To many, I seem like a social butterfly, and I guess I am. I always have friends, and always have. I’d like to think its because I don’t have the most overpowering features—I’m not drop dead gorgeous, but look relatable. In fact-most people say I remind them of someone they know. But, what many don’t realize about the person who seems to have many friends is that she gets lonely. And, from the time I entered high school to just a few months ago, my life seemed to feel like I was merely living isolated in a crowd.
If I’m being honest, I struggle with friends.
Here’s what I mean:
- I don’t give grace and I haven’t had to. Because I’ve made so many shallow friendships, if someone messed up, I didn’t need to show grace, I just moved on to another friendship. Hands clean, eyes forward.
- I go for volume over depth. I enjoy meeting new people—in fact that is a huge strength that plays into my God-given calling as a ministry director. However, shallow friendships don’t last in the long run if vulnerability isn’t present and life isn’t shared.
- I allow my past to play into my present. We’ve all been hurt by friendships; people are people and make mistakes. However, I have often lied to myself in an attempt to believe that I was the only one to have ever been hurt.
With these three lies floating in my mind, I wrestled and fought through friendships in pain. Eventually it got to the point where life alone was easier. I had a few key people who stuck by me, but in the end the only person I trusted was myself.
Life got lonely.
But what I realize now is that we don’t have to live life like this. We don’t have to live life isolated in a community of one. We don’t have to sit in a crowd feeling alone, rejected, and bitter. Today I live life trying my best to live out the truths compared to the lies I’ve told myself for years.
Here’s what I mean:
- I must give grace abundantly. No one is perfect—yes not even you. We need grace just as badly as the next person. So because Christ forgave us, let us forgive others even when it may feel easier to forget them instead of forgive them.
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3:13, NLT
- Go for depth over volume. A friendship in which you are vulnerable with one another is far more meaningful and fulfilling than being invited to every party and outing. It will last living in different states, and years of weathering. I guess the old kindergarten rule “sharing is caring” is true after all.
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10, NIV
- Friendships are for looking forward. Because God promises our past doesn’t define us, we can know that the same is true of our friends. You are not the only one who has been hurt, and in fact your friends have probably been hurt as well. Let’s heal together, instead of hurt apart.
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:7, NLT
Friendships are a place for healing, community, growth, and grace. The truth is that when I struggled with friendships I was making a conscious choice not only to go through life alone, but to stop dead in my tracks of becoming who God made me to be. Each day we have a choice—each day is a new opportunity to make the right choice.
So together, let’s promise to begin to choose friendships where we can give grace, live vulnerably, and grow with one another. Because I truly believe that only when we live in community can we fully become who God made us to be.