I can’t believe she said/did/believes that.
The pain is too much.
The divide between us is too wide.
We’ll never see eye to eye.
They don’t understand me.
I’m tired of arguing.
We have nothing in common.
I haven’t walked in their shoes, and they haven’t walked in mine.
They aren’t willing to try.
This is too hard.
I don’t know what to say or where to start.
I’m not equipped to build that friendship.
It’s impossible to repair this relationship.
I’m too hurt to move forward.
Have you ever had thoughts like one (or all) of these? Maybe you’ve even said something like this out loud? If so, you’re not alone. Being human is hard. Being in relationships with other humans is even harder. And it just seems to be getting more complicated every day.
Sometimes the unspoken tensions between us make it difficult to breathe. The tiny fractures. Silent assumptions. Fresh wounds or decades of scars. A widening divide between sisters and brothers, husbands and wives, neighbors, coworkers, college roommates, online acquaintances, best of friends, and could-be friends. Do you feel it? Do you know how to move through it?
We each come to the kitchen table, the bus stop, the office coffeepot, or the church potluck with our own gifts and our own junk. We carry the weight of past hurts, strong opinions, and well-founded fears. We also carry with us our unique and delightful differences. We show up to boardrooms and living rooms with our distinct languages and cultures, personality types and perspectives, experiences and convictions.
Both the beautiful and the broken parts of our stories can make connecting with others challenging — or sometimes infuriating, disheartening, or just plain impossible.
Have you felt this way? When it comes to difficult people, have you wanted to throw in the towel or build an impenetrable wall around your heart? Have you tried to avoid eye contact in Costco when you see that friend who is forever wanting to debate hot-button issues, or have you sent a phone call straight to voicemail because the risk of being manipulated or misunderstood again is just too much? Have you longed to be seen and accepted for who you are, but others just seem to want you to be someone you’re not? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, you’re in the right place, friend.
Your sisters at (in)courage know what it’s like to feel frustrated in friendships. To feel fed up with the complexity of relationships in today’s culture. We know what it’s like to lose confidence in humanity while still clinging to a wisp of hope in the God who holds us all. We know what it’s like to get it all wrong, to face our own failings, and to see Jesus meet us in our mess anyway.
Now more than ever, relationships feel anything but straightforward. What if taking the next step in your messy or complex relationship looked like just taking a seat?
For years, the writers of (in)courage have been sitting down together, virtually and in person, to wrestle through what it looks like to delight in our differences rather than ignore or abhor them. We’ve done the hard work of loving one another through disagreements and learning to live in the discomfort that naturally comes with being a bunch of beautifully imperfect, wildly distinct women. We are not flawless experts but battle-worn survivors who have seen the goodness of God in seemingly insurmountable situations; we’re here to tell you about our heartaches and mistakes and hope in the one true God who hasn’t given up on us.
How would our hearts change if we set aside arguing in comment threads and sat next to one another instead? How might our world change if we would all agree to be people who both celebrate and weep with our friends, coworkers, and neighbors before ever trying to convince, correct, or lobby our agendas?
Loving others isn’t easy. Jesus never said it would be. But He did call us to do it, and therefore we know it will be worth it. “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:34–35 NLT).
And perhaps this love begins by just acknowledging the tension we feel and sitting in that tension together.
Meet our new book, Come Sit with Me: How to Delight in Differences, Love through Disagreements, and Live with Discomfort. Isn’t that the best title?! In this brand-new book, 26 of our (in)courage writers help you navigate tough relational tensions by revealing their own hard-fought, grace-filled learning moments. We show you how to:
– delight in your differences
– honor and value others even when you disagree
– connect before you correct
– trust that God is working even when people disappoint you
– live and love like Jesus by serving others.
Whether you’re in the middle of a conflict without resolution or wondering how to enter into a friend’s pain, this book will serve as a gentle guide. Discover how God can work through your disagreements, differences, and discomfort in ways you might never expect.
Preorder your copy and we’ll also send you TWO amazing FREE gifts:
- The audiobook of Come Sit with Me.
- The ebook of our Empowered devotional!
