Friendship is tricky, isn’t it?
This past week I received a message from one of you in this community. It read, “Suzie, I’m lonely and want friendship with other Christian women. I’m asking God to send a friend. Will you agree with me in that prayer?”
I was excited to pray with her, but we took it deeper as we chatted together. You see, God can send us a friend, but there’s a part we play as well. A friend isn’t something that we just gain; it’s what we become. Just in case you think this is something that has always been easy for me, let me set the record straight:
I used to hide if I saw someone coming in the grocery store, rather than say hello.
When I was younger I had friends, but those friendships changed and I didn’t know what to do about it.
I have had great friends, but kept a wall up.
I finally gave myself permission to not only cultivate friendships, but to be a good friend. I’m still working on it, and maybe that’s part of the plan. It means that I don’t take it for granted and I realize that friendship is often intentional rather than accidental.
[bctt tweet=”3 things that might get in the way of a great friendship #livingfreetogether https://wp.me/p4jbdw-4bl #vlog ” username=”suzanneeller”]
In today’s vlog, I share three things that can get in the way of friendship.
I’d love to hear what you have to say.
If you notice, I’m tucked away in a corner of the house. It’s not fancy and the lighting was a challenge, but it is what was available. I’m so glad you are tucked there with me today.
Suzie shared, “God is your needmeeter. No person can (or should) fill his shoes.”
Q: What is your response to that statement?
Q: What is one way to become a friend?
Q: Describe a time that someone was a good friend to you.
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But what can you do when your past has cause you social anxiety and fear in letting that wall down? I want friends, but have been hurt so many time all the way from childhood by “friends” with one traumatic experience that I can’t seem to knock down the wall I created to protect myself from others after that trauma. Have been praying about this especially this year, but haven’t really found a difference yet.
Jennifer, Joining you in prayer as you seek to breakdown the wall created from past hurts and seek God to bring Godly friends into your life. I understand this delemna to want friends but fear being hurt again at the same time. I’ve lived this too. Truth is, we are all flesh and blood and at some time we will each fall short but as we lean into Jesus how we think and act will change. Suzie’s books The Unburdened Heart and The Mended Heart would definitely help to get past the past hurts that have built this wall of protection and open your heart for new, fresh friendships.
Hi how are you doing today
Jennifer, thank you for asking this. I don’t want to give you a pat answer, because I haven’t walked in your shoes. Yet I do know hurt. I do know what it is to go through trauma. I learned that God didn’t want me to live isolated or behind a wall. I can only share my experience with you, and this is what he taught me. That letting down my walls was a step toward freedom. It didn’t mean that I let anyone into my heart or that inner circle, but that I was open to it. If someone was hurtful, then I didn’t build a wall, but I did have boundaries. Healthy boundaries that kept me safe, and allowed us to have as healthy as a relationship as possible.
I also didn’t put pressure on a friendship to make up for the past hurts of another person. It was a fresh slate each time. I could be me. They could be them. No past tangles or baggage in those new relationships.
May I add to this a book recommendation? Lisa-Jo Baker struggled with friendship and vulnerability, and out of that struggle came the book Never Unfriended. It’s a game changer. Check out the (in)courage website for links to all kinds of info about the book.
We always love book recommendations in this community. Thank you, Michele!
We have to guard our hearts because our friends are not God, not permanent. Are not all wise. . But they can addd sweetness to your life. They’re definitely worth.
Suzie, your vlog blessed me today, as I prepare for She Speaks. God is telling me I need to reach out to others in friendship, rather than waiting for people to approach me at the conference. He is stretching me beyond my comfort zone, but I know he will reward me for seeking out new friends while I’m there. Can’t wait to see you in NC!
There will be someone who God will place in your path at the conference, Sarah. I’ve learned to be alert to those gentle tugs that show me who, and what to do. I love that you are stretching beyond your comfort zone. That is where growth takes place. : )
Hi Sarah, It is Michele O’Leary, and I so understand your emotions. Last year was my first year to attend She Speaks. I felt so much like an outsider looking into this ballroom of writer beauties, and I didn’t fit in. God’s faithfulness showed up and calmed my emotions of insecurity and shyness. He placed two precious friends in my path. I prayed and prayed for months before SS, and He surpassed my heart’s longing and desire.
