What I’ve Learned from a Year of Deliberate Approach


my words 2021 comes up. (Ok, that’s two words, but who’s counting?)

This simple phrase has influenced me most of the year and has guided my daily life.

Whenever I find a friend struggling or frustrated or just feeling overwhelmed or tired, I stop and pray, “God, how would you let me show up to her?” This sometimes seems like texting or regular Check, or just stop to pray or send dinner or cards. But it often seems like stepping out of my comfort zone and offering intentional proximity – like showing up at her house (even though I don’t know her well) to give her a hug or see her baby so she can take a nap.

Here’s the beautiful thing I’ve found: taking these steps beyond distant lovers (still very safe and comfortable), leaning in the middle of chaos, awkward and uncomfortable at first, but some this year, in these fragile spaces, The deepest community has been formed.

I am often unable to say the right words. So many times, when I’m driving to someone’s house, I’ll ask, “What am I doing? This is crazy! What if I show up, it’s really weird.” But then I remind myself that it’s not about Mine; it’s about me showing the love of Jesus even when I feel inadequate and embarrassed.

Every time, I leave knowing that it’s not saying the perfect words or even doing a lot to make a difference, it’s just communicating with an old friend or new acquaintance: I’m with you. You are not alone. You are very important. I see you.

I think it’s easy to be safe in relationships in the virtual world where we’re often separated. Keep people at a distance. But playing it safe will never build strong communities or deep relationships.

Let us be those who seek intentional proximity. Who shows up in front of others – even if it doesn’t feel right. Who else shows up over and over again.

We are made for the community!

On this week’s episode, Jesse and I discuss in more depth what deliberate proximity is and how it has affected our lives over the past year. We’ll also talk about Christmas gifts, a trip to Kansas, reading goals for 2022, and more! Listen below!

in this episode

[00:34] – welcome to another episode The Crystal Paine Show. Start the new year with a cold.

[02:09] – Finally found our best on a trip to Kansas.

[06:00] – How cold is the cold weather for us?

[08:36] – Jesse shares what saved his life.

[10:10] – The lotion that saved my life.

[13:11] – My book update and my new monthly reading goal.

[14:35] – My last book to finish in 2021.

[15:55] – We share an inside joke about our marriage.

[17:05] – What is intentional proximity?

[20:00] – Don’t just say, “Let me know if we can help!”

[22:15] —Yes, sometimes embarrassing. But it’s worth it.

[25:35] – It’s a good reminder that it’s not about me, it’s about showing the love of Jesus.

[28:11] – What does intentional proximity look like to you?



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