In last week’s episode, Start Conversations With Remembering, I shared the start of a conversation I had with our executive producer, and Janet’s and my long-time friend, Carol Steward, about our life-giving relationship. Carol's voice is the one you hear each week introducing that day’s program.
The point of last week’s episode, as well as today’s, is to show how to have a meaningful conversation with a long-time friend while both of you are still around on this earth to answer questions you’ve always wondered about.
I mentioned this last week in the context of funerals I attended in the last year or so, and the questions I had of the deceased I never got to ask. Ask them now of your friends, before it’s too late.
We ran out of time last week, so today we’ll finish our conversation by picking up where we left off last week, with the one important question I asked Carol that she answers in today’s episode, starting now.
[The rest of the conversation plays here. Sorry, there is no transcript available]
The finish to last week’s episode
Here’s what I took away from my conversation today with Carol.
Our questions of each other, when asked with the right motive, can lead to something much larger than a simple exchange of information. They can lead to a deeper life-giving relationship when we see how God has been the one connecting us with each other.
The fact Carol’s mother and my mother worked together years before either one of us was born, is for me, one of those connecting points from God.
I learned today how people are drawn to God only when God makes them ready. I was ready the first time I heard the gospel. Carol wasn’t quite ready her first time, she had to hear it several times. But she was ready the time Jesus, with his dusty gray hair – wearing a pink tie, and thin-rimmed glasses, in the form of Rev. Ellis Mooney, told her.
Jesus in a pink tie
I loved hearing Carol talk about Rev. Mooney, “Pops” as she called him. Theirs was a life-giving relationship based on their connection with Jesus. Pops was connected to Jesus, and he wanted this same connection for Carol.
And then because Carol became connected with Jesus, she wanted this same life-giving relationship for Janet and me. And so did Rev. Mooney. What he and Carol told me became the defining moment in my life, and for Janet, too.
Accepting compliments from people
Finally, I was taken by surprise with Carol’s “Can I say one more thing” comment at the end that was so affirming of me personally. It was a little awkward, as it caught me off guard because our conversation was supposed to be about her, and not anything about me.
I thought of editing out her comments, but when I asked Janet what she thought, she was very firm and said, “No. You’ve got to leave that in. It’s classic Carol.” And it is. It is classic Carol. She’s one of the most encouraging and affirming people I know.
It’s hard for many of us to accept compliments, but it’s something we need to get over if we’re to have life-giving relationships with people. When someone affirms us with positive qualities they see in us, we owe it to them to accept their comments with grace and a “thank you.”
To downplay the praise of others is not humility. Rather it’s more about trying to ease our personal discomfort. But dismissing the compliments of people has the effect of marginalizing the other person and taking away their voice, and their perception of reality. And it diminishes our connection with each other.
We need to treat our friends better by graciously accepting any compliments they send our way.
So what does all this mean for YOU?
How can you use what you’ve heard today to improve the relationships in YOUR life? Here are a few ideas:
I wonder what it would look like for you to reflect on the life-giving relationships you have to see where God is connected in those relationships.
If someone told you about Jesus for the first time, you might consider finding out who told that person about Christ. Stories like these show the evidence of God at work for our good.
If Jesus can indwell people like Rev. Mooney in the form of a gray-haired man in a pink tie, how is the indwelling Christ manifesting himself in you?
If you forget everything else, here’s the one thing I hope you remember from today’s episode.
The most life-giving relationships are those with a shared connection to Jesus. Where our individual connections with Christ result in a deep mutual connection with each other.
I’d love to hear any thoughts you have about today’s episode. Just send them to me in an email to email@example.com. I may share them in a future episode unless you say otherwise. You can also share your thoughts in the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of the show notes.
In closing, if you found the podcast helpful, please subscribe if you haven’t already done so. You can also help us to serve more people when you leave a review wherever you get your podcasts.
I hope your thinking was stimulated by today’s show, to both reflect and to act. So that you will find the joy God intends for you through your relationships. Because after all, You Were Made for This.
Well, that’s all for today. I look forward to connecting with you again next week. Goodbye for now.
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If you'd like to know more about Carol's other ministry, click on wwib.com. It's a great Christian radio station you can listen to online anywhere in the world.
Other related episodes about life-giving relationships you may want to check out