As I was slightly shy back then, it was difficult for me to follow through on this encouragement.
I did end up bringing one friend and was close with others, but I was not consistent.
After graduating from high school, I got a job at Target and built relationships with co-workers over the course of my employment there.
I did not invite them to church, but was eventually able to discuss my faith with them while listening to their views as well.
That sounds good, but how do you get to that point?
As you can probably guess, it just takes time to get to that point. After talking about shared or differing interests, you will begin to know what the other person is open to.
For example, my friend from high school expressed a general interest in going to church after we had been friends for a month. I immediately asked if she wanted to visit my church.
She ended up going for the rest of her time in high school!
Now, fast-forwarding to my time at Target, it took a little longer to build relationships.
My fellow team members’ ages ranged from my age (22) to 75. Our hours were also from 4:00 to 10:00 AM. It’s needless to say that a few people were generally in terrible moods.
Once I knew who to avoid and when to avoid them, I slowly transitioned into the family. Once I was in, they would talk to me about anything!
I was able to hear both their devastating stories and their joyful ones.
I even met a few of them outside of work to hang out and talk more—sometimes about Jesus!
I tell you these stories to emphasize the amount of time and consistency it takes to get to the point of trust between work and school friends.
Another important thing to do is know where to draw the line before a relationship is ruined. Pay attention to whether the person needs to vent or hear encouragement.
If a conversation doesn’t end well, give the other person space
When I worked at Target, there was this very moody lady who would get upset with people for little to no reason.
One time, I was the object of her anger.
I confronted her once to ask what I did, to apologize, and then let it go. Within 2 weeks, she was telling me her crazy stories again.
Again, just as it takes time to form relationships, it takes time for restoration.
Consistently be there and consistently pray
Before you leave your house, pray that God would show Himself through you.
Before you leave your car, pray that God would give you opportunities to have fruitful conversations.
As you work, pray that God would draw your co-workers or classmates to Himself.
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