Sarah, I am attending SS again this year and would love to meet you.
I’ve depended on others for my happiness and this is something I’m learning to change. It’s still hard for me to reach out to others because of insecurities even though I’ve prayed for more Christian friends and seeking a mentor. This is also something I’m learning to change. Thank you Suzie for this and I love key lime pie.
Joining you in prayer for Godly friends and a mentor Jem-wish we lived closer because I know we would not only be FB friends but face to face friends 😄
Yet you are still reaching. That’s faith! That’s bravery. Cheering you on, Jem!
Thank you Suzie. I grew up with three big things that prevented me from making and sustaining friendships. First, my dad was like Dr Jekyll and My Hyde. I never new from minute to minute what his mood would be. It was both frightening and embarrassing so I never wanted anyone to come over to our house. The second thing is that because my mom needed to work and she worked the second shift both my younger sister, Nina, and I had grown up responsibilities from the ages of 11 and 13 respectively. When we should have been out building friendships we were taking care of my infant brother-from picking him up from the sitter to feeding, bathing, entertaining and putting him to bed , making dinner, cleaning the house-and when we were done we got to do our homework. There was no time for real friends. The third thing is, for whatever reason, I was the last one picked. If no one else was available they would call me to join in. It’s not a good feeling to know someone had tried everyone else and finally settled on me because I was the only one available. Everyone I knew had stay at home mom’s so they didn’t understand. I’m 61 and still struggle with knowing how to be a friend and how to have friends. The struggle is so real but I must say at this stage in my life Jesus is my best friend and I get great peace knowing I can just be me with him and he loves me unconditionally.
Nancy, when I consider friend material I consider you one of the best. Perhaps all of the past stuff that the enemy meant for harm has made you a great friend today. You are sensitive to others, and kind. : )
Nancy, I admire your heart, and I love calling you my friend.
My son has tendencies to demand friendship rather than earn it. I am constantly quoting to him, ” A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly.” Literally since he could talk he has been quoting that verse back to me every time he acts unfriendly. He desires friendship so badly but forgets that people won’t want to be his friend unless he is friendly first! Thanks for this post!
Suzie, I love this convo today! I am guilty of having put too much pressure on friendships before. I’ve also been the “victim” of others putting far too much pressure on their friendship with me. It’s hard to find balance when we live in such a confusing world. This goes back to the why it’s so important to keep God as our need-meeter… He’s the only one capable of being who and what we need… always!
I take making friends for granted, yet I’ve had my own challenges through the years – and each one reminds me that God is my constant and main need-meeter. I think we need to give ourselves permission to allow friendships to ebb and flow on occasion – as in all good things, to not grasp too tightly, to trust God with the processing, and recognize where God is making changes in us (me) as I mellow and love as He would have me to. Thanks, Suzie.
The ebb and flow process is so important. That says that we treasure our friendships enough to allow them breathing room. Love this!
When I remarried I moved away from my life long home to a small community about an hour away from the friends I had. I have lived here 17 years and don’t have a “best friend”. I have woman at church that I am in choir with, ladies aid and a singing group but it seems like once you get to your 40-50’s friendships have already been established. I work for a chiropractor and it is just him and I so there is no chance there of even having a co-worker as a woman friend. I know that God is my all in all but it is hard when you don’t have friends that you can talk to about “the messy ” stuff with.
Lord, thank you for such an honest conversation. Thank you that Vickie has a great deal to offer, and there are others who are seeking friendships that feel the same way (and haven’t shared it). If that person is close, show Vickie who she is. She isn’t looking for anyone to fill a gap, because you are her everything, but just someone to share the messy stuff with. : ) Thank you, Lord, for showing her how to fill this desire of her heart, in Jesus’ name.
