Finding our people is one of life’s best discoveries. But when we are distanced from others emotionally or physically, we can feel untethered. If a good friend has moved recently or you’ve experienced the disconnection that occurs with busyness, you might feel restless. Are you grieving the loss of a loved one? Is a relationship strained and you’re not sure where you stand?
I know the weight of loneliness when spending time alone is not by choice. Or when feelings of discouragement create a veil between me and others. Not being seen or understood is the most painful isolation.
I’ve invited you over for lemonade. We’re sitting beneath my pergola and the breeze is warm and the sky is hazy. It feels good to be together talking about the importance of noticing the community that encircles and includes us in different ways. God gives us people. Our lives are enriched when we see them, receive them, and hold them as dear.
Friends! Ah, so thankful for them. Tell me about some of your earliest friendships. What is the longest friendship you’ve maintained? Is there someone from days of old you might reach out to now? Those who have gone through circumstances and seasons with us become a part of our routine. Early schoolmates, college friends, coworkers, military comrades, fellow parents.
Those who physically attend your church and those who are part of the larger body of Christ are all connected. Think of those you’ve had Bible studies with or prayed for. Consider the millions who face hardship and must persevere for their faith. Pray for those who feel outside of the church. May we embrace them and show God’s love.
Everyone you walk by and interact with at the grocery store, home store, theater, or the park is a person in your circle. It’s just a bigger circle than you typically think of. Beyond your neighbors is a whole world of community folks you can include in your prayers: clerks, teachers, business owners and employees, baristas, civic leaders, service workers, students, kids, our society members who live on the streets.
People you meet through similar interests can become kindred spirits. You might not have anything else in common, but no matter! You bond with one another through passions such as fitness training, reading, writing, food, humanitarian efforts, pets, music, movies, sports, and more.
God trusts us and compels us to notice and care about others. Through this, we adopt a tenderness for those who are sick, looking for work, struggling with life, brokenhearted, kept on the sidelines, and anyone in need. Our capacity for compassion is inspired by advocates and individuals who are being a light in the world in their own special way. Those people are also a part of our circles because they beckon us to be our best.
These are individuals with whom we have deep, personal relationships. They know us the best and are intertwined with our histories in layered, complex ways. These are our family members, our spouse, and our children. They are the most familiar with our moods, flaws, strengths, and quirks, which makes their love all the more valued. Every person can become one of our people when we hold them as a gift and are present to them when we see them, greet them, interact with them, or pray for them. This is how God will weave together your life with theirs. This is how God cares for the world.
Explorations and Actions
Praying for people draws us closer to them. Here is a brief prayer for each kind of relationship.
Camaraderie—God, give me a heart of gratitude forthose who do life beside me.
Church—Lord, help me encourage my spiritual brothersand sisters.
Community—Jesus, may I see the specialness in each person I encounter and learn more about your character through them.
Connection—God, thank you for the fellowship of kindred spirits.
Communion—Please strengthen my union with those who are dearest to me. May I create conversations safe for vulnerability and authenticity.
Compassion—Creator, show me the brokenhearted.
Reveal to me your love for those near and far so I am guided to pray, care, and act in your will.
God Sees Your Need
You are made to express love and your spirit is prepared for this.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you,
you also are to love one another. J o h n 1 3 : 3 4 e s v
Self-Care Self Talk
My need for people is an expression of God’s hope. I will see and greet each person as a child of God.
Hope Lyda has a heart for helping people explore their life, purpose, faith, and connection to this world through the power of the written word. She is a spiritual director, editor, and writer who has worked in publishing for more than 20 years. Her popular devotionals, novels, and prayer books have sold more than one million copies combined. Visit her at www.mywritedirection.com.
The above excerpt is from Hope’s new book, What Do You Need Today? where Hope offers you insight, understanding, levity, a listening ear, and coaching for that inspired next step.