by Sally Matheny
|How to Excavate a Deep Conversation|
Do you enjoy talking with your loved ones?
Some families never have conversations that scratch below the surface.
While some people open up and their core beliefs easily flow out, others keep their spiritual thoughts in the vault.
Many Christians become distressed about their aging parents. Their love runs deep and they don’t like seeing their parents suffer. Yet, many times, we realize it’s the pain of not having had deeper conversations with them, and now time is running short.
Or perhaps other family relationships are merely cordial formalities. You long for something more but conversations seem awkward.
People who go forty, fifty, or sixty years not talking about their relationship with Jesus Christ camouflage the entrance of beautiful and precious relationships. It’s imperative you prune back whatever is stifling these important talks so you can excavate the treasures.
Most likely, the root cause is fear.
We must remind ourselves we serve a God who casts out fear--who enables and empowers us to do difficult things.
If we long to have a deep and thriving relationship with family members then we must dig deeper in our conversations. How do we begin excavating after years of neglecting spiritual topics?
The talking terrain may be plush with love, but difficult to dig beneath the surface. For others, talking grounds may have hardened or been covered in Astroturf.
|Some talking terrains are difficult to dig beneath the surface.|
Gather Your Tools
Before you attempt to turn untilled soil, gather your tools.
You’ll need a powerful machete of prayer. Ask God to help you cut through any obstacles with which the enemy tries to entangle you.
Tote along a shovel strengthened with courage and discernment. Ask God for opportunities to break into conversations of the soul. Pray for strength for the task. Seek wisdom for word choice and timing.
Remember the tiny brush of gentleness. Once you penetrate the surface, it’s essential you use tenderness as you dust away the layers.
You can start small, but start somewhere. Begin with snippets of blessings. During your next conversation, share a specific experience of how God has blessed you that day. Mention God’s name and be sure to give him the glory—not “luck”.
If necessary, begin by writing a letter, forwarding a devotional, or treating them to a faith-based movie. Think of ways to soften the soil for initiating a conversation.
Sweat and Tears
As you sweat through difficult situations in your own life, share how God is helping you through them. Confess your own inadequacies in understanding it all but, tell why you still cling to Christ, trusting him with all things.
Even through tears of sorrow, tell about the glimmers of joy and hope you still see.
Recall with your loved one memories of times when exhaustion set in, mentally, physically, or emotionally. Reveal your struggles. But also share why you persevered. What prize has God set before you that is worth enduring the trials of this world?
Tell them how you see God working through the struggles to strengthen you and prepare you for something better. Can you imagine your life without God in control? Share that.
Discovering the Treasure
Even though it seems the best route, it’s often difficult to unearth the treasure of a deeper relationship with your relative, if you use a bulldozer of sermons. While sermons have their place, they’re not conducive for two-way interactions.
Intentional, thoughtful, and gentle conversations are worth every effort.
Regardless of the results you receive, don’t give up. Fear not. Maintain or upgrade your tools. Trust God to continue working through you.
Deep conversations take time and work. However, the more often you have them, the easier they become. And once you experience the richness of a deeper relationship, you’ll strive to keep that treasure flowing.
Who will you engage with a rich conversation today?