship to grow, but either time or circumstances cause that excitement to fall into obligation. Friendships are different than marriage. We don’t usually solidify commitment’s with our friends. We just become friends. So why the guilt in my soul when I want to distance myself from a person. Or even the guilt when someone wants to distance themselves from me.

Either way… broken hearts follow.

Thank you.

PS. Sorry, no answer to your question… Don’t think I’m seeding right now… feels more like I’m in the midst of a summer fallow season. I’ve been investing my relationship skills with my family and my coworkers right now, and the odd dalliance with a few old friends. New friends will have to wait.


#3

This is a topic that has been pretty huge on my heart for the last year. We moved into a new neighborhood last March, and it has been a bit of an adjustment. We live in a fairly small community, so we still see our old neighbors and friends, but it seems it has been much harder to plant seeds in this new community. We go outside, go to the nearby park, and have met a few people, but it seems our whole block is full of recluses that never come outside or want to interact (even though we’ve tried).

We’ve also been through a season of continually inviting others over for dinner or trying to plant seeds for future relationships, yet are finding it incredibly difficult to connect with people. Even those with whom we have relationships, everyone seems over-booked and scheduled to the max. I’m not sure if it’s the season of life we’re in or what. We have busy schedules too, but we want to invest in people and not just activities.

This has also been a matter of much prayer over the last year. I have prayed that God would lead me to those people that He wants me to invest in, yet there has been little that has developed. I have, though, been reconnecting with some acquaintances and friends from former years as a pastor and am eager to plant seeds there as God leads.

Does anyone else find couples (w/ kids especially) so busy that there’s little room for relationship? I also find that being invited to one’s home for dinner is becoming a lost art form - anyone else experiencing that?


#4

Planting seeds for friendships and relationships is a bit of a foreign concept for me (or maybe I haven’t learned those social skills good enough yet)… I think I have been having a little bit of maturing in learning these skills over the last few months. It seems like I have tried to hunt for friends for the last few years (since leaving the IC), and can’t seem to find anyone that wants to spend time together.

I have one friend that is willing to listen to me talk about stuff I have learned (like the stuff in “Finding Church”), and I’m slowly getting rid of all my agendas and only focusing on God’s love and living by faith instead of self-effort and religious obligation.

I have been mostly focusing on trying to be sociable and kind so people don’t feel awkward when I’m around them. I also do things like eat lunch with co-workers, which is a big thing in my area (Southern U,S.). I eat with various ethnic peoples, the poor, alcoholics, and unbelievers…

I have tried to invite people to my house for a meal, but it is extremely rare to have someone come to my house and eat with me.

I think my situation is similar to Ruby and Will_Ratliff.

Lenny
Bailey, NC


#5

Thanks for the question Wayne. The question has encouraged me to give considerable thought into how I will proceed in the coming months due to some major changes coming my way. “Gatherings” is where I struggle the most. I find myself meeting up with a friend here and there but I’m not making new friends or "planting new relationship seeds. The one-on-one coffee meetings are with friends I have had through the formal gatherings in church (the machine) where I previously attended or para church groups in which I have been involved.

I am a business owner of a music school. We recently held our first recitals of the season. At the end of the recital, we gather for refreshments and a time of fellowship. This gathering reminds me of the time before and after an organized church gatherings where true fellowship and friendship grows. One time per year barely touches the surface for relationship. However, sadly, this might be the only place other than with my own family where I have the privilege of “planting seeds for future relationships.” I have known many of the parents and students for years. At times I feel like they are my parishioners. However, big changes are coming! I am selling my business in the next month. Once my status as boss and owner/teacher changes to the-average-Jane, I intend to pursue growing the seeds of relationship with some the Instructors. I would also love to get to know a couple of the families who have been bringing their children to us for many years. We’ll see if I have the courage to seek them out. I’ll have to put on my big-girl pants and brace for rejection. I am open to ideas as to how I should go about doing this “seeking out.”


