tips

How to Make New Friends In a Grown-Up World

Friendship is a gift. There's just something so good about a person that "get's you," that you can ugly cry in front of, that knows your favorite color even if you don't, and who chooses to indulge in DQ Blizzards with you even when you were supposed to go to the gym. After all, Proverbs says there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (or in my case, sticks closer than calories in pizza - I love pizza).

While friendship seems to remain important and highly desired, the way we make friends tends to change as we move into adulthood.  Your time gets consumed by work, distance cramps your style, you move to a new town, and then add a husband or some kids to top it off, and how the heck do you keep making friends?!

I get a lot of women who mention how difficult it is to make friends in a new place. I get it. After I married my husband we moved to a new city, started attending a new church, and basically started from ground zero with friends. But even after getting "plugged into" a church, these women say they still have trouble connecting with people.

Because friendship with other women is important, I really wanted to share truth to help us continue to pursue friendship even when the ground seems fallow.

First, let's look at what a friend is, and then let's get into the nitty gritty to help you make some new friends.

The Biblical View of FRIEND

(What's the Bible say about Friends?)

  • Friends Love and Help Each Other - "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." Proverbs 17:17
  • Friends Speak Truth and Life to each other - "Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy."  Proverbs 27:6
  • Friends Sacrifice for each other -  "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13
  • Friends Communicate Value to Each Other - "Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends, each by name."  3 John 1:15
  • (There is so much more to friendship - look up "one another" on biblegateway.org to learn more about friendship.)

How To Make New Friends

(Hard, but practical truths to get you back into DQ with a new bestie.)

1. Get Plugged Into Your Church - no seriously. I don't mean "plugged in." Many people use the term "plugged in" to mean they attend regularly and maybe participate in activities here and there. Being plugged in actually means contributing, serving, using the gifts God has given you to serve the body of Christ in the church. Start volunteering at your church and you'll meet a crew of others who are like hearted.

2. Learn How To Ask Good Questions - The art of good questions asking is seriously taking a nose dive. Good questions lead to meaningful conversations, which translates into friendships. But often we don't know how to ask beyond the basic questions: "how are you?" and "how was your week?" Everyone has a story to tell; everyone has things they like; everyone likes to talk about themselves. Learn how to be curious about someone and ask good questions (check out the How To Ask Good Questions Series - coming soon).

3. Greet People at Your Church - For real. Greet people when they walk in (and out) the church doors. Strike up a conversation, not just a "welcome!" (see #2 again). The more people you greet and get to know, you'll begin to meet people you connect with - women who have similar interests, or are in similar seasons, or who you just think are fun!

4. Practice Hospitality - That means have people over to your house and feed them. Opening up your home to someone is a form of opening up your heart. You are extending an invitation to them that shows their value and your desire to get to know them. Don't be consumed with perfection (spotless house, homemade everything, matching dishes), but be willing to extend love even in your weakness. (And when their over, practice #2.)

5. Fight for Friendship - As silly as it sounds, sometimes we just need to pursue the heck out of people and not give up. Keep loving, keep helping, keep inviting. Let go of any lies you may be believing about friends - that they have to be in the same season of life as you, that you can't be friends with someone you disciple, that you can't be friends with someone who is older or younger.

Do you have tips on making friends? Share in the comments below!

Is Your Home Too Small for Your Family?

We have a small family. There are three of us (and a cat who is for sale, just kidding, but taking offers), and one on the way, making four and some fur. We live in a 954 square foot house, which by no means is big, but seems to fit three of us just fine.

As number four approaches I get all sweaty. I have literally measured all three of our bedrooms and made miniature cutouts of our furniture from card stock and play the moving game (because growing a child does not afford me the luxury of moving around gigantic dressers - I tried that last time I was pregnant and pulled things unmentionable on the interweb).

So as I obsess about fitting a future 7 pound child into our home and how we are going to manage so many in such a cramped space, I stumbled upon a podcast called, "Large Families in Small Homes" by Ahappyhomemedia.com and humbly took in an hours worth of wisdom and advice from a family with NINE (with one on the way) children in an 1100 square foot home.

This message came at such an appropriate time as my heart struggled with what I thought we lacked rather than seeing how God provides. I am shocked to learn about these fleshly strongholds of unbelief in God's provision as I struggle with my tiny home, thinking I need more.

It's certainly been a place of unrest in my heart.

We are not called to unrest. We are called to peace in Jesus Christ. A soul freeing peace that our God will richly provide all we need, even if it looks like we don't have a lot on the outside.

This message with bless you if you find your self saying yes, or even a maybe to any of these questions:

  • Do you struggle with the size of your home?
  • Do you find yourself thinking you need more?
  • Do you find yourself dissatisfied with your current lot?
  • Do you hold on to things because you might need it . . . in ten years?
  • Is it difficult for you to let go of things?

Um, yes to all of those for me!

Large Families in Small Homes: It's A Heart Thing

Living in a smaller space is a heart thing. That's what I realized when listening to Bob and Erika Shupe share about their home and family.

