When I first started writing this out, I had intentions of only sharing a portion of my heart. Little did I know that the more I prayed on the subject, the more I felt an intense pull to share more, dig deeper, and beam truth to you. So here it goes- week one of five. Sharing my truth and lessons I've learned along the way in hopes of rallying around each other, trying harder, supporting one another, and showing up when it's not easy or convenient.
So, sweet friend, I want to ask you a question.
Why are you here?
Are you reading this because you want to know how to be a better friend? Orrrrrr are you here because you don't feel like you are being served in your friendship? Orrrrrrr is it possible you were just curious what I had to ramble about today...?
Well let me start by saying- I cannot give you a secret recipe on how to be a better friend. I can, however, help you navigate those friendships and relationships that are either filling your cup or leaving you empty.
You get out what you put in.
Let's talk a little more on that, shall we? I think when I first heard that phrase, I didn't understand the depth of it. It was not until a conversation I had a while back that made me realize I wasn't being the friend that I could be. I remember I was talking nonstop, about myself and whatever I had going on, and when I was driving home it completely hit me like bricks. I didn't once ask her how she was feeling about XYZ. I was being selfish. The next time I spoke to her I had to make it a point to focus solely on where she was at, what was on her heart, and being present with her so she knew she was cared for and loved. You get out what you put in. I genuinely believe your cup will be filled when you do things with intention.
You have to be intentional in your friendships. Show up.
It's not easy. I totally understand that life gets in the way. We are all busy, but to be completely blunt with you, we all have the same twenty-four hours. Take a minute to call your friend who you know is having a hard time. Ask her if you can do anything to help- and MEAN IT. If I had a dollar for how many times I have had to straight up tell a girlfriend, "No- tell me what you need me to do" because they were being too prideful to ask for help... let's just say I could probably buy all of you a coffee.
Because when we are intentional with others, they are intentional with you. Take the time to care for your friendships and water them so that they can continue to bloom. Look them in the eyes when you speak to them. Listen to them. Sympathize with them. Lend a hand. Put down the phone. Be present with them. Speak life into them. Leave them better than you found them.
However, we do live in a world that values social media over practically everything else. I think sometimes that puts a huge strain in our friendships- especially our female ones. We are constantly comparing, constantly coveting, constantly wondering why we don't have what someone else does or why we don't look the same as this other girl. We live in a world that is telling us on repeat to not love ourselves unless we look or dress a certain way, which is absolutely mind-numbing. I say that loudly because a few years ago, that was me. I was so caught up in my own head, my own brokenness, my own self-love issues, that I couldn't be bothered to hold on to those friendships. So how could I be present or love my community of women if I didn't even really love myself?
I didn't know who I was- and more importantly- I didn't know WHOSE I was. Therefore, I lacked that self-love and love for others because I needed to be reminded who loved me FIRST.
That was the big game changer for me. I will never forget the first time a girlfriend asked if she could pray with me. Yes, I absolutely had a relationship with Jesus. At least I thought I did at the time. Praying was always easy to do over a meal or before bed, but having someone hear my strife and ask if she could just pray with me... that shook me to my core. I remember this day fondly because she truly showed me Jesus in those minutes. Feeling that sense of peace, comfort, and lifting was enough to make me wake up and see that I was missing something in a big way. I wasn't letting Him guide the way. She was intentional with me as she allowed Him to give her the words to say to my heart.
Ever since that day, if there is a conversation being shared that is heavy and burdened, I always make it a point to ask if I can simply pray with them. Yes, sometimes it is awkward and a little uncomfortable at first, but there is always this sense of peace after. Knowing He has control over our paths makes the road much easier to walk, even when it is muddy and sometimes super foggy. BUT I believe that is why these friendships are so important. They make the road easier. They make the walk lighter. They lift the load. They put you back on your feet. They give back what they get from you.
If they aren't, then maybe it is time to reevaluate your role in their lives. Yes, we are human, therefore imperfect and have issues. If they vent to you and lay their hearts down, do you listen? Do you try and understand or only listen to respond? Do you relate to their feelings?
Orrrrrrrrrr when the conversation ends each time do you feel heavier, or that you're being emptied? Is your well constantly dry? Are their intentions with you selfish? If the answer is yes, then you don't owe it to them to stand still. You should be the door that welcomes life in, not the doormat that gets life stomped out. If you're the doormat for that person, you don't stay. I'm here to remind you that you are worthy of love, of solid, supporting community, and don't settle for less.
If you're a good friend, you DESERVE good friends in return.
I encourage you today to dig deeper with yourself and ask if your friendships are indeed serving you. Are you serving them? How can we be better friends to those we love? Let's make it a point this week to be more mindful of being present with those we love and more intentional with the life we speak into them.
Until next week!