#6

This might sound shallow… but back in the day… making friends came with the expenses I dished out to be a part of the “church” club scene when I was single and could allocate resources to such things.

Now I find it more challenging to want to engage new friends because they come with a financial expense that I can’t readily dish out at this juncture in my journey. I find that very thing has discouraged me from making new friends in the last 8 years.

Like I said before … family and co-workers is where the investment is. Everyone else… I can’t afford right now. Like I said… sounds shallow… but it’s the truth. Am I the only one on this track???

Ruby from Calmar


#7

Hi Ruby,

I’m in a similar situation as you… I think you are right on the mark with what you said. :slight_smile:

My income is very low and I don’t have a lot of money to fix big dinners for a lot of people, and I don’t have a lot of money to go out and do stuff around town either (like movies or whatever). I don’t think of it as shallow, it’s simply a practical matter of a low income.

I would be glad to invite people to have a night at my home to watch tv, movies, play board games, hang out to talk and eat snack foods… but the big problem is, that, it doesn’t matter who I invite or how many people I invite, because I always end up with zero people wanting to come over.

Lenny
Bailey, NC


#8

There really aren’t seeds here. I probably sound like a broken record but I seriously wish I could just have step one. That God loves me and that I could be secure in that. I’m not asking for everything to be solved or fixed. But God’s love has been SO distorted with bible verses that I really have trouble with it. I wish sometimes that people could experience what it’s like in this town. It really is cult mentality over here. An affluent popular pastor who has written so many books (which should be put in the trash) about what’s wrong with the other christian groups who he would say really aren’t christians is so stifling. You can’t escape it here. If there are those who don’t drink that concoction of crazy I have no idea where they are. If it wouldn’t lead to my being burned at the stake I would put out a wanted add, Attention! Anyone who is not doped up on Calvinism and said pastor let’s get together and see where things go. If we meet and don’t like each other I still want the best for you and there is no pressure to make a life commitment to me. Signed Let’s Break Free of this Crap


#9

I get that fellowship isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. You can meet someone in a park and each bring bag lunch, or just have a drink somewhere. It’s not about the cost financially. Most people are willing to meet up without financial outlay. And if none of the people I invite want to get together, then I’d look for other people who do. These are things to discuss with Jesus and let him give us solutions. They are barriers to overcome, not barriers to keep us from the life of his people…


#10

The subject of planting seeds for future relationships has been on my heart for a lot longer than a year and has been a much prayed about subject. Alongside Mr M, planting seeds for friendships and relationships as a bit of a foreign concept to me or was.
Having been in a cult and what happened when I left the IC with the former offering abuse and the latter where people just seem to disappear into thin air. One day we were good friends, seemingly, inviting each other to meals and doing things and the next after Father gave me a word to “come away He wants to show something” and I told them they were gone.
So to be honest after reading He Loves me I decided that friendships weren’t needed and if the rest of my days was just me and Jesus that would be ok. I’m thankful for the fact that the Spirit is with me and the fact that I am open to learning from Scriptures, podcasts and various other books like this Finding Church, I have started to move away from the kingdom of me and am trying​ to think more of others that come across my path everyday. I have in the past, like in the gym, been speaking to somebody and it was just a general conversation about life, that I have come away from these conversations realising I haven’t said one word about or tried to move the conversation to an opening that shared God in any way . Following that I end up feeling loads of guilt and spend ages beating on myself. So much so that I have thought of emailing Wayne, jumping up and down reading the Bible and various other things until I decide to slow down and have a word with myself and basically said who’s building the church and is Jesus able to do the job?? The answer to that is always a YES… so why do I do this beating myself up and trying to build something when he’s not in it and if he is in it I need to allow myself the chance to learn from him as we go. It is this that is what I’ve been opening myself to more and more of late.
I’m very grateful to be reading the stories here that have been posted and thank you all so much because they actually make me feel that I am normal and not alone on this path.
The Great Commission as it was so often used to get me to evangelize and do things that really have shown no fruits when I was in the IC has had me wondering of late, am I where you want me God? I am praying for God’s ways to come and asking Him to show me where and how to spread His love to those He wants to spread it to. I do get “nudges” some I follow some I don’t. It is this area that I feel I am also learning to follow Him today, trying to discern which is which me or Him.
Is this part of the Transformation I have been in need of? Oh I forgot hope so as I really want an end to not having someone to share my journey with.

