If your people, like mine, have come down with a bad case of crisis, and life hasn’t gotten easier these past 24 months, what do you do?
A simple tool moved me from overwhelmed to free-to-focus and has helped me keep reaching out when others’ overwhelming needs might entice me to hide under a rock. Stonecroft’s Relational Map helped me see not just all the people in my life but where I was most called.
After you’ve filled out your Relational Map, it helps to ask:
- What patterns do I see? I noticed that the people I am closest to live in another state. This confirmed my decision to spend more time near them.
- How are they doing? As I came back to the neighborhood, I arranged get-togethers. “How are you doing? How are you really doing?” I asked. And then I listened.
- How will I pray and persist? I have to admit: What I learned when I asked and listened hurt my heart. Too many people were hurting. But now I knew how to pray.
Sometimes, when those in our lives are hurting, our efforts can feel futile. And often, as women, we suffer pressure to be everything to everyone, everywhere! But what if…?
What if that piece of chocolate cake you sent via Doordash told her she’s welcome at God’s table, even when she has felt unwanted? What if that brisk bayside walk was just long enough for another to utter her burden? What if going out for coffee and sharing memories of her deceased loved one was what she needed, like air?
And what if we keep one ear open to God as we ask, listen, and pray? To hear Him guide, “Here’s how to show her and tell her about, a hope beyond your friendship. A hope of My forever-enough hope, available to her through Jesus.”
Philip experienced this obedient service when he answered the Holy Spirit’s call.
“Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza,” God instructed him through an angel. (Acts 8:26-40)
So Philip went with open eyes and ears, looking for anyone who needed hope.
“Go over and walk along beside the carriage,” God said as an Ethiopian was driving by.
The Ethiopian eunuch held a snippet from Isaiah and did not understand it. He needed someone to help him. He needed hope.
“So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus.”
And the Ethiopian was baptized and took that new hope with him to another country.
Philip didn’t have a seminary degree. He didn’t have a pocket New Testament. He just knew Jesus, had God’s Holy Spirit and kept offering a life-altering message.
In a way, we have it easier than Philip. We don’t have to walk down a road and meet a stranger. We get to bring hope where God points us. We offer hope along our right-here-right-now road. Our road winds through mailbox meetups, grocery store hellos, and sports event sidelines.
The extraordinary in our ordinary is usually where God appoints our hope bringing.
So fill out that Relational Map and notice hope-hungry people. Ask how they’re really doing. And pray and persist.
Do Philip proud. Better yet, bring a smile to God’s face by serving up hope wherever you find welcome.
Of the many people you know, who seems hungriest for hope and open to you?
How might you reconnect and ask how they are really doing?
For whom can you pray and persist? How will you show and speak the hope God offers?