One day recently I was planning a much-needed girl’s night out while my husband was out of town. Two friends and I had been trying for 4 months to get together, and I was super excited to finally get a chance for some girl talk, Italian food, and chocolate. At first, I was just going invite the two of them, but then I decided to pray about who God wanted me to invite. Reaching out is not a strong quality of mine, but I was in a bible study that was encouraging us to be willing to pray and step out of our comfort zone. After praying, I felt lead to invite six other women. I mentally shook my head at God because I was so sure they would all say no, but I obeyed anyway, and to my surprise all but one accepted.
Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised. I know that may sound a little strange, but growing up I never had a friend whom I believe considered me their best friend. I had friends and wished to be closer to them, they just normally had friends they were closer with than me. I knew what it was like to be lonely, to wish that I was in the “in-group,” and to feel like I was on the outside always looking in.
Although I may not have had a best friend in Tennessee while growing up, I did at least have friends. When I was 16 my family moved to Indiana so my Dad could a pastor of a church there. The closest girls to my age in the church were either 7 or 21. It was a very hard adjustment for me, but after a year of living there, God sent me a best friend who lived just 10 minutes from my house.
Having someone that I could trust close by was like a breath of fresh air. We were opposites in many ways, but alike in the ones that mattered. She encouraged me and became a safe place. I was always able to bounce ideas off her and knew they would go no further.
However, just two short years after meeting her I got married and moved six hours away. While she and I still call each other often and make sure to see each other once a year, it just isn’t the same as having her 10 minutes away. I am very close to my husband and consider him my best friend, but I still longed for a friend again that I could go hang out with. Someone to talk significant girly things with like: the importance of chocolate …. how awesome Pride and Prejudice is …. trade birth war stories with … and commiserate with how hard potty training or the difficulty of teaching long division.
Fast forward seven years, God has blessed me with not just one close friend, but several. I can call these gals and they will pray for me right then. Also, they will not share my struggles with the world, and even better, they can put up with my blunt honesty. To be candid, the past 5 years have been pretty awesome and I have been very content with my little circle of friends God has seen fit to finally bless me with.
However, When so many women accepted my invitation to the girl’s night, God showed me that I had become very self-absorbed and had not noticed other women who needed friends. God convicted me of several things I needed to watch for, such as:
- Running to my friends first before Him.
- He reminded me he is a jealous God and to make sure when something has happened my first thought is to come to him and not pick up my phone.
- Talking to my friends more than Him.
- He longs to hear about my day or troubles a lot more than they do, and unlike my friends, He can change life circumstances.
- Not being friendly and excluding others.
- I make really horrible first impressions. Also, I normally need time to warm up to you before I feel like putting myself out there and being friendly. (Hence, the horrible first impression.) Until I feel you are worthy of my trust I tend to be very reserved.
- I need to be aware of those around me who are needing encouragement and a friend.
- If that girl’s night out taught me anything it is that even though I already have several friends that does not mean I should quit reaching out to others. We both will receive a blessing if I do. It is easy to forget the feeling of loneliness when it no longer is happening to me. Women just want someone to notice them show them they care.
God has plainly shown me that he gave me each one of my friends to meet a certain need in my life, but if I abused His gift He could easily take them away. Friends are just that – wonderful gifts to help encourage us along our walk – but He is to stay my one and only. The tighter I hold my friends, the more I force God to start doing things to release that grip.
Remember, even though you may have some great godly friends, we need watch running to them first. God loves us more than they ever will. I may enjoy my friends and love their support, but my first focus needs to stay on God. We need to be willing to reach outside our little circle of comfort and be willing to let God open our eyes to people who need a friend.
Can I encourage you to do two things this week?
First, run to God the next time something happens to you that makes you want to pick up a phone and call your girlfriend.
Second, stop and pray and ask God who might need someone to notice them and then act on it. Write someone a note, invite someone out to coffee, set up a playdate at a park.