Finding the Friends You Need
I hesitate to even post this… because I hate anything that resembles exclusivity. But I know I will look back over this season of my life and regret not documenting these beautiful women and the incredible impact they have had on me. They are not #bestfriendsforever, #mytribe or my #friendswhoarefamily. They are actually better. And I was shocked at how I found them…
A few years ago we committed to leading an authentic community of moms together… and in doing so we committed to being even more vulnerable and transparent with one another. However ugly, messy or even sinful that looked. If I showed up for a meeting saying, “everything is fine, I don’t need prayer for anything” twice in a row, I would be lovingly guided to the hot-seat for interrogation. (I’m kidding… kind of.) We don’t have it down pat. Sometimes, our insecurities still get in the way. But for the most part, we are getting used to one another’s quirks and tears. We are gradually getting more comfortable with uncomfortable. We are learning to let someone else have the right answer sometimes. We are learning how to disagree. I have been able to share the ugliest corners of my heart and let my deepest fears come to light and I have never felt so safe. On numerous occasions I have sent out a call for prayer after midnight or before dawn and always had an immediate response and security that someone was standing in the gap for me. But let me re-iterate, these women are not my best friends. They are, however, the friends I needed.
Truth be told, I wouldn’t have hand-picked any of them. I never would have expected to find safety in someone so different from me. Nor would I have expected to find it in someone so similar to me (because I know how that story goes…) I don’t believe we even know how to find the friends we need. I think we tend to push them away.
Unbeknownst to me, my issues had been putting up walls with certain types for a few years. The dominant type. The traditional type. The too-much-drama type. And (since we’re being honest) the church leadership type. I guess I have always gravitated towards easier friendships. I think most of us do.
But in the past few years God has used each of these women in some way to show me how ridiculous, judgmental and limiting this typecasting has been. I think God views relationships differently than we do. I believe He views every single interweaving of hearts as an opportunity for Himself to be known and glorified. And I also believe that every time we decide to disentangle ourselves from someone else’s life we are limiting Him from the ability to be known in a different facet and glorified in a powerful way. I actually believe that (with the exception of abuse) the more uncomfortable a relationship is, the more necessary it is for us to keep it. We have all heard the saying, “you can’t pick your family, but you can pick your friends.” This is true. So, WHY THE HECK do we end up marrying or otherwise choosing to do life with someone so similar to that difficult family member?! Or how do you end up working for someone just like your bossy older sibling? Actually, I think I know the answer. I think if we don’t figure out how to heal that brokenness the first time around, God gives us another chance through another person. Because that chaffing or discomfort caused by that relationship is like a magnifying glass to one of the ways God wants to heal us.
We don’t usually look at friendships that way, do we? We typically want our friendships to be a safe haven from… everybody else. But what if we don’t really have to look so hard to find the friends we need. What if they are already right in the middle of our neighborhoods and community groups, because our creator knows us and knows exactly what we need and puts them in our path. Maybe the friends we need are just cloaked in something that we wouldn’t recognize as friendship material.
Do you believe an unlimited God can create a safety net for you right where you are, with the person right next to you, right now?
I absolutely do. He repeatedly shows me that He knows me better than I know myself.
Thank God for that.
And thank God for friendships that don’t need lame hashtags. (#sorry #notsorry)