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How are your resolutions going? Did you know that by January 17, most people have given up on their goals? Good thing we’re not talking goals this year. We’re sistering together as ordinary women who can live every day of 2022 with extraordinary purpose.

So what’s this week’s boost?

We’ve talked before about fasting and seeing how God blesses us and shows others how good He is. This week, we’ll move from that “vertical” discipline of fasting to the “horizontal” practice of “friending.”

But first, let’s play super-sleuths. Let’s read this passage to find something new to see.

The Great Commission

16 Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted!

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,[b] baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:16-20, NLT

Do you see it? Is Jesus telling just one disciple – Hey, go do this thing, would ya? No, he’s talking to a bunch of people– 11 of them! Just so, we gain our purpose in community.

Do you see it? Did everyone agree so Pinterest perfectly that it was just easy to live their purpose together, not alone? No. Some doubted. Some believed. But they friended anyway.

So, what’s a link between the practice of Fasting and the practice of Friending, and how can both help us live out our “Great Commission” purpose?

From Fasting: After a fast, we may feel as though we don’t want to live any other way. The freedom from this heavy chain of three-times-a-day food is almost miraculous. And taking those times to meet with Jesus brings us into a depth of relationship where we’d really like to stay.

Then our families need feeding, and, well, we’re hungry.

Surely, we can keep our eyes on Jesus if we eat this slice of pizza. The hundred small pulls of life start to grab at us, though, and before we know it, our mind – which was just so full of Jesus – is now full of to-do lists and plans all over again.

It wasn’t the lack of food necessarily that allowed us to be filled with Jesus and His purposes. It was simply the purposeful placing of Him before our eyes during the fast. That, I believe, can be done at any time in our lives.

To Friending: So it is with anything close to God’s heart, like finding time to befriend women and shine the light of Jesus into their lives.

Our schedules are like a large purse or tote bag. When we get them new, they’re fresh and roomy. Then we start to fill them up…and up…and up. Both books fit? I’ll take the two. Oh, my water bottle can go in there. Nice. And so goes our time, filled to the seams with no more to give—my, how they both get heavy, our purses and our schedules.

From Fasting: At the start of any fast, we have a purpose and plan. The whole point is to make room for Jesus.

To Friending: We can make room for women who need Him too. It doesn’t have to be hours of our time, but it can be meaningful, nonetheless. And such small gestures mean so much!

Recently, my friend Amber learned how to bring young women into her life when she realized they weren’t looking for the cute café or the fun outing.

They were just looking for connection.

“I realized that sometimes it’s even okay to go grocery shopping together. They didn’t care what we were doing,” Amber said. “I almost thought I had to entertain them, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. And with my crazy life, that made it possible to spend time with them. I was just living my life and invited them in.”

Fasting: We tend to think of what’s ideal rather than notice real opportunities already there. Time to meet with Jesus is always there; it’s just seeing it in a new way, like during a fast, that lets us see what it can be. I find that God’s solution is almost always the simplest.

To Friending: Our lives will crowd and shout. Our schedules will fill. This is why it’s best to love others toward Jesus with a sisterhood at our backs. Being asked, “Who did you meet this week?” changes our focus. We start to remember, “That woman behind me at the checkout, she wanted to chat. If that happens again, I’ll stop and talk longer with her.”

This sisterhood can be our plan. Because, just by being with them, we become purposeful.

Fasting clears our spiritual eyes so our spiritual sight can take in more of Him.

Friending: We must ask for these eyes in our relationships. He will give them, and with sisters’ support, we will start to see life-spaces to invite others into. Nothing fancy is needed. No scheduled entertainment. Ordinary lives are full of sacred moments. And isn’t that what we experience during a fast?

Naomi’s Recipe of the Week:

“Friending”

What’s a recipe you LOVE to make for friends? It’s your turn to share! We’ll feature a reader’s friending recipe in an upcoming blog. Just send it to [email protected] by Sunday, January 30, to share your favorite, friend-to-friend food!

And, meanwhile, here’s my “Friending Recipe.” It’s my recipe for remembering to reach out. I set a reminder on my phone to text or call people. Some people once a week, others twice, and one or two daily. As I check in, I send something I hope will bring them joy. To make this easier for you, why not send your friend this free inspiration card? The inspiration on this card is a big idea from our upcoming study, Ordinary People. Extraordinary Hope.™️ Share it with someone you know in hopes that it adds a special touch of joy and hope to their day.