Updated: Aug 22, 2019
"When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things."
1 Cor 13:11
Adulting is hard! Why as kids did we want to grow up so badly? I don't know, but I could give you a list of things that make it difficult to be an adult as I'm sure we all could. But in the recent years the thing that's been the hardest for me, is making friends.
I guess I would kind of say I was once "popular." Or at least I never felt like I struggled to make friends. I know that as you grow up people change and sometimes drift apart but recently I've become particularly closed off and really have had a difficult time relating to other Christian women and connecting on a deeper level.
Some of it is definitely due to my own insecurity and some of it is just general lack of relation. I will also say that it's way harder being married and trying to factor in couple friends. I'm honestly starting to think that realm is just impossible. Often we meet a couple and either the husband is on fire for God and the wife isn't or it's the other way around. We rarely meet a pair that both love Jesus like we do and when we do I sometimes just feel like they don't like us or we just don't click (I'll address this concept further later). I know we're not everyone's cup of tea and that's ok but a lot of the time it just feels "one" sided like we're the only ones reaching out and trying to invite people over and get to know them.
Now I could go on a long rant (like i sometimes do) about how no one likes me everyone hates me wah wah wah. The truth is, most of it is my fault. Building relationships takes intention and effort. Frankly, I suck at staying in contact and sometimes am just lazy.
Out of sight out of mind. I think that's sometimes the issue with most of us. We all have lives and our own agendas, and honestly we live in a "me" focused world. We tend to think "oh if they wanted to talk to me they would call." But they're over there often thinking the same thing, and it becomes a viscous circle of waiting for the other person to reach out and sitting in a puddle of loneliness and self pity thinking no one likes us. I hate to tell you this, but that's a childish way of thinking which I'm sure we're all guilty of at one time or another. We have to be diligent in what we can do about it, and we need to grow past that and mature even in our thoughts.
A friend loves at all times , And a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17
Good times and bad. Don't just be an okay friend, be a good friend and show love even when someone maybe doesn't reciprocate.
I know I've been on this "work" kick lately, but guess what relationships also take work. Marriages, friendships, and even our walk with God. We have to be intentional and work at building those relationships. God built us for relationship because He's a relational God and we are built in His image (Gen 1:27). He gave us the perfect example of what it looks like first in the communion of the trinity and second through Jesus himself. I love the book the Shack for so many reasons, but one of my favorite parts is when the Holy Spirit shows us the example of what true relationship looks like in Them. It wrecked me. Humans have messed so many things up but specifically the concept of relationship. Everyone wants something from one another and the concept of serving each other verses what can I get from them is oblivious to us. And we all want to "click" with someone before we want to be in their lives. This idea of having to "click" with someone only makes sense if we have the idea of what can "I" get from this relationship or how can "I" benefit from being friends with them.
We need to stop looking for people who are "like" us. Instead, if we can learn to see the value in each other's differences, imagine how much more functional our friend groups and ministries could be. I don't want another me in the room, I'm more than enough to handle. I want to be around people who balance me out and strengthen me in the areas I'm weak. That's why iron sharpens iron (Prov 27:17) because my rough edges and yours scrape each other off and smooth each other out.
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25
If we can just come together in fellowship, to encourage one another in our differences, maybe the friendship realm wouldn't feel so frustrating. Maybe, just maybe, if we worked at cultivating new relationships and maintaining old ones we wouldn't feel so lonely and secluded.
I challenge you this week to reach out to someone new and someone old and try to encourage them and see how they are doing. Not just based on this challenge though but because you genuinely want to be relational. Don't listen to the lies of the enemy that says they don't like you or they'd call if they were free or even interested. Be the bigger person and make the first move. Call someone and go on a coffee date and spend time finding as much about that person as you can. Ask the Holy Spirit to tear down the walls you've built around yourself to grant you false security and ask Him to help you overcome the fear of rejection living inside us.