One day as I picked my 12 year old daughter up from school, she shared with me something that changed the way I picked her up from that day forward.
She told me,
“Mom, I love it when Grandpa or Dad pick me up from school.”
She didn’t say that she didn’t like when I picked her up but I definitely felt like she was trying to tell me something.
So I asked her what she liked about them picking her up and here’s what she said,
“They both listen to me talk about my day and all the drama and everything that happened in class. They don’t really give me much advice unless I ask for it and they aren’t distracted with phone calls or work stuff.”
Ugh, a little gut punch, but I knew I had to press in more, so I asked her how that made her feel. She said she felt loved, cared about, important, less stressed about school by the time she got home and she felt like they “got her”. I also knew that her Grandpa and Dad were able to speak into her life and help her to apply God’s word to her circumstances, and that was not by accident, they had been intentional all along.
As hard as that was to hear, I knew that there were plenty of times when I picked her up that I hadn’t done this for her, but then I would try to speak into her world and let’s just say, it didn’t always go as I had hoped.
I started thinking about the things she appreciated…
- Good listener
- Not being fixed
- Listening to understand her
- Minimal distractions
…and I thought that is a lot of what Jesus did with his disciples. He got to know them, He set aside very intentional time with them and He also joined them in their everyday life, listening to understand their hearts, their fears and concerns, He didn’t always give them the answer to fix their dilemma or even give them the answer they wanted but by the end of His time with them, they knew they were loved, cared for, and understood and He had equipped them to go out and do the same with others. It was how He discipled His disciples and it was how I wanted to disciple my daughter.
What if we brought things into our conversations that reflected God?
His tone, His body language, if we were “Quick to listen, slow to speak….” as He says in James 1:19, if we were intentional about the environment that we created with those we are in relationship with and truly desired to listen to understand. What an impact we would have and how much more trust we would have to speak into their lives.
I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”.
Jesus cared for His disciples and then when He needed to speak truth into their lives they were willing to listen.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have some great people disciple me and model this for me. Not perfect people, but people who were equipped with Jesus’s method and model for relational discipleship. They have spoken truth into my life over the years and even though I wasn’t getting this perfect with my daughter, I knew the moment she shared her feelings with me that I had the tools, I was just forgetting to be equipped and put that tool belt on as I was picking her up from school.
I shared this story at a conference I was at last week and was amazed at how many others desired to have these types of relationships and conversations but didn’t have the tools. I’m grateful to be part of the Relational Discipleship Network where I get to be part of equipping conversations regularly. When we do the Dischipleshift1 conferences, we spend 80% of the time in a small group. The environment that we set is so important to foster relationship and in creating a safe place for fruitful conversations to take place. We have guidelines that help to create this environment, that are tools, not rules and we have facilitators that are intentional relational leaders modeling how Jesus equipped His disciples.
The more we have this modeled for us and the more we practice, the better our conversations go.
Being equipped as we go into conversations can be the difference between just a car ride home or a car ride home that has an eternal impact.
I choose to have equipping disciple-making conversations.
How about you?
by Casey Yetter – Event Coordinator
Relational Discipleship Network
Post Falls, ID