“Like a snow-cooled drink at harvest time is a trustworthy messenger to the one who sends him; he refreshes the spirit of his master.”

~ Proverbs 25:13

As an introvert, I never anticipated needing people to help me feel refreshed. But after transitioning from a busy Resident Director, constantly surrounded by students and other staff, to being a stay-at-home-mom to one bouncy toddler, I found myself growing lonely. No more were there random students popping in just to say ‘hi’ throughout the day. Handfuls of college women (and sometimes a few college men) were no longer piling into our living room to watch “Once Upon a Time” and just enjoy being together for an hour. My lunch dates no longer have boy troubles or girl drama for me to help them process. My world suddenly got very, very small.

In fact, it had been over a year since I really felt connected to someone outside my immediate family. Now, however, I finally have a friend to join in playdates and park excursions, and we just joined a church where we feel already loved and accepted. My world is slowly expanding again. (Yay!)

Realizing how badly I need people!

A couple of evenings ago, our pastor and his wife came to visit with us and help us start thinking of ways we can plug in with our new church. We did manage to cover that topic a bit, but mostly we talked and got to know each other. We laughed together at C’s potty-training antics and her insistence that they were there for the sole purpose of playing with her. We simply enjoyed being together.

After they left and we had gotten C to bed, I told Erik how much I had enjoyed having people in our home again, how much I had missed it. Both Erik and I had scored fairly highly on hospitality on our spiritual gifts inventories, so it shouldn’t surprise me that this visit reinforced our need to reach out and invite more people to spend time in our home. Finding people who can refresh our spirits with their presence is vital to our health and sanity, and we need to be offering that refreshing drink to those around us, as well.

Why we can’t live as an island

Paul writes frequently in his letters of being or needing to be refreshed by like-minded, life-giving friends:

  • “Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed.” (Romans 15:31-32)
  • “For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition.” (1 Corinthians 16:18)
  • “By all this we are encouraged. In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of you.” (2 Corinthians 7:13)
  • “May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains.” (2 Timothy 1:16)
  • “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.” (Philemon 7)
  • “I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ.” (Philemon 20)

It’s hard to be “out on an island” and feel like we have no one who really GETS us, no one who can comfort and encourage us as we work to serve Christ and each other.

While I never really appreciated it while I was working, as an RD I was surrounded by loving, giving people who fought to refresh each other daily. That community was like nothing I have experienced since, and it makes me incredibly sad that it took me this long to appreciate it. I am forever grateful for those who loved me so well in that setting. And I am so thankful God has seen fit to bring me back into a fellowship to refresh my tired heart here. They may be few in number at this point, but the “snow-cooled drink” they are to my spirit is EXACTLY what I needed.

Who has been that refreshing drink in your life? How can you offer that refreshment to those in your world?