First, it's about trusting God to provide all we need when we need it.

Is it wrong to want another bathroom in my 3 bedroom 1 bathroom house? No.

But it is wrong (sinful I will admit) to be unhappy without one; to covet my friends' homes with more potty space; to be dissatisfied with what God has graciously given me now.

There is nothing wrong at all about taking a big vacation, or buying a jet ski, or living on a lake; but it's a matter of what controls you and what you sacrifice in order to have those things, and if the Lord doesn't provide those things it doesn't mean you are lacking, it means he's provided differently and he has a different ministry with what he's provided for you.

Second, it's about letting go of what your heart may be attached to - your belongings. Our culture is so loud in telling us what we need, yet we chose the bondage of stuff over the freedom of having less.

I have a difficult time getting rid of anything - sentimental or not. It's revealing of my heart when I look at certain things in my home and think - I could never part with you! Yet I haven't used it in a year (ahem, our sofa seat shoved on it's side in our shed!!!).

To downsize stuff so that your family can fit in your home is a challenge for the heart. I am so grateful that this wisdom isn't about being a minimalist or living in one of those mini-houses on the bay because it's so hot right now, but this is about trusting Jesus with our whole hearts. It's about worship - thanking Jesus for what he provides, and loving him above our things.

Three Tips on Living with Less

There is a lot this podcast has to offer (and with greater detail and experience) if you live in a small home, if you struggle with space, if you find yourself always wanting a little bit more. I encourage you to take a listen as you cook dinner or clean your bathroom(s), but in the mean time (and to wet your appetite) here are three tips that blessed my heart and I want to implement so bad (pray for us!).

Tip No. 1

1. Declutter

Gulp.

Go through your house and take out what doesn't fit and is not needed in the here and now. Put it in the garage or a storage unit and see if you need any of it (or miss any of it) within a years time.
After that year, whatever you didn't need or miss, donate, give, or sell.
This method gives you the freedom to TRY out what your house would be like without, but not the permanence so you can go back and retrieve something if you need it.


Tip No. 2

2. Everything has a home.

All your things need a home within your home.
What comes in the home must be given a home, even if it means something else has to go for it to have it's own space.
Before you make a purchase (especially something larger like furniture or a toy) think through where it's "home" will be. This will help you decide if you have room for it. If you don't have the room either forgo the purchase OR choose something that can leave.
Having a home includes the small stuff - like rubber bands, paper clips, shoes and dirty socks. Make a home for things and you will have less mess, less stress, and no junk drawer(s) <-- GASP!


Tip No. 3

3. Consider activities or memberships for gifts

Gifts can be a source of clutter (not all the time, but sometimes). Consider getting "family gifts" like a membership to a museum or zoo or a trip somewhere.
These gifts are a blessing to children who get to have more family time and build memories together.

Don't Live Out of Fear

The biggest thing I took away from this podcast is we don't have to live in a stressed environment out of fear I'll need something. . . someday. There is freedom in letting go of stuff we don't use and a faith building exercise to say, "Lord, if we need it again in the future, we trust you will provide."

I will be the first to admit that makes me so nervous. An actual trust exercise to believe God's provision. But to trust him is to truly be at rest.

So as we prepare for baby two, I am starting the journey of opening my hand and saying - give me wisdom and faith to declutter this home so I can fill it with more children . . . children, after all, are a heritage from the Lord, not more IKEA furniture.

Check out the podcast here: Large Families Living in Small Houses


Teaching Little Ones to Know the Word

"Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly."  Colossians 3:16

Sometimes I forget this verse applies to our children. That somehow they are exempt from needing to be filled with the knowledge of Jesus through the Word.

Actually, helping the Word dwell richly in our cherished little ones is part of the great responsibility and joyful opportunity we have as Christian mothers (and fathers). The Word of God roots our hearts in Truth, is an anchor of hope for our souls, and teaches us about God and his great rescue plan. The Word of God matures our hearts, grows our faith, and gives us wisdom - all things I know we long for our children to possess - maturity - faith - wisdom (and more!).

Here are a few tools and ideas to get Scriptures into our children's hearts:

  • Verse of the Week - write a short verse using markers and cardstock (or use a chalkboard) and hang it where you eat breakfast. Teach the verse the first two days and then review it each morning of the week as you eat your eggs. (Click here for a list of verses we've used at the breakfast table - coming soon.)
  • Books with Scripture - read a little devotional or prayer book with Scriptures before bedtime. We use Really Woolly Bedtime Prayers by Thomas Nelson Publishing for our 2 year old that had a little verse and prayer on each page with a fun illustration.
  • Sing Songs about Scripture - songs make it easy to write the Word of God on our hearts. Sometimes we make up little ditty's to help us remember verses (with lots of "woos!" and "yays!" ;) but also use resources like Songs for Saplings. Songs for Saplings has a ton of songs that teach the word of God - they are short, catchy, and very fun.

Do you have a great tool or resource for helping the Word of God dwell richly in your children? Maybe you have older kids and you have other creative ideas.

Please share them in the comments below!