“I just don’t have a lot of really good friends…” I hear it often, a topic that comes up in so many conversations with women. Guess what? You’re not alone!
For a while after getting married and having children I struggled to feel belonging and find good fellowship with others which led to a tough time. People kept reminding me that it was just a busy season I was going through, and it would be over before I knew it. However, those kind and encouraging words still never helped me solve the ever lingering PROBLEM. I longed for friends. Not only friends, but deeply valued fellowship.
As I started to search for answers, I seeked God in prayer and in studying the word. I quickly picked up on a few things I hadn’t recognized before. I realized that while going through this “season” I was actually becoming a new version of myself and discovering my identity in the world. Therefore, of course my view and understanding of friendships evolved and changed.
I wasn’t on my own anymore either. I had a spouse, so friends meant for the both of us now. Same goes with adding children to the mix. Our activity levels fluctuated just a tad ; ) Fellowship with friends and a faithful community simply didn’t come as easy anymore. There were lots more levels involved now. Disappointment seemed to be hanging around at every outing. Too many ducks had to line up in the row!?
No one ever suggested that all these small but powerful details were big! They mattered. I had to recognize that these things were my new reality and my surroundings were in the process of developing. I had to take a good look at why I believed in friendships and what I believed about friends.
I felt god telling me to look in the mirror. Ugh! Who wants to do that?! As much as I didn’t want to admit my shortcomings, Surprise, surprise, it worked! I had to reevaluate my own qualities as a friend and learn to fill the gaps I hadn’t been minding. The biggest reason we loose connection with friends is because we get busy in our new seasons giving our time, energy, and attention to new things we are learning about, for instance in my season… being married and raising children. I had become a bad friend. I had some work to do. I had also matured in ways and desired a certain level of friendship which wasn’t going to come easily either.
I knew it was going to take a lot of intentionality. I began praying through it and making it a priority in my life to establish better connections and build community with others. ( I even went as far as writing friendship goals each month and then reflecting on my progress. ) As I’m still growing in this at this time in my life I ask for grace and forgiveness a lot, but I have undoubtedly seen great fruit from taking ownership of it and working to improve this area of my life.
I struggled with it for some time before taking it to god and asking his advice on the matter too. Once I did this, he opened one door after the other. It just seems that when I’m honoring him he helps me to honor others and relationships simply grow and get better.
I write this to encourage you to think hard on this matter and take a good look in the mirror? Relationships matter in every stage of life and if you want to have strong ones then you have to start working on them now, they don’t happen automatically. They are just like marriages and family connections, you have to build bonds over time and seek friends who are brave enough to correct you and humble enough to take correction from you. It’s a give and take, just like any other successful nature. I’m lucky enough to have kept many life long friendships from childhood, as well as build new interesting and fun friendships throughout my journey. As I grow older each year I learn to value fellowship and good friends more and more and not take good people for granted. Often it seems impossible to get all we want and even give all we want to friends, but the little steps in the right direction start to add up. I know I still have a ton of work left to accomplish in this facet of friendships, but I look forward to it now that I’m on the right track. I hope that all the levels of friendships I have only continue to grow!
In my personal journey I’ve found other believers to be great companions as they are not working to please others in a relationship, but to please god, therefore their love and compassion overflows and inevitably they have great relationships. If you are expecting positive and thriving friendships, you have to work at being a positive and thriving friend. For me, learning through faith about how much people matter and how much relationships matter was a big push towards making this an important priority in my life.
Adding to this, it is also an important priority to learn to be your best as a friend and gain experience, integrity, and character through respectful relationships because it’s so important to lead the next generation into healthy adult friendships, as well as others who may be watching you. I can’t help but acknowledge that my daughter is watching my every move… listening, observing, taking note, modeling. If I teach her the golden rules, I have to walk the walk. Of course we will all fumble our way through, but the honest humility of our efforts, apologies, and amends will help us to keep our eyes focused on what is good and right, and help us realign our hearts and minds to attain the goal.
Ask yourself these few questions –
Are you struggling with finding good friends?
How can you become a better friend?
What qualities do you desire in friends?
I hope this post humbles you as it did me and helps you to get real with where you are, where you’re going, and how you will get there.
Life’s a journey!
Live For The Most