One of the crucial components of The Year of Small Things is starting your own year of small things with other people. In the book we use the phrase “covenantal friendship” to describe the kind of relationship where you and another person (or a couple people) promise to hold each other accountable to certain practices.
Hoping to get out of debt? Your covenantal friend’s going to ask you how that’s going.
Struggling to discern what hospitality looks like in your life? Your covenantal friend is going to pray about that with you and offer some ideas. Then he’s going to circle back in a month and ask again. And again.
Get the idea? A Year of Small Things is more doable when you’re not a lone ranger.
A great way to kick-start a conversation that can lead to a covenantal friendship is a book discussion group.
Don’t overthink this — this can be as organize as a small group (a life group) through your church or as casual as talking about the book on your couch with your best friend. Whatever your discussion group looks like, here are four ways to get the most out of your time together:
- Listen more than you speak. Take a note from us – if someone’s venting about how hard it is to get out of debt, don’t interrupt with seven ways they could boost their income or that story you love to tell about the time you went debt-free. That’s an awesome story, but save it for later. Practice the art of listening: respond with a suggestion, a gentle correction, or a word of encouragement as the Spirit compels you, but be slow to interrupt. Active listening wins points, too: sum up what your friend’s said before continuing on so they know you’re understanding their intentions (or they can clarify when you’re a bit off).
- When you’re thinking about your small things, remember to keep it small. For instance, don’t make the mistake in the Just Living chapter of making your goal to end world hunger. I hear you, but I’m wondering if it’s instead a better idea to give a grocery store gift card to that family you know who is struggling?
- Go back and read the full stories in the bible that we reference. Scripture’s a powerful way to keep the focus on what God’s doing through and saying to you, and not on how impossible your small things might seem.
- Go slow. The book covers a year. Reading the book quickly and expecting to start a bunch of new habits and practices isn’t going to be sustainable. Instead, read it all at once if you want, but pace yourself for starting new projects or goals. A calendar can help; so can returning to your book club throughout a year to check in.
And hey, if you’re encouraged by the book, would you kindly leave a review about it on Goodreads or Amazon? We appreciate you sharing the love.