But encourage one another every day, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
It was a stormy nite…..not really, just a mild afternoon. But that’s not important. What is important is the great need for and efficacy of community, and specifically in this form–spiritual partnership. Anamchara, if you’re fancy.
Something God showed us in the fall of 2011 was ridiculously simple, and yet profoundly impactful. God is good at that sort of thing. We had already been partnering for some months when Dave called me up one day and said, “Hey, can you do me a favor? Can you call me every day at 4:00?” “Sure, whatsup?” He went on to tell me that this is about the time he starts to lose it, you know that after-lunch-not-quite-the-end-of-the-day time period, where you can easily forget what’s important. What we call the devil’s hours, 2-5 pm for most people.
So I began to call everyday at 4:00. Little did we know the tremendous breakthrough this would give to our spiritual walk and growth. It was literally that daily encouragement written of in Hebrews 3:13.
Ridiculously simple. Profoundly impactful.
He said that even on the days he could not pick up the phone due to work, he was reminded by just seeing my call of why we are here, what is important, and that someone else out there is rooting for him and praying for him.
And he was greatly encouraged.
We grew exponentially from this daily encouragement. Who knew?
It is amazing what encouragement can do for us. We cannot oversell it. The “daily check-in” was God’s gift to us. We began implementing it in our Ripple Effect groups where other people could reap the benefits of this constant ministering.
There’s a few things going on in this type of partnering:
- Rhythms–We operate optimally under rhythms, I believe. A daily rhythm such as this fits in with how God made us and the universe, sunset and sunrise, ocean tides, waking and sleeping, etc. They are just “facts of determined existence.”* We need rhythms and order so badly these days in this frenetic, overwhelming culture we find ourselves swimming (drowning?) in.
- Trust–Someone who has earned your trust is amazing for spiritual growth. Yes, I do believe this can be very true of your spouse, and hopefully is the case. At the same time, many of us know and have experienced the unique value of having, in addition, someone outside your marriage, of the same gender, to encourage you and challenge you. I believe we all need this.
- Challenge/Mirror–We need to be challenged. We just do. We need someone else to be our mirror to tell us when we’re being a jackhole and don’t realize it. As we say, you need a mirror to know there’s basil in your teeth**. Without this aspect of challenge, our growth we’ll be quite slow. Our partnership will be feel-good fluff. Dave has lovingly called me out more than thrice, and for that I’m grateful. As he told me early on in our partnership, “Rob, I will never judge you, because I’ve done it all. But I will tell you when you’re screwing up, because I care about you.” I shall never forget those words, and appreciate the fact that he has lived up to that meaningful statement.
- Safety–Like trust, someone we can share all with and not be judged. Remember what shame needs to grow: secrecy, silence, and judgement. So you could say that partnership is like “Shame-Away”, as seen on TV!
It is our hope that anyone reading this will be drawn closer to Jesus Christ and experience the peace that only He can give.
And as always, “If it doesn’t throw you into the arms of Jesus, then throw it out!”***
*footnote Luke Mertes
**footnote Emily Gosser
***footnote Kristin Fuller
In the Name of Jesus,
Soli Deo Gloria