Paul, Priscilla, and Aquila

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They approved and have signed off on everything. No more scrutiny by them. Yea! Signing is any day, now.

I had a great weekend filled with friends.  When too much time passes without connecting with a friend, I begin to feel lonely. God made us to be relational, so it stands to reason that the absence of sincere connections with others can leave us feeling a twinge of sadness.

So, I prayed about it. Women often ask their husbands for affirmations of love. But, as a husbandless woman, that wasn’t an option. I didn’t think any friends would appreciate me asking them to tell me they loved me.  And as we know, when we ask for it, the affirmation of love doesn’t quite feel the same as it does when an affirmation is unsolicited. So I asked God to send me affirmation. I ask a lot from God, and in this request I simply said, a few times, “God, I’m feeling kind of lonely. Could you please remind me that I’m not alone, and that I am loved?” I had no idea what that would look like.   Without realizing how it was happening, by the time the weekend was over, I’d been refueled by several friends, as well as by a chance meeting with a woman in my community as we were both on a walk.

I love interacting and talking about other’s lives. I love hearing stories from people about other people. I don’t need to know the people’s identity. They can be called A, B, & C, and I’ll listen as raptly as if I had a vested interest.  I really just love the story. I love brainstorming about challenges, hearing about success, and a little reminiscing is always good for our soul. I got a little of everything this weekend, and it made me happy.  God reminded me of his goodness. I had to leave my house for such goodness. Friends didn’t stop by and announce, “God sent me. He wanted me to remind you that we love you.”  No, I left my home.  It worked out that both kids were occupied so I stopped what I might have done (packing, which is what I should technically have done)  and left to spend time with various friends.  I was re-energized from the conversations we had, and it was good.

Our guest pastor today spoke about Paul from Acts 18:1-4. He talked about the relationship Paul must have had with Priscilla and Aquila, a married couple who made tents like Paul did.  The guest pastor presented a theory, that a relationship without responsibility isn’t a friendship, it’s an acquaintance. I thought that was so interesting. He tied it into our culture and how more and more we’re making friends based on the convenience of the relationship, versus our responsibility to it.

I think many of us can relate to that concept. We make “friends” from the paths we cross each day, so often because of our kids’ schedules and activities. Wonderful friendships have been formed at basketball and football games. It would be hard not to form friendships when we’re spending that much time at practices, games, performances, and working beside each other at our schools and church. But I think an awareness of how we form our friendships and who we let in is something to consider.  There’s only room for so much in our life, and something will have to give if we aren’t intentional.  Without any thought, friendships may just “happen” based on where we are at any given moment in time, or who we’re connecting with on social media.

God designed us to be relational. It’s so evident to me after I’ve spent time with people and I leave happy and full of life. I think social media is evidence of how relational we are. For those who spend hours on social media, but little time in real life with people,  it seems they are searching for a way to connect.  Hours on end would appear to almost be a desperate attempt to connect.  They may not have formed the skills they need to connect well in our world, and social media has given them an easy way to make that happen. I don’t think that’s necessarily good, but it is evidence of our strong need to relate to people.

I’m grateful for new friends.  But there is something beautiful about longtime friends.  Friends who you’ve shared life with on a deep level, that includes laughter, tears, and memories.  Friends who have shared responsibilities together, caring for each other when the other was weak, vulnerable, or defeated.  Friends who do life together, like Priscilla, Aquila and Paul, sharing a home.  Can you imagine?  Talk about responsibility!  Our lives are so full these days. It can take enormous effort to connect with our friends, especially if they’ve fallen outside of our every day life.  Some would say that’s where social media allows us to stay connected.  But this weekend went deeper than that, and I’m so grateful that God heard my simple prayer, and filled me up with life that comes from another human being, in person, a friend.

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2 thoughts on “Paul, Priscilla, and Aquila

    • Joni Frances Thurber says:

      I’m glad, Beth. I love it when we can find biblical answers to the things we struggle with in this life! That message came during a time I’d been discussing that topic with some friends, so I appreciated the timing of it.

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