I am a person who would do absolutely do anything for you love you be there when good and horrible when you need help. make dinners hug you . do your laundry take care of you and family I would tell you everything never keep secrets or gossip ever let anyone hurt you talk bad about you. i stick up for you protect you love you who i have always been. but I thought certain people were my friends different times in my life they let me down and I found out hard way they just people worked with no one was really was ever your friend . except few one who care about me I loved SJU she past away Mary cancer.I stopped trusting people believing people cared about you. haven’t had friend really long time except when I was younger just a very few when I grew up . few navy wives that we helped each other but once we moved away from each other friendships lost touch with we never talked. again they were friends us few navy wives wouldn’t let anyone ever harm you.
they would love you tell you everything even when hurt really bad inside love you be there we took care of each other when husband were away helped each other took care each other helped each other good and bad times.
Suzie you were nice me talked me understood what I was trying say about Holy Spirit
when couldn’t explain things , I know God knows Proverbs ministry
spend my time with Lord
Brenda, it’s so hard when friendships don’t work out the way we hope, or when you lose a friend. That’s really difficult. Praying for you today. Thankful that you shared this!
wrote this really thought believed God would give me another friend that would love me
the friend lost Mary 2012 told me need someone take care of me and protect me before she past away
He gave me a kind person who reached out me who was you
Thank you for speaking on friendship issue. I’ve reached out to sisters n got nothing back. One didn’t respond but wrote blog on my question leaving me so lost n disappointed; another didn’t remember my name n was silent; third was too busy so it all sounds good but not real. I’m done trying but appreciate the information. Everyone is busy. I get it but I always respond when others reach out to me. I’m over thinking anyone truly cares. Good job at proverbs 31. It’s life n it’s to be painful n hard so we appreciate heaven.
I understand and have been right there with you (and still am), B. Please know that regardless of how people have failed you or fallen short, God loves you and is able to fill all of those gaps. I know how lonely it is, and how frustrating. I truly do. You are NOT alone. I will be praying that God will encourage your heart. xoxoxo
People fail n fall short. Perhaps it’s just time to stop seeking promises It’s just life. People pretend n do a good show.
People do fail. We fail.
Giving ourselves permission to have a friend, and be a friend is a bigger step of faith for some than it is others. It was for me, but it’s paid off. Have there been disappointments? Yes. Have I disappointed others. I hope not, but there’s a good chance I have. Yet I’ve learned to rest in this. Not to put a ton of pressure on it. To look for the positive, and allow hope a little more space in my head than the protective side that says, “Don’t take that risk.”
I’m so thankful you are sharing your thoughts, and allowing us to hear what you have to say on this. It matters.
I don’t know if you will see this because this vlog is from yesterday. But I could use some prayer for friendships, so could our kids. Due to situations and things that happened when I was young child I have had a hard time making friends and keeping friends. I often feel like an outsider, and I’m not sure why. God is my everything, He has healed me of bipolar and depression and is still working healing in me! So I believe I will get to the point where I can and will have good friendships… but the waiting is hard. And what makes it harder for me is that my kids have a hard time connecting too. And that breaks my heart. I’ve been praying for godly friends, best friends, for both of our children for the last 3 years and still they struggle. Would you please pray for us? Thank you so much!! I always enjoy reading your blogs and Proverbs 31 devotionals! Have a blessed day!
We will absolutely be praying for you, Jenny! We can’t always see all the work God is doing, but we can be CERTAIN that He is planning good things for us, to bless our lives and draw us closer to Him and to others. I feel a lot of what you do. When you wrote, “best friends,” it really struck me because that’s something God has been making me think about lately — my need for a “best” friend and my tendency to want everyone to be a best friend. So if I could just give you the same things He’s put on my heart, I would just encourage you to not put that pressure on yourself, or people brought into your life. Rest in each contact, each acquaintance, each friendship – and just try to treasure each one no matter how close you become. I’m also learning to focus more on what I bring to a relationship, and that’s really changed my heart. You are in our prayers! xoxoxo
Thanks, Jenny, for trusting us to pray with you.
Lord, you are doing an incredible work in your daughter. She’s holding open her heart and hands for a friend. Not a perfect person, or someone to fill the gaps in her life, but just a friend to get to know. Thank you that Jenny has so much to offer. Thank you that she has everything she needs to be a friend, and that there is someone out there who desires a friend as well. I pray for these children that they’ll feel so safe in your love, and that you’ll help them make friendships that are healthy and fun. In Jesus’ name, amen.