Relationships take work. You probably know that by now... but are you actually putting in the work? We live in a world where intentionality has gone out the window. With social media, texting, and any other form of instant communication we have become lazy people when it comes to practicing intentionality. Ask yourself, when was the last time you picked up the phone to call your friend? How long has it been since you hand wrote a letter to someone? When was the last time since you practiced intentionality?
Intentional is defined as something "done on purpose; or deliberately." In my opinion, a lot of times it can also be defined as something that inconveniences you. Being intentional often requires sacrifice because it takes time out of your day or costs you something. It is a sacrifice to intentionally and thoughtfully love someone.
Jesus sacrificed a whole lot because He loved you. He intentionally chose to die on the cross and lay His life down so you could live; He didn't take the lazy or easy way out.
I have had experience with both intentional and unintentional relationships. I know firsthand that unintentional friendships end up leading to a lot of heartache and frustration. They cause way more pain than they do joy. Through those experiences I have learned that I don't want to be an unintentional friend. I want to make people feel seen, loved, and pursued, just like Jesus does.
Intention starts with the heart. There needs to be desire inside you to love others well. In other words, you have to want to love in order to love well. If you are serving others to gain their love, approval, or recognition, you are most likely not being intentional in your pursuit of them. You are likely doing it out of selfish desires and with the hopes of getting something from them. Instead of seeking a reward, what would it look like if we selflessly poured out our heart to others? I think we would be less likely to leave situations or friendships with unmet expectations. I believe we would crave deep, authentic connection with those around us and desire to know them more.
If you are committed to be an intentional friend, but unsure where to start or how to do that, here are some great stepping stones:
Instead of texting, pick up your phone and call.
Consistently ask how you can be praying for someone.
Write a handwritten note to someone.
Initiate plans with that friend you haven't seen in a while.
When a person comes to mind, send them an encouraging message.
Randomly Venmo some coffee money to a friend.
Create space for honest and hard conversations, even when it is inconvenient.
These are all ways we can work towards being more intentional in our relationships. We need people. God created us with a natural desire and need to connect with others. Let's be people who reach out to our friends and family for no other reason than our genuine desire to know how they are doing and how we can love them. Let's serve selflessly and love intentionally.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."
John 15:12-13 (ESV)