Here's part 2 (and some more suggestions).
- Ask insightful questions. These are questions that go beyond the normal "How was your day?" and trivial "What is your favourite band?" questions. Insightful questions include: "How's your walk with God going?" "What's God been doing in, through or around you?" "How can I pray for you?" "Is there anything that you're struggling with at the moment? (coupled with a request to pray with them)" "What are you looking forward to in the next year?" "What's your favourite holiday memory?" They can be anywhere (as shown) from spiritual questions to asking how a person is really, truly going, to not-quite-as-deep-but-still-not-trivial-chit-chat questions. Of course, it's not OK to ask something that would force a person to open up their most intimate secrets and struggles with you. It's also hard (not to mention awkward!) to ask deep questions straight after the "Hi, I'm Cassie, what's your name?" But maybe after knowing the person for a while you can begin the slightly-deeper-but-still-not-trivial-chit-chat questions. And the prayer request one is often good. (You can do that one with both Christians and non-Christians.)
- Practice elegant speech. I've talked about this in my "Coarse talk: uh-uh" post and my "Modesty in Actions" post. I reckon you guys should get the gist of it by now. If not, or if you're new (yay!), this is basically what elegant speech is: (these points are from "The Lost Art of True Beauty.")
1) Not using crude humour or comments.
2) Not gossiping or belittling others with your words.
3) Not using profanity.
4) Not overusing filler words; words like 'stuff,' 'like' and 'really.' (This one is really hard to get out of, but it cleans up our speech.)
5) Not mumbling. As ambassadors for Christ, we shouldn't speak as though we're ashamed.
6) Not talking to fast or rambling on and on.
7) Not talking so loud that everyone is forced to listen to you.
8) Keeping your heart guarded in your speech. We should make sure that we aren't revealing every deepest, most personal secret, fear and struggle in our common conversation. While we need to make sure to ask insightful questions etc, we still need to guard the sacred parts of our hearts. It's also wise to be more cautious with guys. I'm not saying that we can't carry on a slightly deeper conversation with them, but we shouldn't tell them everything that we tell our female friends.
I know that that's a lot of things to work on, but I can tell you with certainty that you will be blessed for following them, and trying to exude dignity in every area of your life.
There's also a message that I feel God wants me to give you. It relates to the result of you seeking to obey the Lord in every area of your life. (I wrote about it a bit in this post.) With me (and others, including God himself) bringing up things that I believe that we need to work on, it's easy to get discouraged. I know I do sometimes. But I believe that God wants to remind you that He is the one doing a transforming work in us; that if we listen and follow what He tells us to do, we will see change!. God whispered to my heart, "Tell them that I love them and will honour their striving." Romans 8:31 says, "What then shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us!" The song "You Raise Me Up" reminds us that that God "raises us up to more than we can be." Thanks be to God!
Your sister in Christ,
Your sister in Christ,