My whole life, I think I’ve been “relationship-challenged”. I’ve always blamed it on my mom. I have very similar tendencies to her (many of the items on the list you see below, she shares with me). It’s not that I haven’t had friends, it’s just that I’ve only had a very few close friends – people that I’d trust enough to pour my heart out – people that I feel I can rely on in a pinch.
Most of the time, I’m fine with this. But every once in a while I wonder if I’m normal, ya know? Every once in a while, I see another set of “friends” who spend a large amount of time together and wonder why I don’t have a relationship like that.
But it could be because…
5. I hate to talk on the phone. I do take a looooong time to return phone calls. (sorry, friends!)
4. I like to be alone. Most times I’d rather do things alone than with others. I find that this tendency has increased since having children.
3. Talking with other people tires me out emotionally. Seriously. I can only take so much, then I need to get alone. Seeing as I have one husband and three kids, they kinda take up most of my available time and energy. So when I have “extra” time, I often just want to be alone (see #4).
2. I am not spontaneous. At all. In other words, I like to make plans well in advance.
1. I am a homebody. Simply put, I like to be at home.
So there it is – those are my natural tendencies. But here’s why I’m trying to step out of my comfort zone more…
I heard a quote recently that said, “You can impress people from afar, but you can impact people from up close.” I have no idea who said that ( I should probably google it!) but it makes a lot of sense.
And when I think of relationships with other people in the context of how Jesus thought of them, it makes a lot of sense. I really have no desire to impress people. But I do have a desire to impact them – to help them grow closer to God – to love them the way God does.
Some verses that are coming to mind about friendship…
Proverbs 17:17 ~ “A friend loves at all times…”
Ecclesiastes 4:10 ~ “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”
Proverbs 27:17 ~ “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
Obviously friendship is important in our Christian lives. I have definitely found it difficult to grow friendships, and even more so in this stage of early parenting. Some things that are helping me…
- Remembering that God thinks it’s important.
- Remembering that to impact someone else – to have a close friendship – requires the walls to come down. We definitely need to be discerning about who we share with, but when we establish trust, then we should share openly with one another. One thing I’ve found that really builds closeness is praying together.
- Remembering that God made me who I am and honoring him by accepting myself the way I am. Acknowledging that and then working with it, praying and asking God to direct me is helpful.
- A friendship takes time. Even if you’re like me and feel challenged by that – it’s important to spend the time. Sometimes (given my tendencies above) I feel like I don’t want to do this – but when I force myself – I am always blessed by being with friends. For me, it has been important to schedule. If I don’t put it on the calendar, it doesn’t happen.
I really am thankful to God for giving me my friends (you know who you are!). They bless me in so many ways. Please know that – and know that if I don’t call you back right away, it’s not you – it’s me!!! Ha!