Have you ever stopped mid-sentence and just thought, “What are we talking about?” It’s in this moment that we realize whatever nonsense we’ve been carrying on about, really has no bearing on life or meaning. Sometime around adulthood, most of us are convinced that the art of the schmooze is a skill that will serve us in countless situations ranging from the professional to the personal.
We often tell ourselves that this is the most appropriate way to deal with acquaintances, but then at some point this seeps into the relationships with those we call friends. It comes in a subtle form, instead of going on about the weather, we get stuck in conversations about our latest diet and workout routine or our kid’s schools or what the neighbors have been up to this summer. We think that because it is about our bodies, or our children, or our neighbors, that somehow it’s personal and meaningful. Now I’m not saying these are bad conversations to have, but recently I’ve been challenged to look at the journey of the heart.
Donald Miller happens to be one of my favorite authors and in his most recent book, Scary Close, he walks through his journey toward true intimacy. As a single twenty-something I was skeptical of a book about intimacy, but at the recommendation of a friend I overcame my hesitancies and took the plunge. I thought I was heading in to read a book about relationships that was only mildly applicable to my life, but what I got was a book that cut through the junk and hit me square at the center of relationship I ever experienced.
Miller describes a friend of his like this:
“He understood life as a journey of the heart and wanted to know how my heart was doing on the journey…the guy was like a mirror, always reflecting back to me the truth of who I was.”
My question is, when was the last time you gave up small talk in order to focus on the heart? Do you have people who reflect your true self back to you? Who doesn’t let you hide behind the weather, or the workout, or the kids, or the neighbors? Are you this kind of person for others?
Sometimes I avoid these conversations because frankly they can be exhausting. What I realized, though, is what made these conversations hard was a need to present myself as someone or something that I thought I should be, and in doing so, hiding who I really am. Hiding is hard. What’s worse is that it can be damaging. That makes people who don’t allow us to hide that much more important.
Let’s be people who don’t settle for hiding in our relationships, but rather call each other to depth. People who stop and ask, “What are we talking about?” And instead of getting by with small talk, let’s come out of hiding and walk through the journey of heart together.
Lis is a chronic celebrator with a bent toward optimism. She spends her time hanging out with teenagers in student ministry or on the soccer field. Her latest adventure has been helping to plant a church in Green Valley Ranch.