Cultivating Friendship

Do you know that you are valuable and loved? My heart has been thinking so much about how each of us longs to know and be known. We just want to be seen and accepted for who we are, where we are at. We come with our baggage of the past, the mess of today, and the worries about tomorrow. We have wounds that have yet to heal amidst the joy that we long to share with others. We come with stretch marks, extra pounds, acne, and morning breath and we just long to be loved without having to be perfect, without having to clean it all up. We yearn for a friend who will sit with us, hear our story, and love us anyway. Can you resonate with this? 

In my life, I have longed for deep, authentic relationships. I have so wanted to just be real with others and not have them look at me like I have two heads and run off in the other direction. I prayed for these relationships and you know what… it felt like God didn't hear me. That is when I became intentional. I looked around me at the people I was surrounded by and I said to myself, where are others who are seeking the same thing?

It has taken some trial and error to find those who genuinely want to swim in the deep with me, but I am blessed beyond measure to have a handful of faithful friends who really know me, who really see me, and who in spite of all of the junk, they love me. We can share our fears together and offer encouragement. We listen to one another’s heart without judgement and therein, find refuge for our souls. I had prayed for these relationships and expected them to come to me and when they didn't, I assumed God did not hear my prayers. When in reality, these lovely souls had been a part of my life for a while but we had yet to get to know each other at a deeper level and once we did, it was like "Oh... there you are! You are what I have been praying for."

I want to encourage you today that if you find yourself longing for something more, be the first one to take the risk and be vulnerable. Reach out to that woman you admire, or to the friend who breathes life into you but you just cannot seem to meet up with on a regular basis. Tell them your longing. Say something like, “It is really on my heart to meet with others who desire to be vulnerable and real. I feel like you are someone who also seeks that. Would you like to join me for coffee once a week (once a month… whatever works for you) just to meet and talk about what is on our hearts?” I know this is scary and there is a very real possibility for rejection however, there is also a very real opportunity for connection. There is an opportunity for newly formed friendships that go beyond the superficial and breathe life into you at a core level. The scary things in our life can actually become the most sacred if we are willing to be vulnerable and take the risk. I’ve been learning this valuable wisdom from the amazing Leanna Tankersly, you can pick up her book here.

As you begin to form new relationships that edify and uplift, I would also like to encourage you to assess your current relationships. Are these relationships life giving? Are you spending time with those who are most important to you? Often times I have found that I have allowed myself to be surrounded with people who are not life giving. In fact, rather than adding to… they take from. There can be a time for relationships such as these however, the majority of our time should not be spent with people who drain the life out of us. It is okay to stop and identify those people that are most important to us and then make sure we are making the time to invest in these relationships. Part of practicing self care is to cultivate friendships. Decide what it is that you want and then go find it in those around you. Invite them to share in something significant and special and watch as a gateway opens up. 
With love,