With a new year and a new decade come resolutions and goals. But before you start checking off the list and making vows to eat healthier, exercise more, and spend less, there might be something important to add to your resolutions this year: connect with others.
Connecting with others is how we can thrive in 2020. Doing life with others improves our physical and mental health. We were not meant to live in isolation. We were not created to be alone. We were created to thrive in community. And here are some ways to help you do exactly that in 2020!
1. Make relationships a priority.
To thrive in community, we must make our relationships a priority. With our cluttered calendars, it can be easy to let our friends and neighbors fall to the bottom of our to-do lists. I have had so many friendships that just ended because I stopped making time for them.
I made excuses about having too much work to do or having too many family commitments I had to say yes to. But the truth is part of my problem was not my busyness, but it was my unwillingness to put my busyness aside to make time for people that mattered (or that should have mattered more).
Making relationships a priority might include rescheduling an appointment to meet a struggling friend for coffee, making the time to call someone we haven’t connected with in a long time, and taking the time to mentor others and be mentored.
We all need to invest in others. And we all need others to invest in us. But we can’t invest in each other’s lives if we are constantly canceling our lunch dates and dinner plans because we can’t seem to make room for each other.
2. Show up.
Just show up. I know this sounds easy, but it can be incredibly difficult. Not only can it be difficult to make time to show up, but it can be hard to just show up.
When a friend calls to share her struggles and feelings, I can be really quick to jump right in and start talking about 101 ways she can overcome her struggles and find joy and fulfillment. But really, what she probably needs right now is just for me to listen and to just show up and sit with her.
When someone we love is facing a loss or really difficult circumstances, sometimes, the best way to show love is to show up, listen more, and talk less. When they are ready, we can ask them how we can help. But sometimes all the help they need is to simply have a soft place to land.
3. Build each other up.
In this age of social media, we have enough people using words to tear us and others down. There are plenty of channels where we hear the noise of negativity that affects how we feel about ourselves and others.
So, let’s drown out the noise of negativity and use words of affirmation to build each other up. Let’s look beyond each other’s flaws and past mistakes and point out each other’s gifts, strengths, and bright future.
When we choose to use words the right way, we can speak life and love into people’s lives, ignite their confidence, and give them a sense of purpose.
4. Share truth.
If we show up for others and build them up with our words, we will have the opportunity to share truth that can transform their lives.
We can’t just start speaking truth to someone we haven’t taken the time to pour into. Truth comes across best in relationships built on love and a mutual respect.
And when it comes time to share truth, it is incredibly difficult. But truth is a necessary part of relationships. If we want to truly thrive in community, we need to be willing to let others speak truth to us and to be willing to speak the truth in love to others. This is an important way for us to experience true transformation and to reach our potential.
5. Challenge each other.
Let’s not just be comfortable with others speaking truth into our lives; let’s be comfortable with others challenging us to take action.
Someone might challenge our thinking on a cultural issue. Someone might challenge us to take a calculated risk to achieve our goals. Someone might challenge the way we handle a problem at work or at home.
When a friend or family member challenges us to think differently or take some type of action, we don’t need to take it personally. We need to rise to the challenge to either think or do something differently or to take steps to better understand why we think the way we do.
Let’s challenge each other to become better people and better connected to God—two things we cannot do alone.
To thrive in community means we must have a community. We need a group of people where we feel loved and accepted and that meets us right where we are. This year, make it a priority, not just another resolution, to connect with others and form a healthy community!
Kick off 2020 the right way by joining a group and connecting with others! In January, we’re forming new groups for men, women, young professionals, and couples that will meet onsite at our campuses or online during Future Quest, a six-week study to help you create a better tomorrow today!