We were 8 strangers, sitting in a circle. I avoided eye contact with the designated facilitator for the session, hoping she would ignore me. I had to jump through a group counseling hoop for my degree program and I wasn’t excited about it. When the discussion came around to me, I said I didn’t have anything to talk about.
“Really?” they asked.
“Nope. I’m good.” I answered. I had no intention of being that girl who breaks down crying in group counseling while everyone sits and peers into her soul.
They pressed in and asked why I didn’t want to talk. The more I resisted, the more the tension built inside of me until I buried my head in my hands to hide my tears and declared, “This is so cliché!”
I was that girl.
I’d worked hard to maintain my strong, competent and independent cover for many years. Since first grade I’d felt the longing to share my heart and connect with others. Though there were many special moments and special relationships through the years, my intense thirst was never quenched. It seemed most people weren’t interested, didn’t have the courage or didn’t know how to listen in when I shared my heart. I decided I was too much for others and they were more comfortable with me when I was less needy. I didn’t want to make people uncomfortable and push them away so I determined to be strong, competent and independent.
That’s why crying in group counseling felt like death.
After taking a hard look at my resistance to allowing others in, the group helped me realize that I resented them for asking about my heart. I wished others in my life would be so curious and courageous. I wished there would be a way to break through the surface with my friends and find a way to connect on a deeper level.
In my view, Listen In: Building Faith and Friendship Through Conversations That Matter can do just that. It is a groundbreaking book for women who long for deep friendship like I do. Authors Rachael Crabb, Sonya Reeder and Diana Calvin invite the reader to listen in like a fly on the wall as they dialogue about how their inner thoughts and feelings impact the way they relate to others.
Here are 5 ways Listen In can transform your friendships.
- It will validate your desire for deep connection. So many of us are lonely. We long for someone to be curious about our hearts and courageous enough to walk with us through deep waters. If you think you are crazy for craving deep connection, this book will prove that your longing is a holy one.
- It will illuminate root causes for the relational tension in life. Each of the authors has a different struggle they explore with one another. They look beneath the surface of the struggle to find the thoughts and feelings at the root of it. You can, too.
- It will demonstrate the transformational power of curiosity. The questions the authors ask in their conversations with one another allow them each to open up and discover new insights that lead to new freedom. When another human being is curious about your heart, you will likely feel free to explore and share it.
- It will invite you to open up in the presence of people you trust. Vulnerability is often a frightening feeling because our hearts are fragile. You don’t need to open up to everyone, but opening up to someone you trust can be transformational. The authors’ openness will embolden and empower you to dig deeper in discussions with friends you trust.
- It will serve as a guide for you and your friends as you explore the ground of intentional friendship. You don’t need to go to group counseling to find others who are curious about your heart. Gather your courage and find one or two friends with whom you feel comfortable and discuss Listen In, one section at a time. You will be amazed at how quickly your friendships deepen.
By the end of my group counseling experience I’d turned into an advocate for it. But I’ve found even greater transformation and connection through conversations that matter in my relationships. I hope you do, too.
BOOK GIVEAWAY! Share this article on Facebook with the reason you want to read this book and let us know you did in the comments below. One winner will be chosen at random on April 25th, 2016. Come back to find out if you are the winner of the book!