Hello everyone and welcome to episode 102. Today we're considering how to find joy in our relationships.
We call our podcast, as you know, You Were Made for This. I’ve talked before what the “this” is. It’s the joy found in Godly relationships. We are made for relationships filled with joy. What I’ve tried to do in each episode is to show we can either create joy in our relationships or how we can find the joy that’s already there.
Today’s episode is about the latter. Finding joy that’s already present.
I’m going to share examples of joy I found in what listeners have commented upon in recent episodes, along with a bit of joy I received from a simple email from a friend. It will hopefully give you ideas of how to find the joy that’s already there in your relationships, just waiting for you to find it.
Never say “never”
I’ll start with Donna, a listener from the state of New York, who wrote to answer a question I asked a few episodes ago, namely, “What else are you doing when you listen to this podcast?”
Donna wrote, “Normally I’m either spinning or weaving. I need something to concentrate on while engaging in both of those activities. Your podcast is perfect for that.”
She then when on to comment on episode 98, The Myth of “It Never Hurts to Ask. Donna writes, “By the way, I like the idea of it ‘usually’ doesn’t hurt to ask, rather than “it NEVER hurts to ask.”
She’s right! “Usually” is a far better term to use than “never.” Never is a pretty strong word. Little kids, when they complain to their parents will often say, “You NEVER let me do such and such…”
I found joy in Donna’s comment because she added an important perspective to what I said in that episode. I wish I would have thought of saying it the way she said it, It usually doesn’t hurt to ask.
In fact, my goal has now become to never say never in a sentence. Or I should say, “usually to not say never.” To tone it down a notch, to leave myself an out.
Dodging a relational bullet
Another listener by the name of Patty had this to say about The Myth of it Never Hurts to Ask. “Good morning John, I appreciated today's podcast! I've been considering asking a family member a question that is of a sensitive nature. Per your advice, I will check my motive & consider the effect it may have on our close relationship.
Asking family members sensitive questions can certainly be a land mine. It gave me a measure of joy to know something I said may have helped Patty dodge a bullet on this one, if I can mix metaphors here. Land mines. bullets. Family members. Maybe they all go together after all.
Her comment reminded me of how I need to do the same thing: question my motives about all kinds of things I do or say. This will certainly help me navigate through all kinds of relational land mines.
Patty ended with a P.S.: “I look forward to Wednesday mornings when I listen to you before getting out of bed to start the day.” I found joy in knowing listening to the podcast doesn’t put her back to sleep.
Something to think about
Well, moving on, Connie, wrote in to say “I save each of your podcasts for a beautiful day to walk around Fowler Lake. You keep me company and always offer something to think about. Thank you.”
What a great way to listen to a podcast, walking around a lake on a beautiful day. How peaceful it sounds. I find joy in just picturing Connie doing this, and also that she found something in the podcast worth thinking about.
It also encouraged me to think more about relationships with friends. We can make them deeper and more life-giving when every now and then we sprinkle in something in our conversation that makes people think.
What makes me think is when someone offers an opinion about something different from mine, based on a perspective I had not considered that makes sense. I really like it when someone tries to change my mind about something.
A beautiful way to live
Then we have Laura, a missionary, who also emailed her reaction to episode 98, The Myth of it Never Hurts to Ask. “Thanks for this John! I especially liked how you said to put yourself in a position that what you want is offered to you – then you know it’s from God. That’s a beautiful way to live!!!”
What a beautiful phrase, That’s a beautiful way to live.
And she’s right, it is a beautiful way to live. I found joy in knowing that what I said resonated with her. I’ve been learning the joy of being content with preparing for God to open doors, rather than me opening those doors myself.
I’m more inclined to ring the doorbell, and knock on the front door if there’s no answer, then go to the back door and do the same thing, and if there’s still no answer, make a phone call to the person in the house, and if there’s no answer, send a text or an email, and if that doesn’t work, ask the next-door neighbor what’s up with these people, “have you seen them anywhere? Are they out of town?” And it goes on and on. Trying to open closed doors.
So much better to just focus on Godly character and wait politely at the front door. If God doesn’t open that door it’s because he has another door in mind, or he just wants me to enjoy all the many other doors he has already opened in my lifetime. I found joy in Laura’s That’s a beautiful way to live comment
It’s amazing what you can get for $1.20
I found another bit of surprising joy with something simple Janet and I did.
A missionary friend of ours recently lost a family member in a tragic accident. Rather than emailing her, we mailed a card expressing our condolences across the Atlantic to her home in France. It cost $1.20 in postage.
Our missionary friend later sent this brief email to us: “Just a quick note to say thank you for the lovely card and condolences: It's so rare to get overseas mail anymore, and your words from across the ocean really touched my heart. Thanks for thinking of me….”
What a great return on an investment of $1.20 to “really touch someone’s heart.” I was surprised how this simple act brought me joy in knowing that you can touch someone’s heart for $1.20?
To me, this is priceless to know I can make a difference in someone’s life with something so very simple. You can do this, too. We all can. You may recall how in episode 87 this past January, Make it a Relational New Year’s Resolution, I commented on how sometimes using older technologies – like postal mail, can have a greater impact than newer technologies – like email.
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 where God might show YOU joy in the unexpected places in YOUR relationships.
This takes getting out of ourselves for a bit and considering how others view life in ways that are different from our own.
Another idea is from time to time to sprinkle our conversations with something worth thinking about that goes beyond the mundane daily events of life. Talk about something substantive that causes someone to pause and reflect. There’s joy in doing that.
You can also look for joy in simple things. Simple things that touch your heart, like an international postage stamp for $1.20, which in turn has the potential to touch the heart of another.
If you forget everything else, here’s the one thing I hope you remember from today’s episode
One way to find joy in our relationships is to reflect upon what people have said to us, especially when it’s something we haven’t considered before. Their perspective on life can broaden our own.
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.
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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