by Anna Rendell
Q: Anna, you’re the Social Media Co-coordinator at (in)courage. You’ve been married for ten years and have three kids under five. I believe you found (in)courage about seven years ago when you were in a very lonely sea-son, and you’ve been a part of the community ever since! What do you want readers to learn from the new book Craving Connection?
A: That is correct. First off, I hope the readers of Craving Connection realize that they are not alone in the pursuit of real friendships. That they are not the only ones who have struggled with developing and maintaining friends. That they are not the only women who have been hurt by other women. None of us are alone in this! Second, I pray that the readers feel a stirring for deeper connection within their community, within their friendships, and within their relationship with the Lord. These three bonds are so important for women, and most of our cravings for real connection begin in one (or more) of these three spaces.
Q: Do you think people are craving connection now more than in the past? Why?
A: I do. There is real and true value in the friendships we cultivate online. During the loneliest time in my life, online friendships were my lifeline. For various reasons it wasn’t feasible for me to nurture ‘real life’ relationships, and the friends I made via the Inter-net helped to see me through some dark times. But nothing beats face-to-face connection. I think sometimes we feel like we’re fulfilling our cravings for connection with our online friends, but we all need to live in our communities and create lasting friendships as well. In this time of smartphones, Twitter and filtered timelines, our cravings for connection may be stronger than ever because they only get half-met.
Q: You talk about how fear holds us back; why is it important to conquer fear?
A: God promises in 1 Timothy that He hasn’t given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-discipline. We need to conquer fear so that we can embrace and nurture the spirits He does give! Fear blocks us from fully living into who He made us to be, and has no place in real friendships.
Q: Tell readers about the connection challenges they will find in the book.
A: At the end of each chapter, the writers offer a Connection Challenge. These challenges are practical, able to be done in our everyday lives with-out too much work, BUT they are very intentional in the ways they help fulfill our cravings for connection. Each challenge is specifically designed to help us connect with God, our friends, and/or our communities. The challenges range from purposefully praying for a friend to inviting people into our homes, asking someone for forgiveness to completing a random act of kindness. Each challenge will absolutely deepen the ways you connect with others!
Q: What ages will benefit from this devotional?
A: Craving Connection is perfect for college women to grandmothers, high school small groups to ladies circles in church. Women of all ages could benefit from reading the stories and accepting the challenges!
Q: People, especially women, have a habit of comparing themselves to each other. You talk about this in Craving Connection, how does this affect us?
A: Comparison can crush us. It can make us feel unworthy, small, and defeated. Comparison is a thief of joy and can affect our lives and hearts in a myriad of ways. At (in)courage, we encourage women to connect instead of compare – to allow grace for one another and to stamp out jealousy at it’s first sign. Craving Connection has 30 chapters and challenges to help encourage us to connect instead of compare – consider it an antidote to comparison!
Q: If you could go back and re-write your devotional, is there anything you would add?
A: If I had a hundred pages to fill, I’d share the stories I’ve seen of friendship in the lives of the people I love. I’ve seen women forge deep and meaningful friendships within my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group, offering to watch kids, bringing meals, and bravely stepping out into new friendships. I’d fill pages with stories of the ways the people in our church have been friends for decades, years of friendships pursued and maintained via coffee, time spent together, love poured out in everyday ways. These are the building blocks of connection – time is the currency of friendship.
Comparison can crush us. It can make us feel unworthy, small, and defeated. It is the thief of joy…