5 Ways to Be Intentional with your Relationships
Although surrounding myself in community is my favorite part of life right now, it hasn’t always been. It was hard to find the people who lifted me up with encouragement, felt like personal cheerleaders, and brought natural joy into my life. But college, and essentially life, is so much about the journey, the transformation, the discovery of who you are, of what lights you up, and fills you with an undeniable joy. When I began investing in my community in a new way, something shifted. I traded comparison and fear for a whole-hearted, intentional pursuit of my friends’ hearts.
If you are a visual learner like me, here is an analogy to help you picture what I am saying.
Imagine, you just pulled off the biggest surprise party for your friend’s birthday. In preparation, you asked questions with intentionality and listened intently to gather information about your friend’s favorite things and birthday dreams. You invested time making the perfect party, decorations, and cake. You rounded up your best pals, you orchestrated how the party would remain a secret, and how you would get your friend to the party. In the same way you invested your time, energy, and attention to pool your resources and community together to throw the celebration of the year, you can do in your daily pursuit of celebrating your community.
There’s a powerful truth in celebrating others that brings life, passion, and authenticity.
I want to encourage you dear friends, to plant seeds for relationships that point back to Jesus and fulfill your spiritual needs. When we’re willing to plant the seeds, and continually show up to invest our time, energy, and attention, we allow the Lord to create relationships and communities deeply rooted and nourished by Him. Our relationships begin to reflect who He is and who we are in Him. We can clearly choose compassion over comparison. We choose love and celebration over bitterness and jealously. We remove the enemies power to disconnect and invite the Lord to be the Truth and life at the centerpiece.
5-powerful ways to celebrate the people in your community:
SEND SNAIL MAIL - Celebrate the old-fashioned way. Jot down a memory with them that you treasure, share how they influence you, share how you are proud of them, and thank them for their friendship and influence on you! (Hint: Target’s dollar section has the cutest cards).
- LOOK FOR WAYS TO SERVE – pick up a coffee for them on your way to class, or offer to help them study for that big exam. Your little actions will go a long way and brighten up their day with a little bit of extra care!
- PURCHASE A SMALL GIFT– Next time you walk through a dollar section in a store, grab the first small gift that makes you think of them, or surprise your pal by sending a Starbucks e-gift card. The gift itself may be insignificant, but the knowledge that you were thinking of them speaks volumes! Your pal feels like she/he is known, cared for, and celebrated by your thoughtfulness and effort behind the gift.
- PLAN INTENTIONAL TIME TOGETHER – creating a memory > extravagance. Meet up for coffee, a picnic, a walk or bike ride in the neighborhood; plan a day to eat lunch off campus with a group of friends and make all “school talk” forbidden. Spend a little time getting to know each other personally and deeply.
- SHARE WORDS OF AFFIRMATION - Simple heartfelt gratitude gives extra meaning and purpose to our daily actions. Be specific. It’s a wonderful gift to show the other person how much you care about his or her unique role in your life. Share how you believe in your friend and his/her abilities. Here are a few phrases to get you started…
- I appreciate that you . . .
- I am thankful that you . . .
- I’m glad to have you as my (mom, sister, friend, etc.) because . . .
- I believe in you because . . .
- It impressed me when you . . .
- When you need something to lift your spirits, just remember that . . .
- I’m so thankful to have you in my life because . . .
- It makes me happy when you . . .
- I’m proud of you for . . .
If you are familiar with the 5 Love Languages, these may sound familiar.
We were created to be connected and to live fully through our relationships with our communities and the Lord.
When we learn to celebrate others, we intentionally and eagerly display for our friends to see and experience that they are loved, they are seen, they are known, and they are valued.
When we live from a place of connection, community, and collaboration rather than a place of comparison and competition, it becomes natural to celebrate and our hearts shift to celebration because we truly believe in our friends and neighbors. Our hearts desire to continually raise others up and encourage their pursuits and being.
How will you celebrate your friends this week?
Karly // @karlyprichard
Hi Friends, I'm Karly Prichard! I studied Communications at Manchester University and am a fresh December 2017 grad (Woohoo!). In this new season, my prayer is for the Lord to grow, strengthen, and stretch me in the stillness to encourage, love, and serve even greater. The Lord called me to push pause on my wild desires to travel to move home to be rooted and invest in relationships there first. My heart was crafted for using creativity to share stories and build connections around the world. My passion is rooted in the stories I hear, the places I travel, and the communities I have been immersed in. You can catch me whipping up smoothie bowls layered with peanut butter or sitting by the lake with a journal in hand.