“Isn’t it funny how just one little phone call or text can make your bad day suddenly wonderful?!” – Nishan Panwar
I love texting. I can instantly send a message and the recipient can determine where and when to read it. Sure, I sometimes want an instant response — I want the recipient to be on my same time table. But, to me, the true beauty of texting is in the ability to encourage someone on their schedule.
Here are my three favorite ways to intentionally enter into someone’s life via texting:
1. Sending encouragement
This is Number 1 bacause it’s my favorite. I love sending an encouraging comment or Bible verse, or both. No response is necessary, although I often receive one.
The first time I used it on a large scale was a few years back when my daughter was on a three week vacation with friends. While she had fun every single day, it got long for a high schooler away from the ‘rents.
I began sending brief daily texts like, “Good morning, Sunshine!,” or “Hope your day is wonderful, Princess!” Pretty original, huh? Exactly my point. I didn’t send profound information or detail how she could be less homesick in 4 easy steps. I simply let her know she was on my mind and in my heart. And, according to Caitlyn, she smiled and breathed a happy sigh when she received them. Every. Single. Time.
I had additional opportunites to use texting as a way to say, “I’m here, I really am,” at different points during her college years and in her loooooooonnnnnng year 2300 miles from home.
Unexpected payback: I sometimes get encouraging texts from her when she knows I’m struggling. Pure bliss.
2. Praying for someone
I (literally) text a prayer.
When friends or family are sick, making a big decision, struggling through something, I pray for them. A lot. And sometimes I tell them I’m praying for them. But actually praying with them is so much better than simply telling them I’m praying. This can be done with a phone call allowing the recipient to listen and pray along.
But texting a prayer has an added benefit — the recipient can go back and look at it again and again, remembering she is, indeed, being prayed for.
3. Sharing an experience when distance gets in the way
And by sharing an experience, I mean — watching a game together. Specifically, Green Bay Packers games and St. Louis Cardinals games.
Gary and Andy have a long history of watching sports together. Because we live a thousand miles apart, texting allows them to “watch” the game together. They can praise a play or player, question the coach’s strategy and, occasionally, wonder what-in-the-world the ref saw. Gary does this by walking around our living room, texting as fast as he can, complaining that his fingers are too big. (Interpreted: this is urgent, he has to get this text off quickly and he can’t hit the right letters!)I’ve never seen Andy during one of these games, but I’m sure he’s just as animated.
One caveat: Make sure the other person is watching the game live just as you are. If one is watching it delayed on dvr, the texting ruins the surprise of the game. Maybe it’s just us, but for big games, our family clarifies with each other ahead of time whether we’ll be watching live or delayed. All families do that. Right?
Texting is a tool. Tools in and of themselves have no virtue. It’s our use of tools that determines them to be good or bad. Try using the texting tool in the three ways I’ve listed. It can, indeed, be a great way to connect with each other and build relationships.
Have you used texting in these ways? Do you have other ways you use it to connect with others and help build relationships? I’d love to hear them. Please share with a comment below.