I love the part in every friendship when I get to talk about my people. My blood people, my family.
No matter where I met you, what the setting was for us to be tossed happily together into this wild concoction of connectedness outside of our private worlds, it always matters who we came from.
I find that the particulars of whether you’re married and have children, or whether you still have both parents, can come up early on as facts, and then drop out of view while our friendships take shape. The fun and the support of our relationship happens outside of the presence of those people once we graduate to being friends who leave the kids at home, especially as women.
And still… your family are your people before anyone else gets invited into your heart. And what went on in your home of origin is the story arc that starts the trajectory of your life before you get the chance to take the wheel.
Sometimes I can make out the dark cloud of a core family story overshadowing my friend and it shades who she is now for reasons I can only guess at. Those stories take trust to emerge – there is no rushing trust. But there is preparation. This is the brilliance of the questions we ask in our friendships.
If you’ve looked over the questions in this series, you’ve probably already guessed there are some strong themes surfacing.
- Stories give us the chance to say how I became the person you get to be friends with.
- You prove that you can be trusted with my time and my heart by showing up, being real, and noticing the little things.
- Questions are gifts that need to be opened at the right time, but knowing the best ones in advance can help you to be ready to drop one when that time presents.
- There is a before and an after in every friendship – a time before you were friends, that is over. Friendships need acknowledgement that they exist and matter for the bond to grow stronger.
The Bible, the story of the family of God, explains that there was a time before God knew us, too, a time before we were his people.
God wanted a people for himself. He, the three in One, exists as a family, as his own People, and he is utterly selves-sufficient. He didn’t need us to be Himself, to rule and reign, to be worthy or to be happy. But he chose to call up a people. He is still doing this. And he can’t stop talking about it.
I will sow her for Myself in the land. I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion, And I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they will say, ‘You are my God!’
1 Peter 2:10 New Living Translation
Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.
Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you. 12 I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.
Exodus 6:7 New Living Translation
I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt.
Have you ever been separated from your people? You long for them.
A thing inside you that is still attached feels taught and still strong as steel. When they leave this earth, that thread remains, and you have to figure out how to live with that- that sense of being still connected to someone who is out of touch and out of earth. But the longing is the same, whether you’re apart for a time or separated by death. They are still your people, and who you are is still indelibly colored by their love.
You’ve got people, I’ve got people, and the skin to skin love we know is visceral and defies explanation. We just love them. I think it’s like that with God and his people. If you know Jesus as the Son of God, and belong to the family of God by faith, you are his people and everything he ever said or ever will say about them, he is saying right now about you.
Picture the first time you explain who your people are to a new friend. Of course you’ve got your cellphone out so you can show the pictures! It’s not enough that this is her name, and what the birth order was, it’s important to you to display her face. Her face – the one that makes you melt every time you see it – the one that means the world to you. No details are complete with out the visual, so you show your family to your “framily” (friend-family). It makes your joy whole. Your heart says, “You two must meet”.
This is the Father’s heart for us. To be with him, to all see each other’s beautiful faces, and to feel the family resemblance.
I know this post may seem a departure from the tone of the others (and it’s twice as long!) in our series on questions that grow good friendships great – but, is it really? My people, the ones I grew up from, sort of come in the room with me everywhere I go. If you know me, you’ve felt them. And I am also in the family of God. So if you know me, you’ve met my Father.
It is my heart that you two should meet. I always pray to that end. If I’m urgent, creative,
annoying persistent, and embarrassingly honest here in this place, it’s all for that reason. <3
I love to talk about my people, they are my favorite topic every minute of every day. Can you imagine the Father feels that way about you? He gushes about you, does all he can to bless you, and sends you sloppy wet love notes like this one. He can’t help himself.
Because you are His people. Receive it, and take pleasure in that identity as the plural you – all of you – when you talk about your people, your family, with your new people, your friends. The ones you love not just by happenstance, but by choice.
Did you miss a question or two in the series? Just head over to the main topic page for #CultivateCourageous.