Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Steps to Connection: Take a Risk

She's obviously upset. My heart wants to ask, but my head says I don't know her that well. Will she take offense? Does she want to be left alone? Will she think I'm butting in? Or does she need a friend? What if I say the wrong thing? It would be easy to ignore her, to assume she wouldn't want me to interfere. But what if no one responds? Does she walk away feeling unimportant, unnoticed, unloved?

It's a tough call, uncomfortable and sometimes heart-pounding, because it's risky. What do I say? How will it be taken? What good can I do when I don't really know her?

But part of connecting with others is showing empathy and though everything in me screams to look the other way, if I am committed to building relationships, I can't. For me, my soft side usually wins out in these sorts of situations. My heart can't take seeing someone suffer, so I take a deep breath, feel my pulse throbbing in my throat, and ask.

I find the good responses FAR outweigh the bad. Most of the time people appreciate someone caring enough to ask. They don't expect magic words to solve their problems. A sincere hug may be comfort enough. Knowing someone noticed may be all a person needs to feel loved. Often a new relationship begins as well.

Once I did what felt risky with a woman from Bible study, the whole time feeling as though my heart were going to pop out of my chest. But taking that risk began a wonderful relationship for me. The woman became a dear friend who encourages and challenges me, who makes me better than I was before. I hate to imagine what I would have missed out on had I stayed safe that day. It was SO worth the initial anxiety and discomfort. SO worth it.

I know it's not easy. Believe me, I know. But won't you try it for yourself? What wonderful relationship is ready to bloom for you if you're willing take a risk?

More Steps to Connection:
Understand All Have Insecurities
Be Yourself


e-Mom said...

Very good post, Tami. Leaders are riskers.

I was pleasantly surprised to have a new friend reach out to me at Bible study this spring. Our friendship is blossoming. So often I do the risk-taking. It's been really nice to be on the other side of the fence! :~D

dianne said...

I think the key to taking risks is (for me anyways) learning to let go of the response. If I am confident the Spirit is prompting me to take this risk, then that is all I am responsible for - not the response. On the few occasions lately where I have taken a risk with this mindset, the whole experience has been freeing.

Linda said...

Risks are worth it! It is hard to move forward and stay safe. It is almost impossible to build connection when we are motivated by staying safe.

Great series of posts!