There seems no plan because it is all plan. – C.S. Lewis
Monthly Archives: February 2012
“Quiet time” is a churchy or religious term for time spent alone with Jesus. Common activities during this time are reading the Bible, prayer, writing in a journal, and listening to or singing worship music. For a variety of reasons, some people have moved away from using this term in recent years. To some people it has been overused, to some it sounds far more boring than it is, to some it simply is not a good description of what it is: time spent with Jesus. My dad calls it “God time,” I call it “quality time with Jesus,” another friend calls it “sweet time with Jesus!” (always with an exclamation point). What do you call it?
A couple years ago, I was going through a season of many, many weddings and births. Every time I went to another shower or wedding, I simultaneously loved celebrating with my friends and felt left out of all the fun and moving to new seasons of life. I plaintively asked God why I couldn’t have that too. (I used to hope that I’d get married right after college, but that didn’t happen.)
His response* was almost instantaneous, “If you had gotten married right after college, you wouldn’t have been where I wanted you, wouldn’t have moved to this town and job and college ministry. Would you want to trade your experiences for the past six years to have gotten married earlier?”
A mental montage of highlights and lowlights played in my mind, experiences I would have missed. “No, of course not.”
“Do you want to trade what comes next in the your unique life story in order to live a pale imitation of someone else’s story?”
“Then what are you complaining about? You like your life and wouldn’t trade what I’m doing in it for a different life. Look, no two life stories are the same and you can’t have both your own and someone else’s. You can choose an imitation of another’s story; I am not forcing you into this. If you opt out of My dreams for you, you won’t ruin My master plan but you and everyone around you will miss out on the story I want to tell with your life.”
We each have the opportunity to be a real-life, walking-around, one-of-a kind display of God’s power, love, and infinite creativity.
The LORD directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the LORD holds them by the hand.
*No, it was not an audible response and I am not “hearing voices.” I believe God can and does speak to people in many different ways; this is simply how He spoke to me that day.
One of the things I am looking forward to about heaven is that none of my friends will be dating and getting married (Mark 12) and none of us will be pressed for time. Seriously, 2010 was a record-breaking year of weddings and I have had six friends get married so far this year. Don’t get me wrong, I love to celebrate my friends’ happiness but I grow weary of “losing” and missing one close friend after another.
Most of the time, I enjoy being single. Something I dislike, though, is being left out because I do not have a significant other to do social activities with my friends and their sweeties. Some friends vanish when they start dating someone. Some manage to squeeze in “hang out time” until wedding plans get busy. After the wedding, the happy couple moves or is busy spending time together, with their families, and with their “couple friends.” If I was friends with the wife first, the two of us might get together occasionally (especially if I ask often). If I was friends with the husband, we don’t really hang out anymore unless we travel in the same social circles.
I’d Like to Tell Them…
You should understand I knew you were fantastic long before you met your sweetie
You should understand I am absolutely thrilled that you are happy together
You should understand sometimes I just miss my friend
I understand we are all busy
I understand we both prayed for you to find this person (and I don’t regret that!)
I understand wanting to spend lots and lots of time with your sweetie
I understand friendships change over the course of time
I understand life has seasons and this is a crazy one
I understand we still care about each other
I understand quality time means more to me than to some
I understand wanting to have “couple friends” when you are part of a couple
I understand, but that does not make me miss you less
Life Lessons (or How to Cope)
Step 1: Realize that not everything is about me.
Step 2: Weigh the opportunity cost. If I am upset, hurt, or annoyed by the changes to our closeness, I can choose to stew in that emotion or I can put more effort into staying maintaining the friendship.
Step 3: Decide that my close friends are, of course, worth the extra effort that it may take to get through this hectic season without losing touch completely.
Step 4: Be the social instigator. Invite friends to do things we both enjoy. Initiate social events for groups of friends. Try setting up a standing appointment. I have coffee* with two girl friends on the second Thursday of the month. Sometimes one of us misses or we cancel altogether, but the recurring plans mean that we still get together more often than when we tried to remember to set up one appointment at a time!
Step 5: Recognize that there is a season to let a friend go, but still remember and appreciate the past relationship.
*For us, “having coffee” means we will get together and talk and, at some point, we will discuss having coffee. Coffee consumption does not always occur, but that is still what we call it.
Originally posted on Practical Adventure, 13 October 2011
2010 was a record year for me in terms of celebrating my friends’ engagements, weddings, and babies! If you ever need ideas for wedding or baby showers, bachelorette parties, wedding or baby gifts, weddings, or bridesmaid responsibilities, just let me know. Here are some of the highlights of that year by the numbers.
- 13 babies were born to my friends
- 11 couples* got married
- 6 couples* are currently engaged (at the end of the year)
- 6 showers attended** (the laws of physics insist that I can only be in one place at a time)
- 6 months since my promotion to accountant
- 5-year anniversary of working in accounting
- 5 weddings attended (see previous comment on physics)
- 4 graduate classes completed (bringing my total earned hours to 16)
- 4 college football games attended
- 3-year anniversary of moving into my apartment
- 2 babies currently expected by my friends (that I know of)
- 2 times my tips were published on Lifehacker
*Where one or both people are my friends or acquaintances.
**Includes both wedding and baby showers.
Originally posted at Practical Adventure, 1 January 2011.