What is keeping you from building deep friendships?
One of the key pillars of 4word is building connections between women. Authentic, supportive relationships with people who “get you” and can speak into your life in myriad ways. In fact I devoted an entire section of Work, Love, Pray to the nuts and bolts of forming a power prayer group (check out Chapter 14!). It’s something that I’m passionate about, because it has made such a crucial difference in my life. And it’s something that I talk about, a lot.
I meet overwhelming numbers of women who tell me that they feel desperately alone; disconnected from church, friends, and family.
I’ve been there!
And because I’ve been there, there’s a part of me that wants to scoop all these women up and bring them into my life; to show them what it looks like from the other side. Today, through 4word and God’s providence, I am relationship rich! I meet and connect and laugh with women every day. I’m living in a veritable flood of friendships that resonate with understanding and meaning. And I want so much to share the joy of that with every disconnected woman I meet.
What keeps us from building deep friendships?
Time. We’re all busy. Some of us are really REALLY busy. And one thing that building a friendship takes is time. It can feel overwhelming to think about building a friendship from “scratch.” I can’t give you more time in the day, but I can tell you that you probably do have more time than you think you do. I can also promise you that an investment in friendship will be more than worth it.
I read a few weeks ago about Dan Buettner, a best-selling author and researcher on the subject of human longevity. Buettner has spent years traveling the world and studying so-called “blue zones,” areas where people tend to live past 100 in high proportions relative to the rest of the world. His findings are fascinating for a lot of reasons, but what I found most remarkable was the huge impact of relationships. In every “Blue Zone” culture Buettner studied, there was a huge societal emphasis placed on relationships and connections. Large families tended to live together and to take care of each other. People felt deep association with their religious group or tribe. They felt connected and supported and loved, and their lives were better and considerably longer for it. After years of research, his primary takeaway is that friends, and building friendships, is “perhaps the most significant thing you can do to add more years to your life, and life to your years.”
Fear and insecurity. One of the reasons that people don’t tend to make time for new friends is that opening up to people is scary, even when you want and need to. Are you letting fear keep you from relationships?
What do I have to offer them? Do they really like me? Am I sharing too much? Am I being too needy?
Questions like these, whispered into the back of your mind, are tools that the Devil uses to separate us from the life-sustaining friendships our souls were created for. There comes a point in every friendship when you have to decide to just go for it. To trust in God’s good provision and get vulnerable with someone.
As my friend Sherry Surratt put it recently, “when I take the time to sit with someone and listen, it forces me to slow down and focus. Instead of begrudging the minutes, I need to look on the time as a holy investment. I’m sharing space with someone God deems his precious child, who has different opinions and perspectives to share with me.”
What do you have to lose?