Monday, February 28, 2011 ::
Tuesday, February 22, 2011 ::
Monday, February 21, 2011 ::
My good friend, Jenn, often speaks with interesting word choices. Her written communication is thorough, organized, and entertaining. Her spoken communication is also very clear, but let’s just say it is often a bit on the nerdy side. Her favorite word is vomit. How weird is that? One time when a group of us were hanging out she described my new phone as being “really fresh.” I’m still not exactly sure what she meant, and you can be sure we teased her a little bit.
Fresh. I think it is a pretty interesting adjective. It helps you understand that said object is not stale, or rotten, or old. Fresh conjures of thoughts of sights, fragrances, or tastes that your senses will most likely enjoy. I love the deep, overwhelming smell of fresh cut grass. Although I would not particularly enjoy the taste, I’ve been told that vine ripened, hand picked, homegrown fresh tomatoes are divine. Last week I visited Muir Woods near San Francisco. The vast amount of shades of green I saw in the amazingly fresh vegetation was mesmerizing. Fresh may become one of new favorite words.
In one of the many conversations I had last week with my friends in San Francisco, the topic of freshness in relationships was briefly mentioned. One of the women made a brief statement that she works to keep her friendships fresh, that many people only talk about keeping marriages fresh, but she believes that freshness needs to be brought into all relationships. Not much else was mentioned on the subject, but my brain has been mulling this over since that day. (And many, many other topics that were brought up last week that I will slowly unpack.)
To be honest, it is pretty easy for me to describe what Chad and I do to keep our marriage fresh. I have no desire to have an old, stale, rotten marriage. We talk about everything, go on dates, explore new things with our kids, and challenge each other to grow in our thinking about God and how he wants to move and work in our lives. If we ever feel a lack of freshness, one of us addresses the issue. There is no room for stinky oldness in our relationship. Freshness is a priority.
But what about in my friendships? What does it even look like to keep friendships fresh? How do you keep from talking about the same old things? What can be a tangible abacus of freshness? Do my friends desire continued growth in relationships? If yes, then how?
As I’ve thought about this, to be honest, I’ve been a little disappointed in myself. In so many areas of my life, I’m proactive. Although I would say that I’m a relational person, it is difficult for me to describe ways that I am taking initiative to keep my friendships fresh. Here are a few examples of ways Chad and I have seen freshness in our friendships:
- new people pursue us
- Ticket to Ride (a fun board game that we just started playing)
- new ministry ideas that some of our friends enjoy discussing
- spontaneous book discussions
- new food experiences (Friends having our whole family over for dinner or taking our whole family out for Ethiopian.)
- parties organized in such a way to keep things interesting and intentional
- genuine conversational sharing of what God is teaching us...questions, shared ideas that lead to more questions and so on and so on
What about you? Have you thought about keeping your friendships fresh? How are you doing it? What keeps you from keeping things fresh?
And, before anyone gets snarky and responds with a naive “Well, it will just happen naturally” let me remind you that good tomato vines take watering, pruning, weeding, harvesting. Fresh cut grass means that someone is pushing (or riding) a lawn mower. The beautiful shades of green in Muir Woods have been growing for thousands of years. The conservation effort is enormous. So, please let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that relationships don’t take real, honest, hard work. Intentionality is the minimum requirement for freshness in friendship.
Let me hear your thoughts...
Tuesday, February 15, 2011 ::
- Other people's ideas stimulate more ideas in my head.
- Vision is often refined through strategic conversation.
- New ways of saying the same old thing brings clarity in keeping or throwing out the same old things.
- Deep talk often leads to deep laughter.
- People's real life stories are often told in the context of long meaningful conversation.
- Books I've never heard of are often suggested reads when others share ideas.
- Meaningful conversation is never about teaching something to someone, or elevating yourself over the others in the room. It is mutual, eye to eye, brain to brain, heart to heart conversation.
- People who are asking good questions and genuinely listening to the answers can have great insight into your life. Moreover, good conversation is never one-sided, only one person sharing their heart.
- People are diverse, see the world differently, process information through their intellect or their emotions. Conversing with people who have similar passions as you, but see the world differently takes you to deeper places in your own way of seeing the world. Change in your own life is a wonderful part of conversation.
- Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, loving, mutual, authentic conversation is life-giving.
- Good conversation moves beyond the weather, politics, gossip about others, or awkward lulls. Topics of real life flow gracefully.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011 ::
It’s February 15th which means it’s time to post your second memory verse for the month. I recently skimmed a couple of paragraphs that talked about memorizing verses being a waste of time. Can you imagine my irritation? I can say that if you are just memorizing your verses to look spiritual, or to please someone, or because you don’t want to miss the band wagon than you will definitely NOT get the full benefit. However, I trust the Spirit of God so much that even if your motives are completely skewed, He will be faithful to transform your life through His word that is living and active! I just think the person who wrote that stuff needs to come talk to our Moxie Memorizers so he can see our excitement!
I’m currently in the process of reading books about God’s heart for the fatherless, widows, the poor, and immigrants. One of the books that I’m reading is called Generous Justice by Timothy Keller. In the introduction he said that he had been thinking about social justice continuously since he was in college in the 1950s, so he wrote a book about it and published it in 2010. He had been pondering these deep things for 60 years!? Whoa. I knew I had better sit up and pay attention as I read his words. The book has been rich. God is stirring some interesting things in my heart that I’m not quite ready to talk about yet, but I probably won’t wait 60 years to tell you which means you better read his book so that that you can get his aged and refined wisdom.
Anyway, all that to say, my verses for awhile may be in that general theme. Tim Keller (the author) is fluent in biblical languages and he translates the word alien or foreigner to immigrant. I will be using this word in my verses as well because it conveys the truth in a language that speaks to my heart and my surroundings.
Zechariah 9:9-10 This is what the Lord Almighty says: Administer true justice, show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the immigrant or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other. (NIV)
I love that this short passage talks about taking care of one another and the people who are often oppressed or forgotten in our society. Deep pondering going on inside of me...I’m excited and a little nervous to see what God wants to show me through these themes.
Keep up the good memorizing work! I am so looking forward to the stories that will begin to surface on how God is using His word in your every day lives. Can’t wait to see what you are memorizing next!