Just look at their faces.
See those two women standing with me and Dr. C?
Beautiful, aren’t they?
Amy is a podcaster, an author, and speaks to women across the nation. Lynn is a bestselling author, and speaker.
If I listed their credentials only, it might cause some of you to shy away. . . because we do that. We look at each other and we think she’s so gifted, or smart, or beautiful. Or that person is such a world changer, they couldn’t possibly be my friend. Maybe you never do that, but there was a time I absolutely did and it paralyzed me when it came to making friends.
Which is exactly what the enemy wants.
He longs to isolate us. To keep each other at arms’s length. To keep us friendless, because it feels safer somehow.
There are a lot of reasons we struggle to maintain close friendships.
The fact that we live in a culture that prizes independence over connection might be one of them.
Being busy is another.
Being hurt by a friend might make us decide to be our own best friend.
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Comparison can also be a kicker.
Yet if we keep potential friends at a distance, what are we missing?
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
Four years ago, I was burned to a crisp in ministry. It wasn’t God’s fault. I was too stubborn to ask for help. I was too hyper focused to slow down — until one day I melted.
Lynn (pictured on the far right) and I were at the same event. She came to my room, and when she saw me in the bed, curled up in a ball, she somehow knew that I was carrying a 1000-lb. weight on my soul. She prayed with me. When I say “prayed,” I mean she called heaven down.
Two people were better than one that night. Amy, Lynn, and I have all stepped into that role at times. We’ve talked through difficult things. We’ve encouraged each other. We’ve been gut-honest. We’ve prayed, and we’ve laughed until we cried.
Should we care about friendship?
A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12
Friendship with other women makes us stronger. That’s why this girl who used to be really bad at friendship is calling women all over the world to stand shoulder to shoulder. We need each other. Now more than ever.
There was a time I wouldn’t have had the great friendships I do today. I would have gone the other way, not even giving those relationships a chance.
The enemy wants to keep us friendless, because it leaves us vulnerable.
So, let’s do the exact opposite. If you struggle with close friendships, ask God to help you break that wall down. In fact, let’s pray together right now.
Lord, the enemy desires to isolate us. To keep us at arm’s length. To imprison women behind perfect walls. We open our hearts to the possibility that together we are stronger, especially when you are at the center of the friendship. We won’t put impossible standards on those relationships, because only you fill the gaps in our heart. Give us the courage to say hello. To step out of our comfort zones. To link arms, and live our faith stronger with others. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Here’s a few things that helped me as I opened the door to strong friendships:
- Be yourself (if someone doesn’t care for you, someone else around the corner will)
- Get to know people before you shut them down (comparison kills; just don’t do it)
- Leave lots of room for grace (there are no perfect people, including you or me)
- Be intentional (Say hello. Reach out. Step outside your comfort zone)
Listen — just for you!
Do you feel comfortable carrying around old habits, or old behaviors? Maybe it’s like carrying around an old bucket of rusty tools. Listen to this encouragement from Suzie.
I’m so excited to share that we are going to do a 21 Invitations as We Walk With Jesus study in mid-October. Stay tuned!
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Suzie, I was a safety girl not too long ago but God has transformed my heart to see and trust others because of Him. Today, I can not imagine life without my gal pals. I would not be the girl I am today if God didn’t walk them into my life. Hugs to you, my friend. ❤️
Thank you Suzie. I’m not good at making friends at all! I pray this helps me.
Millie, Praying God will put a Godly friend in your path and that you will be a blessing to each other!!
Nobody likes me when I’m myself. I like being by myself but I’m so lonely. I’ve been constantly rejected for who I am. Who can love someone who is depressed, anxious, constantly skin picking, doesn’t know how and/or too afraid to communicate. Even people at church won’t be around me for very long. Can’t get in a small group let alone have anyone acknowledge me. Help me Lord!!!!!!
Praying for you, Laura. God sees you and loves you. I know others love you too. Open yourself up to His big love for you first. He is the One to never let you down. He created you and chose you to be here in this moment on history, for such a time as this! That blows my mind away to think of this fact. Praying that you will allow God to wrap His arms of love around you and you will know His love and will be able to step out of your comfort zone to meet others and seek counseling if you need to. Praying for you now. ♡
Lord, give Laura the courage and bravery it takes to go first. When she takes a baby step, Holy Spirit, back her up and help her, even as she is shaking in her core. Surprise her, Lord, with the joy of a friend. Amen
Oh Laura, just reading your words breaks my heart. I wish I could reach over the phone and give you a hug. I am sorry you have been made to feel that way.
This is what I know. You are precious in God’s eyes and He adores you. You are made in His own image and you are cut from His cloth. He sees you and loves you deeply.
Praying for you, Laura. I struggle with those feelings as well. Praying for God to gush you with his goodness, grace and love. Know you are loved.
Love this Suzie! Thank you so much for sharing – I have found this to be true for me.
Just the little bit I have gotten to know you, Julia, has made me wish we lived closer together! I can see – you have everything it takes to be a great friend!
