May 3, 2011

Speed Friending

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"


  1. You are forming bonds that will last a lifetime. When your children are grown, you will have more time to devote to relationships. Hopefully, you will pick up where you left off with these women.

  2. I agree with your mom! Not that I want to rush my children growing up, but I will appreciate the perk of having more "leisurely girl time."

  3. Megan,
    Thanks for the encouragement to use our limited time "intentionally for His glory!" I find myself sometimes not getting to the deep, meaningful issues right away, but sticking to the 'fluff' for too long and then time runs out. I had a friend one time ask me at the beginning of a conversation, "How's your heart?" It shocked me, and made me love that friend for caring so much to not beat around the bush and get right to what was most needed...dealing with our hearts.

  4. Aleta, I, too, have been blessed by other women whose hearts are revealed by the questions they ask! Recently, I was convicted of the sin of talking to other women at church (particularly little girls) about their cute Sunday outfits. What a misuse of our precious minutes at church. May our hearts be more focused on eternity! Mom and Cristy, Thanks for an encouragement to be faithful in "little" that I might also be faithful when I have "much."

  5. I have found that being intentional with my relationships is key and that going into a short lunch w/ someone covered in prayer ahead of time can make the coolest, most divine turn of events. I'm not the world's best conversationalist so I rely heavily on God to get things going for me in terms of conversation. The days I want to "accomplish" something in a lunch with someone are many times the days He puts a seal on my lips and tells me to simply listen. I used to get frustrated with this and feel that if I didn't share any scripture or counsel then our time was wasted. I'm learning that sometimes just being with someone is powerful because it paves the way for the next lunch where He drops a bombshell on me and puts His words in my mouth that I never saw coming and it ends up being just as divine as the lunch where I just sat and listened.
    But I do long for the day I get to have a two hour catch up lunch with some of my girlfriends. Right now I have a four year old at home 24/7 and so those chick lunches aren't quite the same. A chick lunch on a zoo pal plate for 45 minutes is fun but just not what I desire to do the rest of my life, ya know? Ha!

  6. Melody, I've got a 3 year old and a 4 year old, so I do quite a few zoo plates, too! Recently, my husband offered to watch our children and the children of a girl friend (home from the mission field on furlough) so we could go out to lunch by ourselves. It was one of the best gifts he's given me!


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