If I were single, I might try speed dating. The challenge to discover someone’s character in only three minutes has appeal to me. Of course, the goal of speed dating is to find a relationship. But what if we sustained our relationships (especially our friendships) with the same urgency?
In ministry life, it can be difficult to find the time for friendships. We are so committed to the people in our family and ministry, that we don’t often have leisurely girl-time. One of my solutions for nurturing friendship in ministry life is a kind of “speed friending:” intentional relationships that pack deep connection into a short time.
Of course, I will have eternity to spend with many of my friends. (As one woman tells me, “Save me some time in heaven, okay?”) But, for now, we each have other callings on our days. Under the pressure of limited earthly time, the Lord has given me several friendships that have flourished beside the ticking timer:
• Cristy does overseas missions work for much of the year. We are in the same place only a few times each year.
• Terry is a pastor’s wife who also cuts hair. I see her for an hour every two months while she gets rid of my split ends.
• Sarah comes to my house for 43 ½ minutes every Wednesday while her daughter is in class.
With each of these women, the advancing clock distills our conversation to the essential burdens and joys of our hearts.
I’d love to have more time with these friends—but it may not be in this life. With blunt honesty, the psalmist reviews the momentary span of human life and comes to the conclusion, “[Lord] teach us to number our days that we might get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). In other places, the Lord instructs us to consider how we use our time. Ephesians 5:16 says, “making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” God gives us limited time and is pleased when we use it intentionally for His glory.
In developing meaningful friendships, I cry to the Lord in the words of Psalm 89:47, “Remember how short my time is!” And the Lord has richly blessed me with friendships that are all the more precious because of the shortness of our fellowship.
Must dash; time’s up.
For a counter-point to this, see my mom's post: "Slow-Cooker Friendship"