Most people will tell you that you won’t get much out of your time in a gym if you don’t have some sort of plan. Having a plan, even a simple one, provides focus and helps you keep on track toward your goals. Frankly this is true for lots of things in life. And I’m not even close to being a type A personality, just ask the people who know me best!
I am pretty clear that my time at the gym (for me that’s an indoor climbing gym) isn’t just for my health benefits, it’s also an opportunity to be a witness to others for Christ. But although the goal was right, a couple of months ago I felt God’s conviction that something was missing from my plan. God was telling me that I needed to listen more. I needed to spend more time asking questions and learning the stories of those I was spending time with. I am still developing this habit, so today, each time I go, I have to remind myself that this is part of the plan.
Each and every one of us has opportunities in our day or week that are similar. Whether it’s a carpool, the coworkers or classmates we eat lunch with, or someone else you see regularly. We have opportunities to learn their stories and, if we’re listening, perhaps hear where God is at work in their lives even if they are not aware of it. We have opportunities to make an effort to learn about who they are and what they might be going through. From there the Holy Spirit will help guide us in these conversations.
Now I know that life is not always regular and consistent. This is why it’s a habit that we have to develop, a plan that we need to have beforehand. And developing this habit starts with prayer.
Now I realize that people aren’t always just going to open up and spill their life stories to a random person at the gym or really anywhere else. But the real question for me is, am I willing and ready to listen to what they do share? Anything is possible if we go into it with a plan to listen to people and to the Holy Spirit.
God has been pushing me to add listening to “my plan.” And I’m trusting that if I listen there will be opportunities to encourage, to speak truth, and empathize with someone God brings my way.
Which brings us to today. School is almost out and summer is about to begin. All sorts of opportunities to spend time with others are available. So I encourage you to prayerfully consider ways you can listen and love well and then, make a plan. Maybe it will be inviting someone to a BBQ. Maybe providing refreshments at a sporting event. The options are limitless. What’s your plan?