(Right away I need to share that I’m shamelessly taking this continuum idea from a book called Half Time by Bob Buford.)
Amongst believers and among humanity in general, we go through an over-all healthy process of maturing. We start as extremely dependent beings. We move to increasingly independent beings. And then, as we become confident in our own skin and less anxious about others and their ability to upset our “progress” we realize the health of wise and regular interdependent living. The funny thing is that we’d be very healthy to teach our children and practice ourselves the value of interdependent living from the get go and all the way through life.
Even more vital is to realize that God has provided us to each other amidst humanity. God is ultimately our Source and Delight whether we’re recognizing Him as such or not. I was speaking with someone I’ve gotten to know through the last year or so in various contexts and she shared with me that she doesn’t believe in very much about the Christian God, and yet she has been lately praying to Him more and more frequently. She has headed up to Yosemite National Park a few times recently and has been praying to and falling in love with the God Who created all of this amazing creation. She began tearing up as she spoke, sharing that she was amazed she was sharing this with someone who professes Christ. As we spoke, her demeanor would go back and forth between soft and amazed by this God and our conversation and then hard and guarded and wanting to move on to other topics. God works through us, friends, and we need one another and benefit from interacting face to face, heart-to-heart, sharing our struggles and realizing that God is present for us through one another.
Among believers now specifically, I want to present the case for consistent time in God’s Word. As we soak in God’s Word and in prayer before our God every day, our interdependence among believers soars and our opportunity to refresh one another increases, not because we all become academics together but because we’re all reading the same affectionate letter from our Source, our God, our everything. We’re all praying to Him and submitting our lives to Him. As we share our lives with one another, we find our burdens lifting as God lifts them and spreads them between each other, but He ultimately is relieving our burdens and making them bearable as we learn to shoulder weight for one another. Confess your sins and share your burdens with one another. Admit weaknesses in appropriate contexts, and you’ll find courage in this place of resting and trusting in God amidst His people. I’ve been hurt pretty deeply and have been steered in unhealthy directions when I’ve only been dependent upon others. But, when we’re interdependent, we more quickly share our burdens in the context of taking others’ burdens upon ourselves. We can easily believe we don’t have the strength to take burdens for others, but let’s give it a try a little more frequently. When we do so knowing we’ll be able to do the same a few times in the same week, we more and more frequently begin looking for opportunities to bear people’s burdens and present requests to God on their behalf.
Lastly, something I was writing about more frequently when I first started this blog is this: Let’s be the answer to each other’s prayers as often as we find opportunity or God gives us insight. This is where our days get very refreshing to live. When you find more and more creative ways to GIVE instead of TAKE in relation to those God has placed in your life, WE GAIN NEW ENERGY and COURAGE FOR LIVING.
This is a C.S. Lewis idea, admitting here and often that many of my ideas come from the readings I’ve been so much enjoying in God’s Word and in the living rooms of dear author friends. Let’s BE THE ANSWER TO EACH OTHER’S PRAYER REQUESTS AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE.
Love you, dear friends.
P.S. Got this photo from a buddy, Dave Collie, who took this looking off the back of the neighborhood where I grew up, just 10 minutes from where I live now. Dave and Jenn and their kids are dear friends, and I know I’ll blog about their example and lovely way of living out the Great Commission in time. They are so refreshing to enjoy and follow, and Carrie and I count ourselves so blessed to have them as friends.