Facebook wants you to remember the good ol’ days. They recently released a feature called “On This Day” which looks back at what you were doing on the same day years ago. It’s a welcome bit of nostalgia in most cases, and it can also be quite revealing.
In the nine years since I first joined Facebook, a lot has changed in my life. I’ve changed jobs, finished seminary, moved, started new ministries and married the love of my life. In the ebb and flow of life, I’ve noticed things are always changing. Friends I used to spend lots of free time with now spend most of their time taking care of their new babies. Sometimes, I don’t even notice things are about to change until it’s already happened.
Amidst all this change, I believe men must proactively shape their own lives. The more things there are to do, the more carefully we must choose how we spend our time. In a word, we should be more intentional.
The following are four ways most men can be more intentional in their relationships in order to obtain the things they want in life.
1. Meet New People
As men, we need to regularly put ourselves in situations where we are getting to know new people. Think of this as gathering new acquaintances. You may never become best friends with the people you are meeting, but you are gaining a level of familiarity.
If you struggle to meet new people, there is a great tool that can help. The best thing you can do is show people a friendly smile. When you meet someone for the first time and give them a genuine smile, it quickly melts anxieties and lays a foundational of friendship. In fact, smiling has probably historically bonded more people than anything else. So, when find yourself surrounded by people you don’t know (and hopefully you will), give ‘em a smile and ask them some good questions.
2. Build Friendships
If you’re like me, you may have let some important friendships fade. I can easily let parties and social gatherings be the only time I connect with my friends. We’re still friends, but neither of us are intentional about creating times together. I sometimes blame how busy I am or how tired I am, but truth be told, I just haven’t been intentional enough.
Many men enjoy getting together with friends, but aren’t very intentional about making it happen. I keep a running list of friends I want to connect with just to enjoy their company. Some of them are old friends and others are new. Consider creating a few monthly lunch or breakfast meetings with your close friends.
3. Enjoy Spiritual Conversations
Many men don’t feel comfortable having conversations about faith with their friends. We assume people don’t want to talk about religion or that they will see it as some type of prying, but men benefit from talking with each other about their faith. Proverbs calls it “iron sharpening iron” (Proverbs 27:17).
Any easy way to initiate a spiritual conversation is to wait for a need to come up and ask a friend if you could pray for their need. It doesn’t need to be a long, calling-down-fire-from-heaven type of prayer, but just a simple request on their behalf. Sharing each other’s prayer burdens is a great way to grow closer and gain a sense of spiritual rapport. My sweetest friendships are those with whom I can talk about my faith and ask for prayer. Every man should have friends they can open up about their walk with the Lord.
4. Growing in Community
We live at a time of incredible opportunity for growth. There are more books to read, videos to watch, blogs to browse and classes to take then anyone has the time for. With so many great opportunities, men need to be intentional about picking opportunities that will prove the best use of their time, energy and money.
I believe many young men will improve themselves by spending more time gathering with others to learn and grow. Many of my previous suggestions often happened for me at conferences. Even in high school, I was saving money to go away to national conferences. These were days when God planted desires in me that I’m living out today. Sometimes, I feel I’ve learned more at these conferences than I did in some of my graduate courses.
It’s great to learn from great teachers and process what you are learning in community. Whenever I’m planning a time of growth, I try to include as many other people as possible. Inviting your friends to come and learn along with you is a great way to grow and make some great memories.
Have you been intentional about how you spend your time? Think about the ways you can shape your life by using the recommended steps above.
You may also be interested in The Simple Prayer Habit That Could Radically Transform Your Life