(Guys. Because most of you only need one friend, and a spare, you are excused from this conversation. Unless you are married. Then you need to read this for your wife’s sake.)
Why do we do this to ourselves? We are so lonely. We have this ache and groan for friendship, deep heart connections, spurring one another on…But it is so hard to make it happen. Why? I’m afraid the answer will not be easy going down.
As much as we want to have an excuse…we really don’t. We are lonely. But I think we are lonely by choice. Take a deep breath. Keep reading.
My friend and I just said that we needed more community and we agreed that it was hard to do—hard to find. As I drove off, I thought to myself, ‘it’s hard to find community because I am so picky.”
How about you? (Be honest…) We don’t like this group because they are immature. Or that group because they’re fake. This group because they are shallow. That group because they are so goody goody—too serious—too wild—too Christian—too old—too young. Really?
Oh my goodness… I make myself tired. And lonely. How about you? Do you know the number one comment I hear from women who need community?
“Nobody gets me, it’s too risky.”
I used to think we were too busy, which we are, but the bigger issue is the self-made hurdles we construct to keep us in and others out. We are afraid of getting hurt. So we isolate and assume that “nobody cares about me.” We use these hurdles to make it impossible to connect: Children, work, church, husbands, homework, cleaning house. I am guilty of many of these. And you?
Yes, those those things are valid and demand our investment, but we make time for the things we truly want and need. Sounds crazy, but when I am out of toilet paper I tend to make time to get some. Why? It is way up on my crucial list of “got-to-have-it.” Then why do we go so long without friend connections? We are women. We got to have friends. And generally, a lot of them.
I am hearing a verse surface in my spirit. “We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) I wonder if that is our model for community?
We first love others and then they love us. That’s a novel idea. We do community to give love instead of to get love. “But how?” says my friend-deprived heart, “I am empty. Dried out. Needy.”
Uhm… that’s not what friends are for. That’s what Jesus is for.
Jesus is the friend who gives me help and worth and comfort. The earthly friends are gifts from God to keep me and you company in the process and journey of life. They are icing on the cake. Not the cake. I have received and given counsel and encouragement and laughter from many friends over the years. But not even a thousand earthly friends can fill the place reserved for Jesus.
So here are some action items. I am talking to myself as well as to you.
1) Stop feeling sorry for yourself. You are not the only lonely, busy, misunderstood woman out there. Go to Jesus and look for His comfort. Then—
2) Reach out to someone. Not with a motive of what you are going to get, but reach out and bless someone. Pray for them and tell them you love them. Don’t put any obligations or demands on them to respond. Love others first just as Jesus loved you. Watch how that starts coming back to you.
3) Purposely schedule some friend time in the very near future. Make a date with a new friend, old friend or could be friend. And then keep the date. How many women do I know who flake out at the last minute? Unless you are in the ER, keep the friend date.
4) Get a list of women and start praying for them. When you get the “friend ache” let that be a trigger to pray. God will meet you in your need as you intercede for others.
5) Last one…humble yourself. Stop discounting other people. If God lives in us all, then the people all around us are potential friends. Maybe not BFFs. But they are people that could walk a stretch of the journey with us. If we learned to savor people a little more, we might stop dismissing the opportunities that God is giving.
You know I am so glad my friend broke the ice today and glad she reached out to me. She just spilled out through her tears that she needed some friendship. I had no idea. But her comments were like a shock treatment. I kept thinking, “Me too!” And I realize, I have a choice. So do you.
Let’s get out of that stuck place. And choose to be connected. We need each other.
“Let us love one another, for love comes from God.” ( 1 John 4:7)
(Another thought: if you don’t have any place to start, then come to the “I Need More” Class on Tuesday, September 30th. It’s a great place to meet some diverse and wonderful women. I am honored to walk with them. )