Is there someone you care for but can’t seem to reach? They seem detached or don’t understand you. What’s missing is engagement.
Webster defines engage: “to mesh with.” Being with someone and failing to connect is as satisfying as hugging someone wrapped in vinyl. In helping folks engage, I’ve noticed three factors that make a difference.
- Ensure Safety
A friend repeated a private conversation that created severe misunderstanding and hurt with a third party. My friend has good qualities and is fun to be with, but I’m now guarded with him. “He who repeats a matter separates intimate friends” (Pro. 17:9 NASB).
- Remove Secrets
There is a place for secrets. On our trip to Poland, when it was under communist rule, our discretion affected the well-being of those we served. But secrets generally isolate us. When we hide something about ourselves we usually withhold a part of us. Knowing we’ve been forgiven and living without shame frees us to engage with the people we love.
- Add Skills
The disciples needed help in knowing how to pray. Sometimes we need help knowing how to engage. Being more personal in our communication can help. This may include acknowledging how the other person’s actions please you. For example, “Seeing you happy in your work makes me smile.”