Ladies, why is it when we think about good friendships with other women we risk feeling so vulnerable?
There are times, especially during stress, when you feel like you’re living alone through several seasons, waiting for some real friends to be consistent in your life, to grow with you in intimate authenticity, and to reassure you it’s okay to fail and to say the wrong thing—that a caring heart will come beside you and filter out the best in you. Make sense? This is the kind of friendship we need in hard times—and any time! Through the years God may hold back some key relationships in your life, or even remove them from you, but with age and hindsight you will begin to see with clarity that God’s purpose was protecting you from the wrong people. It’s difficult to say but true.
Have you ever thought about letting God choose your friendships?
Our close girlfriends have a wonderfully profound and mysterious way of influencing our outlook on life, love, family, marriage, work, priorities and our values, and can reshape our personhood through their perspective in subtle, but pretty monumental ways.
How? Because we let down our guard and we trust them.
My favorite football coach, Lou Holtz, says our perspective is 90% of our capacity to get through life. And frankly, I agree with him. He also says you can divide people into two categories: builders or bashers.
Another source calls people replenishers or drainers. And for us as women, our choice of friendships during the good times or the absence of those friends during life’s trials can really impact or impede our emotional well-being. Let me add a third type of friend: the neutral friend—she doesn’t commit, is aloof or doesn’t care. But believe me, each of these types of friends are either healing you with a legacy of love or adding to hurt in your heart from disappointments.
Do you think your choice of women friendships is critical? Does your husband ever remark that your girlfriends are either good or bad for you?
With all we have going on, some weeks are tiring, overwhelming, isolating, and we feel discouraged and even defeated at times. Life can be hard and even though we anticipate those times, it doesn’t make it any easier. I am not good without girlfriends in my life, and some weeks I need an ally to remind me how to hunker down and practice the great art of coaching myself UP!
What do I mean? Somehow through the stress and the feeling that we’re going it alone, we forget the importance of being thankful in all situations and praising God no matter what. God doesn’t want us living life without girlfriends. Why? So that we can encourage one another when we are weary. So that we can pray for, support, reach out and nurture one another, and so that we don’t topple over from going it alone. This week I was thinking about those three kinds of friends that we as women naturally have in our lives: those replenishers, drainers and neutral friends.
God handpicked one girlfriend for me that consistently replenishes my spirit. She listens, I gush like a waterfall. I cry, she cries. And she shares in my joy and good days as well. Sometimes it’s not what a friend like this says in those times; it’s the fact that they care. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. I am hugged by this friend and reminded to say “YAY!” when life is at best, confusing—because God is still good.
When God chooses your friends while you’re in crisis they are generally the replenishers who rally you into a renewed belief to keep on going, cheering you on to keep fighting the battle on your knees, listening to God whisper your name in response to you crying out his name, confident in his strength alone because life’s stress comes in sizable waves of tsunami strength. And the only way through these battles is to maintain a positive, thankful, accepting perspective, latching onto God through them with a friend or two going shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart, by keeping our perspective on Christ while forging through together. There is strength in numbers!
Can you think of one friend in your life that is a 100% replenisher? Have you let God choose your friends?