I have planted many seeds at my workplace but to be honest a lot of the people there rarely see others outside of work. Is this because a lot of them are of Asian origin and different religions and working nights that really hasn’t been a place where I found that people want to socialise much afterwards and at weekends. I do however share more of God with others here than anywhere else.
When I come to my recent gym membership, now there is a place where there is a couple I have been getting rather friendly with of late however we are not at the point yet of inviting out for meals or anything like that and we are going through the awkward stage. Will that come to anything? Well I’m going to just try relax whilst I ask Jesus to open doors and show me if this is what He wants. I am simply going to try relax and let Him take control.


#11

With the work thing… I can tell you how I process my work environment as it relates to relationship. Because I spend more waking hours at work than I do at home, I realize there is potential for these people to be closer to me than my family. So what I do so that doesn’t happen, is I keep most of my coworkers at an emotional distance. There are always a couple that I get closer to, but for the most part… when I leave the office behind, I also choose to leave the people behind. Sucks to think that this is the greatest potential for me to have good friends, but it is work. We are paid to be here to do a job.

My husband and I were first co-workers, but he was told not to engage this “cute welder chick” he found in any social context. If the relationship went sideways, someone would leave… and the boss didn’t want either one of us to leave, so he discouraged the relationship. I rectified that years later and we got married. But that is how it is. Work can be inhibited by personal issues, conflict and even relationship. Like I said… it sucks… but that is how it is.

Ruby from Calmar.


#12

So true "it sucks," at my workplace if you get too close or stand on any toes as in offend anyone you could potentially lose your job.
I normally wait till someone asks what I believe. Of the few that this has come up with they normally agree when I throw in that religion is manmade, this has lead of into some interesting conversations at times. I have taken to listening to that podcasts “A Christian and a Muslim walk into a studio,” as I have many muslims at work and find it a helpful insight into what they think, I have only listened to I think three so far but will catch up as time allows. Wayne was on a few in the past. I am going to have a look into Hindu and Buddhists as they are all there, sadly no Jews, well that I know of??
I leave myself open to God wanting to spread His love to those people which would be amazing. I think of this often what will become of them in the next life as there are some that are following a religion just because it is family tradition and there would be huge trouble if they decided to change. Some families would disown them without a chance, so scary.
God has a plan for them I hope but for me all I know today is to show them the love asand when I feel the nudge. I do also leave the wisdom up to God as to what comes out my mouth as it could cost my job at the drop of a wrong word to the wrong ear.

Ian
from Colnbrook near Heathrow UK…
(Lol I keep forgetting this…)


#13

Thought I’d add this little happening that just took place a moment ago in the shopping centre I was visiting earlier this morning.
I was sitting on a bench and a fellow dressed in the Islamic dress was walking towards me, I could see he wanted to talk even from a distance, when he did get closer the first words out of his mouth where "I’m scared."
I replied, “oh gosh whatever for?”
“So much abuse I am getting as I just going about my daily shopping,” he replied
All this is happening here after the Manchester suicide bomber that took place Monday. It was amazing how naturally this happened, I just felt really sad for this stranger. You could see he looked a genuine gentle sort of man, his eyes gave it away. Long story short, I asked him to sit a moment so we could talk. We had a really lovely heart to heart for a moment then he said he needed to carry on. He gave a hearty thank you saying it was good to meet me this day. What encouraged me was the lift I could see in the man as he walked off.
I just said, quietly "thank you Jesus, you do work in mysterious ways."
I’m really not sure who parted from that conversation feeling more encouraged, but I can say it boosted my morning way up into the clouds. It also told me that God is able to bring about spreading His love in any place He chooses and at the drop of a hat before you know it your in the middle a a great conversation that is so warming and is simply slinging Father’s affection all over the place… :joy:
Ian
from Colnbrook bear Heathrow UK.