I am praying this prayer wholeheartedly this morning. I have never been great at making friends. I have always been shy and have suffered my entire life due to having low self-esteem. I have always kept to myself but my soul longs for true, loyal friends who I conversate with, find encouragement from and give encouragement to.
You’re not alone, Amanda. I’ve also battled with shyness and a fear of opening myself up to people. I’ll be praying that the Lord will bring you friendships to enrich your life, and that you also will see what a beautiful and unique blessing you are to others. xoxoxo
Bless you, Amanda. I think you would make a very good friend!
I think my main thing is comparison! I mean, here I am, headed to aN amazing retreat with some big names! Ladies who write blog all the time, written books, speak, etc. I’m over here trying to homeschool and blog every once in a while. How I would love to write more and speak. I feel so little compared to these ladies I will be meeting with. Praying for refreshment
I’m headed to Suzie’s Come With Me retreat tomorrow! I hear you! I will pray that the Lord settles your heart, and gives you peace and refreshment. No expectations. No pressures. No comparisons. Just resting in the fullness of who you are in Christ Jesus, and the beauty of the individual parts of the body of Christ all working together as one for His glory and our joy. Have a wonderful time! xoxoxo
Looking forward to meeting you there!
Praying for you that God talk to your heart and feed you with grace and lobe. Believe that God has great plans for you and this community is standing with you.
Julie, You have been uniquely gifted by our amazing Abba Father and doing exactly what he has called you to do-I so admire home schooling moms! Praying you are able to put the comparison blinders on and see that we woman are all more alike than we are different!! May God richly bless you amd give you rest and refill you this weekend!!
I had a “friendship breakthrough” yesterday — I met with a fellow blogger who is vacationing in my state. First time I’ve ever broken the IRL barrier, and it was great!
This is such a good admonition and encouragement. Friendships can be challenging, messy, disappointing, terrifying, mystifying, marvelous, delightful, and more. My list includes positive terms and negative terms. Somehow as women I think we are often prone to have enough of the negative ones, that along with our endless tendency to compare ourselves to others, that we can give up, step back, and stop letting others know us as we are (not what we wish we were). Thanks, Suzie!! Important good stuff here!!
I love the way you list all the beautiful messy things friendship entails… so true isn’t it? Your words are so very poignant, friend. Thank you for sharing.
You brought me to tears, sweet friend! You gave me that push I needed to keep going when I wanted to quit this writing and speaking stuff and you’ve been there for me through my craziness the past couple of years. I am so grateful for you!
God’s timing is always amazing, isn’t it. Tomorrow I travel with four other ladies to a conference. We are rooming together, eating together, together for two days. I’m excited and scared at the same time, because I’ve been isolated for far too long, of my own doing, but also because of all that is swirling around me that I am responsible for. I’m looking forward to connecting and hearing from God, as well as strengthening the ties I have with these women. We are all different ages and in different stages of life, so I expect great conversations, along with great learning from the conference speakers.
This writing reminded me to be open, be gracious, and be joyful, because this weekend is a gift from God. There is no need to be fearful, He is already there.
Oh Kathy, I pray your time with your girlfriends and the Lord is so incredibly refreshing and filled with so much joy! He knows just what we need at just the right time, doesn’t He? It will be beautiful!
I loved your words both in writing and on the recording. I would not be where I am today without my friendships. I needed to be reminded to leave the old behind. I find it creeps back up. I struggle with asking for help and being too busy. I combat it by scheduling in time with friends on a weekly basis.
Hope you have a blessed weekend,
Praying for you!
It is very hard for me to make friends also. I have been hurt and bullied by a group of Christian women in the past and have given up trying to make friends. I fear rejection also. I feel invisible, like no one sees me or wants to know me. Pray for me. It hurts reading my own words.
I have a hard time making friends also. I have been hurt and quite frankly bullied by “Christian” women in the past. I fear rejection. I feel invisible. I want the right friends, because I have been hurt before.
I hear your heart and it’s brave to share this. I think where we get knocked down is if that one person, or that one group, somehow has enough power to identify us as unworthy of friendship, or keep us from making those overtures. Not everyone will like us. Not everyone is kind. Those are hard facts, aren’t they? I used to think that if someone didn’t like me, then I had messed up somehow. Later I learned that we just didn’t connect, or they were acquaintances rather than close friends. And I kept going, because around the corner would be someone who would be a good friend. When I met that next person, I didn’t want to carry the baggage from the last relationship that hurt me. I wanted to meet her without expectations to carry that baggage or have to prove herself because of someone else’s unkind or hurtful actions. It’s such a growing process.
I also love what Holley Gerth once told me about this. She said that she has a small fence around her, rather than walls. She opens the door for some to come in, and if they are hurtful or unkind, the fence is not thrown open wide.
Praying for healing. Praying for the hurt to be touched by the One who loves you best. Praying that you are a friend to someone else hoping to connect with an amazing person just like you.