Help for Life Challenges

1 question to ask yourself before church that will help you build friendships

I ask myself this question (and sometimes even pray about it) before church each week to help me have a sweeter worship experience.
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I recently moved into a new ward, which means I am at the starting line of making new friends.

To help me on this sometimes awkward but important quest, I ask myself this question before church each week: Who can I share sunshine with today?

I stole the question from an institute teacher who used to start class each day by having us turn to the people sitting next to us and “share some sunshine with them.” I always loved the little exercise because it was open to interpretation but always positive. Our classroom really did always feel a little brighter afterward.

Asking myself this question leads to better social interactions at church. Instead of stressing over remembering everyone’s names or making good first impressions, I turn outward. It reminds me to focus not on impressing others but on uplifting them. And rather than waiting for someone to talk to me, I am on a quiet mission to talk to others.

The question reminds me of this quote from Sister Virginia H. Pearce: “Be someone who reaches out to know and serve others—throw away the mirrors and look through the window.”

It doesn’t always come naturally, but training your brain to look through the window to notice others will lead to more personal happiness and life-bettering relationships. I also sometimes pray before church for eyes to see someone who could use a bit of sunshine that day.

So, what does sharing sunshine look like? The possibilities are endless! But here are a few ideas:

  • Take interest. Ask someone about their week or what the pin on their jacket is about. People love to be noticed! 
  • Watch for ways to help. Hold open a door, pick up trash, or offer help if technology is malfunctioning during a lesson.  
  • Sit by someone new. There is nothing wrong with sitting by your friends, but maybe once a month, try sitting next to someone you don’t know as well.  
  • Smile! This simple gesture can go a long way in brightening someone’s day. 
  • Share a comment in a lesson. You never know when your perspective will bring relief to someone else. 
  • Express appreciation. Did someone give a talk, lesson, or comment you appreciated? Let them know. 

If you would like some more food for thought on making friends and creating community, check out the articles below:

Delightful advice from a four-year-old on making friends at church

3 hurdles that keep us from ministering—and how to get over them

The fun tradition to help any ward or neighborhood bond

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