On any given day, I can get all the news, conversations, pictures and daily life snapshots I wish for online and never need to engage in face to face conversations. Social media provides an avenue for all the information we could ever want with the push of a button and a face to face with the screen of our choice. It is challenging to think that human contact is not needed due to this “at your fingertips” world that we live in. Just the thought of the busyness and lack of “realness” in our daily lives causes me to ponder what once was…

Long phone calls

Handwritten letters

Knocking on your neighbor’s doors to visit

Conversations with friends over coffee or lunch

And just sitting on the couch with your favorite people

It is so easy to get lost in our own world that we start to believe that reality is the device at our fingertips. This past week was my Spring Break – my last one ever 🙂 – and I was reminded over and over that friendships are nurtured by doing life together. Real life is face to face, in person conversations, sharing stories about who you are and where you are going. It is the chance to laugh, cry, pray and share a meal together. It is a time for honesty, messy and investing in another’s life as they invest in yours.

My good friend Beth at Simply Beth has been writing and taking about real life connections and their importance. She has stepped out intentionally to make this happen and it has encouraged me in my own life. It has been a beautiful journey to follow and learn from Beth as she sits with friends over coffee, hangs out with her neighbors, puts family first and works on being present to others in her daily life. She models what friendship should be and I am blessed to learn from her bravery and challenged to carry this out in my own life.

A.A.Milne via Winnie the Pooh says…

So what are you waiting for… take that step!

real life friendsI took a step of courage when I contacted a dear online writing friend to meet me for lunch. Meeting an online friend in real life is a huge blessing and this was no exception. Last Tuesday, I met Candace at Candace Creates for lunch. One hour turned into two, then three and eventually we realized that the afternoon had disappeared and dinner time was up next. Sharing real life conversations with Candace was a beautiful way to see a friendship unfold and become a real life connection of sharing our stories, our love of writing and love of our families. We took the first step into friendship by meeting, but many steps are yet to come because we said “yes” to real life together.

Since I have been on Spring Break, I also had the blessing of spending extended time with family. God met me during the week and reminded me that writing about being intentional for the post “Are You Listening?” is not enough if you choose to then ignore all that you have learned. God does have the last word and He purposely provided me with everything I needed to be present with those I love.

Family ~ Sons ~ Girlfriends ~ My Dad ~  Time

All I had to do was let go of my agenda, my to do list, my preconceived notions of what I had to do over break and show up. Sounds easy, but it was so beautiful because God orchestrated every moment and taught me that being present was not just presence but intentionality, love and letting go.

Being present + intentionality = God’s loving Presence

When I said “yes” to taking a break, God prompted me to lay aside myself and engage my time in others. He created the time I needed to complete several “must do” items like my taxes and then asked me to breathe deep and let the week become a time following His lead. I don’t believe I have ever had a week quite so unfocused yet focused at the same time. The gift of intentional time led to beautiful conversations, ministering to friends and family, loving myself for letting go and honoring God for teaching me presence.

God’s Word was never more true!

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11

In the leaning in God strengthened me with His love and grace. Take time to be fully present with your presence and listen well when you are gifted with time for family and friends.

Blessings,

Mary

Blessed to be linking with:

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#DanceWithJesus linkup @ susanbmead.com

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