PLUS when you preorder, Come Sit With Me will arrive on launch day, November 1st (just in time for those holiday gatherings!) Find it at your favorite retailer:
And add Come Sit with Me to your ‘want to read’ shelf on Goodreads!
If you liked the excerpt we shared above, we’d love to send you an even bigger FREE sneak peek of Come Sit With Me! Sign up below and we’ll email you the whole introduction and first two chapters.
Sign up today and get your sample chapters!
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“What if taking the next step in your messy or complex relationship looked like just taking a seat?”
– Love this, food for thought!
Thank you for sharing! 🙂
Becky Keife says
Yes, there can be so much hope and healing in the simple gestures…like sitting together. Come Sit with Me is SO timely and practical. I can’t wait for you to read it!
Ruth Mills says
“Connect before your correct.” Dearest Lord enable me to apply this principle with my unruly 3rd grader in my Sunday school class!
Becky Keife says
May God keep these words close to your heart and pour out His abundant grace!
Ariel Krienke says
You are not alone, I too feel alone without any friends who understands me on this earth. Jesus is my best friend. I never want to attempt to take away freewill. I attempt to live according to God’s standards. I Aim High to his will. First love the Lord your God with your whole heart, soul, and mind. Next and not first, love your neighbor as yourself.
Carol Groenewegen says
I am hoping that this book will help me to better coexist with my son-in-law. His beliefs and constant need to be right has damaged our relationship. Things that he has said and done over the past 10 years has me in a place that I have absolutely no feelings for him. We co-exist because of my daughter and my grandchildren however I have no desire to have any type of relationship with him.
Becky Keife says
Carol, that is a really hard situation. My heart goes out to you. And I do really think this book will encourage your heart and give you some practical tools as well.
Dawn Ferguson-Liitle says
Thank you so much for this reading today. I know Jesus was under conflict with people who tried get him to trip up so as they have something on him. But through it all Jesus done what his Heavenly Father told him do. He kept slient and only spoke when he had to. Yet at the same time he never stopped loving them. Jesus never gave up on people. He loved people of all walks of life. Even if they didn’t like him out agreed with the things he said are done. So we are to love people all walks of life like Jesus. Even if we don’t agree with them or they have annoyed us by saying something hurtful. Even if we did no wrong to them. As I know someone who was hurt full to me because I tried to explain why I couldn’t have a big meal why I was just having something small. This person words hurt me. I was tempted not to be friends with them again. But God told me to do forgive them and pray for them. As we as true followers of Jesus can and say and do things that even hurt Jesus. But he always forgives us when we see we were wrong and ask him to forgive us. Since I forgive my friend who said words that hurt because I was not doing as she liked. I felt better. Next time I saw her it didn’t annoy me as I was able to talk to her even though it hurt at the time. We have to do in all situations do what Jesus would want us to do. Not give up on them say I don’t want to know them. We might not like what they have done. But we have to still love them in the Lord no matter what pray and forgive them. As letting what they said if they said something that hurt us get to us only hurt us not the person who said it. Even if they never say sorry or realise their words hurt. You have show you have forgiven them by not letting what you said eat you up. Still talk to them. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little xx
Taking a seat…and praying for wisdom as to what to do. Try longer, harder? Or walk away? Some relationships actually need to be released. I’m sure this book will offer helpful advice, and I’m hoping that includes the reality that there is no blanket answer for the many complicated relationships that people face.
This really spoke to me, as I’m in a season of waiting and trying to figure out what to do next in a relationship. I believe in “us” so much and I believe God can and will heal the brokenness. I’m praying for my desire to align with His will. He has not removed the desire for restoration from my heart. Although, at times it feels like it would be easier to give up, but I don’t want to miss out on the blessing God has in store for me. I feel like God is calling me to overcome my fear of rejection and to act. I just don’t know how. I’m praying He gives me the right words to say, at the right time.
Beth Williams says
I believe it is past time we quit hiding behind computer & cell phone screens & really get to know one another. Take the time to understand why they think/believe what they do. Take off the masks of pretending & be real with each other. Start by loving as Jesus would. Don’t look at the outside but the heart of the person. Learn where they came from their history. You might be surprised. They may be more like you than not.