Have you ever wanted something but didn’t know how to get it? The boy. The body. The job. The look.
I think girlfriends also fall into this category. Friendship is a desire born deep down inside but with the skill to acquire not so naturally assumed.
My girlfriend journey has taken many twists and turns, and along the way I am gratefully learning a few things:
1. In order to have a healthy friend, you need to be a healthy person.
2. Be selective in your choosing. Just because a girl is available and willing, doesn’t mean she would make a good friend for you.
3. Give love and live small to your friend.
It’s easy to enter into a friendship and think of all the benefits that YOU will receive: a listening ear, someone to do things with, source for free advice, significance, and validation.
Instead of these self-driven motivations, think of ways that YOU can give by listening and responding in selfless love: taking care of her kids for the afternoon or dropping by with a Starbucks Latte to spruce up her day or a simple “how are you?” followed by a patient silence.
4. Live small and share yourself.
This is perhaps the HARDEST one for me. I can give and listen and respond and keep focus on YOU. I feel safer there. But to turn attention onto ME is scary. It’s vulnerable. I’m exposed. It’s challenging to share and reveal and open up. So either out of pride of what you will think of me or fear that you won’t remain true to me,
I insulate myself and won’t let you in.
I bounce back questions and deflect attention off of me onto you. I may look like a great conversationalist, but really I’m just scared. The friends that I long for will never truly know me, because I won’t ever really let them in.
I’m learning to live small. I’m learning…
the blessing of friendship,
the value of vulnerability,
the joy of openness,
and the benefit of exposure.
And too, the wisdom in staying alert and sensitive in when to speak and what to say and who to share what with. Freedom and joy comes when I don’t insulate myself from relationships that are wisely within my very reach with healthy, compassionate, gracious people.
God has BLESSED me with over-the-top, tried-and-true girlfriends that live small and give free love to me in colorful and bountiful ways. In order to experience the full gift of girlfriends, I must be willing to live small, open up, and share myself.
Click here for more posts in this series.