#14

I have loved the discussion here and the individual wrestling with what this means for each person. This is not something we’ll navigate effectively by human wisdom and protocols, but one where we need to follow the Spirit as he sets us in the family in a way that befits the great tapestry he is weaving.

I’ve known people who are able to take that love and concern into the workplace without running afoul of the necessary protocols, but not shying away either from taking an interest in others. Many of them have become de facto “pastors” (in the best sense of the word by the help and care they extend to people that actually increases the productivity of the business. One friend of mine would take people out to lunch who were fired a couple of weeks after the fact, just to make sure they were OK and to help them think through other job options. At the store he worked in people would often seek him out for lunch to share some of their personal struggles and get his counsel or prayers. Seeing how helpful this was to his employees the boss commended him.

It may not be possible everywhere, but it is often possible to LIVE community wherever we are and not have to create special environments in an attempt to build community.


#15

I will be honest, and humble enough to admit that this subject matter has been a little bit frustrating for me, but I believe that God has already helped me find some helpful things in some of Waynes articles.

Here are the articles:

1.What is God asking of you?
2.The deepest freedom

You can look these up on your favorite internet search engine.

There is some really good stuff in these articles that is very helpful.

P.S.
I don’t think God helped me in exactly the way I wanted or expected, but it did help me quite a lot.

  • Thanks Wayne…

Lenny
Bailey, NC


#16

Oh yes MrM you rule dude!!..
now I too am a little old for calling people dude and unlike Wayne I don’t live in California so what is my excuse…

I logged on this discussion not to read past posts but to catch up with the new chapter 15 ones. I found myself getting nosey as little notification told me there where a few posts on this topic I read your posting here and did a search of these two articles. The ones that came up on Lifestream, they had me captivated and that was that, 3 hours later I have surfaced to be able to say loudly… WOW!! I have been finding out what has been going on over the past few months.
So encouraging, and thank you for posting them.

I find it so uplifting when i sit quietly and contemplate real life happenings that have been going on in my life and I can see a drawing towards a better way which is God’s way. Reading these articles I have to marvel at the way Wayne words it all. It explains with simplicity just what is happening and allows me to see God at work here.
It’s Waynes gift that I know God has given and is using to help us. so from me too…

Thanks Wayne, thanks for taking the time to follow what God was asking of you as it has helped me.


#17

Hi Ian,

I loved the way you used the word dude… :slight_smile: LOL… I have people here in the U.S. Call me that sometimes.

I’m glad the articles were helpful. I still think about those articles a lot and keep going back to read them again or read parts of them again.

I had an interesting thing happen recently… I saw that one of the people that clicked like on some of Waynes Face-Book posts, lives and works in the town right next to where I live. I contacted them this week, we talked on the phone, and will be meeting this week for lunch.


#18

We are not currently planting seeds or maybe we don’t realize we are. We rarely have people over since we are both introverts. I have connections at work that are stronger than I’ve ever had in church. My husband has coworkers, but I wouldn’t say they are close. I do believe God puts people in our life intentionally.


#19

I had an interesting thing happen recently… I saw that one of the people that clicked like on some of Waynes Face-Book posts, lives and works in the town right next to where I live. I contacted them this week, we talked on the phone, and will be meeting this week for lunch.

Now that is cool, it’s things like this that can and have encouraged me. I find it so warming to just sit and know that Father has my life in His hand and there is no need to struggle and strive but simple enjoy this moment whilst He takes care of the next. A bit like that artice you posted and playing NATO golf, (Not Attached To Outcome)

have a great lunch MrM :wink:


#20

Some of my most enduring, life changing relationships came out of what I’d call divine circumstance. I didn’t seek them out , but it just happened to be in right place at right time.