Can I make a caveat right at the get go here?
I am not a “Top Ten Tips” sort of person (well maybe Top Six Tips). I prefer to ask questions, tell you a story; but, not really into Bullet Points toward Success. That being said, I made this list for my church women’s retreat and thought sharing it here (with some tweaks) would be useful for you.
In the Genesis account of creation, we encounter a deeply relational God calling life into being; while, making earth his palace, and us his palace temple.
As Jesus desires to know us and for us to know him, so he also desires for us to be known by one another. Whether an introvert or extrovert, this task of being known can feel daunting as we make ourselves vulnerable to someone else. What if they don’t like me? What if I say the wrong thing like before? What if I struggle with conversing? What if I’ve been burned before by opening up?
All of these are real struggles. Ones I don’t want to undermine. However, can I gently nudge us toward awkward conversations rich in grace and dripping with redemptive honey? Can I offer some ideas of connecting with other women in your every day lives, so that we would be women marked by love & empowered by the Holy Spirit to step forth in that love?
Inviting a person(s) to your home to share a meal, or out to lunch or coffee, is a simple way to welcome them into your life. I find offering food & drink breaks down walls and provides an open conversation to occur. I once heard of a diplomat who would never meet with other diplomats, dignitaries, etc to discuss anything without the presence of a meal. He said by serving food, it created a conversation, a discussion. I like to think it created space for hospitality in a hostile world.
2. Kind Card (or text)
Maybe there’s someone you don’t know that well and you’re not sure about inviting them over. A non-intimidating way is sending them a card in the mail, an email of encouragement, or a text letting them know you are thankful for them & praying for them. The same applies for those you know well. I have found when a specific person is pressed upon my heart & mind, it’s the Holy Spirit’s way of telling me to pray & reach out to them.
3. Warm Hello
I find on Sunday mornings within my church body to be a great opportunity to make connections. There might be a person you’ve been wanting to meet; but, maybe you’re nervous & shy as to what their reaction would be. I encourage you to step up the courage and walk right over to say hello. Introduce yourself, and let them know you’ve wanted to meet them. For example, “Hi, my name is Kamille. I wanted to meet you and thought I should just come and introduce myself. So here I am.”
It may feel a bit awkward; but, most likely you will have made them feel wanted & loved by your bold act of stepping out with a warm hello. This warm hello applies even to people you know, or are getting to know.
4. Start an Interest Group
If you love to knit, find out other women who love to knit and start a knitting gathering. If you love to explore outdoors through hiking or snowshoeing, then send out an open invitation to join you. I have found doing the thing you love, learning from or teaching others about this passion is a natural bridge to building community and connectedness.
5. The Ministry of Using Our Hands Together
I fondly remember mentoring other women in college, where we could easily talk forever and share our heart stories. However, the very thought of sitting across from someone sharing your life makes you squeamish. What I have always found to hold more weight is when I am working alongside someone with my hands.
Inviting someone into my home to cook a meal, or anything using my hands to accomplish the work provides natural conversation. It creates pauses, without the feeling like one needs to carry the conversation or talk the whole time. It is through this ministering side by side where we not only minister to the recipient of our work; but, we minister to one another by hearing and telling our story.
6. Sharing Your Story
I believe one of Satan’s biggest tactics against us is shaming us. We feel ashamed, because we think we are the only ones who are struggling with (insert issue). As an extroverted, opinionated woman, I can easily begin to think my introverted, more quiet sisters never struggle and are therefore more holy. Crazy right?! What I have come to know is how Satan likes to use this shame, to use these words we tell ourselves about our story to further isolate us and prevent us from sharing.
My Hope for Grace Table & You
My hope for us at Grace Table is to create a space for you to share your story with other women in your real life community. Through sharing our story, our struggles, we are making room for the other to feel normal, to feel human. When we make another person feel human, we are opening the veil to see the imago dei in them.
Can you think of ways you have connected with people in your real life?