I’m from a family of five kids – three sisters and one brother, plus three sisters-in-law. So, quite a few people call me “sister.” Now, this isn’t to say that I’m a super amazing sister or an authority on how to be a good sister. I try my best. I’ve had some good, and some bad, sister moments.
But, the one thing that is true, is that I’ve learned a lot from being a sister.
Not everyone is going to need the same thing from you, or need it in the same way.
Everyone gives and receives love, advice, encouragement, and comfort differently. My oldest sister will take a word of affirmation from me entirely differently than my youngest sister, not only because the two of them are different but because my relationship with each of them is very different. I have one sister who really likes to talk out her issues with me, we have lots of heart-to-hearts, while for a couple of my other sisters I’m not really their life-issue-sounding board, so our conversations are completely different. People need different things, and they need them differently. Take the time to learn a person’s love language and then use that knowledge to serve them in a way that they understand and appreciate most.
You can be close and supportive without seeing eye-to-eye.
Growing up, I had the misguided notion that if you don’t see the world the exact same way then you couldn’t be close, or that every conversation would end in a heated debate. As I grew up and became my own adult-self with my own adult-perspectives…guess what? Everyone around me did the same thing! And our perspectives were sometimes different. I learned you can still be close, supportive, kind and understanding to those who don’t see things the way you do…even better: you can learn from them. Instead of spending all your time trying to convince someone of your perspective, listen to theirs. As James 1:19 states, “…let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”
What’s best for you may not be best for them.
There’s nothing I want more for the people in my life than for them to be happy, but I had to learn the lesson that what makes me happy won’t always be what makes them happy. It’s easy to think, “Oh, this is a source of happiness. I want this person to be happy, so they should just do this the way I did and they’ll get happy, too.” It’s just not that simple. Sometimes, encouraging someone you love to be happy is supporting them on a path that looks different than you would choose for yourself. God made us all individuals with our own gifts and paths (Romans 12:4-5).
Memories mean you won’t ever run out of things to talk about.
Want to grow in a relationship with someone? There is no replacement for time spent together.
Often, when someone calls you because they “need to talk,” it means they’re calling you because they need someone to listen. As the book of Matthew puts it in 11:15, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Don’t make everything about you.
It’s easy to think that everything someone says, does or posts (oh, millennials), or a weird face they make is about you. No. Far fewer people are thinking about you than you think. The world doesn’t revolve around us. Not sure? Just ask them.
Communication is key.
Do you feel out of the loop? Put yourself in the loop. Do you want to get closer to someone? Get closer to them. Do you wish someone spent more time with you? Spend more time with them. Have questions you need answers to? Need to clear the air? Simply miss someone? Talk to them. Call them. Invite them over. Send them a text. It’s as simple as communicating.
Being in a relationship requires actual effort.
You can’t just call each other family or friends, and make it so. If you want to be in a relationship then it includes reaching out, sending messages, inviting people over and meeting them for coffee (and you might not even like coffee!), buying plane tickets, making skype dates, making phone calls (even though you hate talking on the phone!). Relationships take effort, but it’s the rewarding kind of effort. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord,” and this applies to the work we put into relationships, too.
Thing won’t always be perfect.
Sometimes, disagreements and fights happen. But, those are usually the important conversations where good work is done for the relationship. You work out a problem you couldn’t keep ignoring. You have a conversation that needed to be communicated. You admit feelings. An “I’m sorry” is given that really needed to be heard. Hard times usually become stair steps to a new level in your relationship.
You need a sisterhood; a family; relationships. I’ve learned so much more about myself, and the world, and life through relationships. I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without the people around me. They push me, challenge me, grow me, comfort me, and teach me. We can’t do this whole life thing on our own: God gave us each other for each other.
I have Psalm 133:1 underlines in my Bible, “how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity,” because this is the type of goodness I want to always foster in my own life.
How good and pleasant for us to dwell in unity, sisters.
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