Pastors Greg and Starlene Martin are valued friends of ours and started a church about 8 years ago. Pastor Greg asked me to speak at their Men's Retreat. We spent one night together then headed out the next afternoon to do some white water rafting. In our raft of 8 men plus the guide, I only knew one person... Pastor Greg.
One thing that made our trip safe and fun was the fact that in a short period of time, we had to become a team of men focusing on one task: to conquer the rapids that were waiting to throw us into the rushing waters. It didn't matter what our jobs were, how much money we made, or what sort of car we drove, we knew that if we didn't become a team, get in sync with each other as we tackled those rapids, we were at risk of falling in. Together we were either going to ride the waves or be swallowed by them.
One of the techniques we used to make sure we were were digging deep in the water at the same time, is that we called out every stroke by yelling "DIG... DIG... DIG!" We took our rest between rapids together, and raise our paddles after each rapid to high five and celebrate another exhilarating victory TOGETHER.
In life, we weren't meant to DIG alone, but to share life, and do it together. Being connected in life, wanting the best, meeting the challenges together to bring encouragement and strength to life's battles. Doing life alone is exhausting and we can't expect to be victorious as a one man team. I didn't know the guys in my boat that well, but we committed to DIG together. We found ourselves telling stories, laughed together, watching out for each other when a big wave knocked some of the guys off balance. And after the 4 hour journey, I knew those guys better and we had more in common than we realized.
Are you paddling alone? Are you looking out for your own interests only? Who's around you that may need a friend or encouragement? Don't just wait for someone to ask you into their boat, ask them to get into yours. Be approachable, be diverse, always seek out new friendships. You'll find yourself being exposed to new adventures and being able to assist others in their life. Don't let negative past experiences keep you from new opportunities and new relationships. You were never meant to experience life alone... reach out and invest in yourself by adding value to others!