The Case for Community

For many years I have prayed for a best friend. I have had many close friends over the years, but because I have issues of trust and struggle with relationships, I have always felt that I didn’t fully connect with many of my friends over the years.

In the last 6-10 months, God answered my prayers. But not in the way I would have imagined or planned for myself. I had the honor of becoming best friends with the wife of my husband’s best friend – but not in person, through text messaging about our husbands (LOL).

In addition, I met a few of my other besties online – through The Influence Network. Like me, they are women who seek to deepen a relationship with God and to make Him known in every area of their lives.

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{My crazy friends. Love them!}

Most of my close/best friends do not live near me. Several I have never met in person. Awkward? Maybe. But am I blessed? You have no idea.

These friends are women I trust with my life. My deepest secrets. They are people I can vent to, who build me up and correct me when I am wrong. Like I stated earlier, one of my best friends is married to my husband’s best friend. We share life together and are bound together by a calling so big it scares us and excited us both tremendously!

Why are intimate friendships & community necessary? I believe Hebrews 10 states it perfectly – that we are blessed when others come to us with a need. It blesses us. And it propels us towards good work, towards helping others for His glory.

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{Another gem from the She Reads Truth study in Nehemiah}

Getting into relationships like this is not apart of a magic formula. You cannot sit around and wait for people to come to you. You must be vulnerable, reach out and connect with others, whether online or in your local community.

Reach out online. Set up coffee dates with people from your church or from your workplace. It is awkward at first, but is so worth it in the end. It took me many years to get here – and it has taken work on my part. (And I am still a work in progress!)

And don’t be surprised if friendships change over the years. People grow and seasons change, and people may come into and out of your life. Be blessed in the now and thankful for friends past, present and those to come.

Do you struggle with building friendships? What are some ways you can reach out to build new/deeper relationships??

Be blessed,

De-friended

politics

The presidential election last year revealed many negative aspect of social media. Never before had I witnessed such harassment and vitriol displayed online (and many of these folks claimed to be followers of Christ!). Being an avid user/lover of all things social media, I became disheartened in how it was being used as a tool to fight, judge and harass. This led me into a depression, with feelings of sadness and hopelessness. I had already been fighting this nagging feeling that I wasn’t valued and that I had no purpose, and then something else happened:

I began to see friends in my real life delete me on social media sites. (Presumably because we differed politically).

I saw other “real world” friends fight on Facebook and then delete each other.

And as any normal person might feel, I felt the singe of pain and hurt. I began to negatively over-analyze the situation and wonder to myself, “What did I do to deserve this? How did I hurt this person so badly, that they felt they needed to delete me?” When I would see these friends in public or at church, it felt as if our encounters were awkward. I struggled with what I should do next. Should I confront them and have a dialogue? Just pray about it ? Let it go? As the questions and frustrations built up, I decided to seek out counsel before making any hasty decisions.

To my surprise, my good friend and accountability partner Katie gave dispelled some sage-like wisdom regarding her take on the social media debacle:

“Just because I “defriend” you on Facebook does not mean that I defriend you in life. ” 

That really stuck with me. Maybe we place too much emphasis as a culture on what happens online. Perhaps we need to cling to Luke 6:27-29 when he says,

“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also.”

He goes on to say in verse 36,

“You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.”

So, maybe there was some drama on Facebook and it upset you. Maybe you were de-friended. Blocked. Whatever. God’s word is clear – whether hurt or not, we must show compassion and love to all.

Your first step is to forgive the person for the hurt caused to you. But  should I do anything beyond that?? My suggestion? Pray about what God wants you to do – whether it be to confront the person about the online issue or not. He will make it very evident to you.

forgive

Some social media etiquette suggestions:

  • If there is something you want to post and you’re not sure if it is appropriate to post online, then DON’T.
  • When posting on something that evokes debate, consider editing it before posting it. If you don’t want to start a debate on someone’s status, but still want to share your opinion, I highly suggest personally messaging that individual.
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