Every relationship must undergo periods of evaluation. Is there as much new life between us as there was when we first met? Am I as intrigued by his/her interests? Are we learning from one another? (My foremost requirement of any friendship is that capacity to continue learning from each other.)
If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” then we must ask “Why?” and continue until solutions have been discovered. The most satisfactory unions are those which build, stimulate ideas, introduce me to worlds beyond my experience.
People who share common thought patterns and personality traits offer definite soul-comfort and can lend great reinforcement by their understanding. But people who are different from ourselves can lead us into undreamed-of adventures.
Why is there no welcome in my heart? Is it because of self centeredness? Or resentment? Or because I have been betrayed? Deep work of the Spirit then has to be done. For most of us, however, it is a matter of simply developing new attitudes.
Let us work, then, on the welcome we extend to those with whom we live—not just the greeting given at the end of a long day, but the hospitality shared in the moment-by-moment meshing of lives. Let us demonstrate to one another, “Your ideas are welcome. Your interests are welcome. Your presence is welcome.”
Once we have opened these doors to each other we can begin to think about opening doors to the world outside.
- Check your welcome quotient. Are you glad to see those people with whom you live after a day apart? What is the tone of your usual greeting? Would you be happy if you received this response? If not, how can your manner be altered in order to convey welcome to your household companions?
- What things would bring freshness to a living relationship that is growing a little stale? List them and then discuss them with your “family.”
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen Mains serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags. This microfinance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
Karen has long had an interest in Christian hospitality and is the author of the best-selling book, Open Heart, Open Home.
An award-winning author of several other books, Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. The are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and churches at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.