I’ve been a sucky (for lack of a more appropriate word) friend.


This post was not on my scheduled blog calendar, which by the way has been neglected altogether until June 1st, my last day of school. Man, I’m actually really going to miss those firsties I always complain about. 

Tonight, I was supposed to have the girls over for our Wild and Free book club, but many had texted me saying that something had come up and they wouldn’t be able to make it. I decided to reschedule it for another evening. Natalie, whom I’ve been friends with since high school and recently rekindled an even closer friendship with, invited me to join her at the Cubs baseball game. It sounded fun, but what about my lengthy to-do list? I should probably be productive. And write on that blog I’ve been neglecting… For whatever reason, I decided against my natural inclination and agreed to go with her.

I’m so glad I did.

Several months ago, I felt extremely convicted to prioritize RELATIONSHIPS over TO-DO lists. This might come easy for some people, but being who I am, it’s a struggle. I have been very intentional in choosing a coffee date with a friend, and leaving behind the ever-growing heap of laundry, over a completed to-do list. It’s been an unnatural choice every time, but I always walk away feeling at peace with my decision to invest my time and energy into a relationship over a pile of dirty clothes. 😉 My husband has been a huge encouragement when it comes to this area of my life. Let’s face it, he’s way cooler than me.

About one week ago, God really opened my eyes to something I didn’t want to face. He showed me that although I reach out to my friends often (usually via text) to “keep up” with them, I haven’t prioritized spending quality time with them in quite a while. I, of course, justified and defended myself by saying, “Well Lord, I have a husband now. And multiple jobs. And I’m finishing that book proposal. And we always have family stuff going on. And this is just a busy season.”

On Sunday, E and I ditched our phones to go canoeing and spend quality time together. We got into some super deep conversations. My favorite with him. Nonchalantly, E questioned, “You know what I’ve noticed about you recently babe?” Uh oh, I thought. “You love meeting new people and you enjoy that more than hanging out with your old friends it seems.” Yikes! Did I just get sucker-punched in the gut??? He didn’t mean to offend me, but let’s be real: he totally offended me! Then I realized that the reason this stirred up a little fire in me was because there was some truth to it. No, it’s not that I don’t like spending time with my old friends. That’s not true at all. However, I do experience a rush of glee each time I connect with someone new. I couldn’t tell you who my closest five friends are because “that’s just not how my friendships work,” I would explain. Sadly, I couldn’t tell you which 5 people I spend the most time with anymore. Aside from my husband, I scatter my time and sprinkle my presence among 15 to 20 different friends, each being quick coffee dates just to catch up from that last lukewarm latte chit-chat.

So where does this leave me? Why am I writing about this tonight? Am I worried that everyone’s opinion of me will change? 

I’m a broken, messed up, twisted, sinful girl who’s coming to grips with a new area of weakness in my life. An area that I am unable to share encouragement or the happy ending for just yet. What I know is that God is revealing what Satan tries to conceal. And although every part of me wants to wish it away or tuck it into my back pocket and seemingly forget about it, this needs to come out into the open. I’ve been a sucky friend because I’ve focused so much of my energy on networking and the excitement of new relationships, that I’ve forgotten how to be a friend.

I don’t want to be a friend to a multitude of people. I long to be the kind of friend I like to have. I want to be a friend who knows what’s going on in your life. I want to be a friend who pops by randomly and welcomes you in when you drop by unexpectedly. I want to be a friend who you can share your most intimate struggles and secrets with. I want to be a friend who you can watch reality TV shows and binge eat Ben & Jerry’s with. I want to be a friend who, no matter how far apart we live, you call up when you’re bored, or excited about something, or for no reason at all. I want to be more like Jesus; but Jesus had only 12 close friends, not thousands.

Jesus, I thank you for exposing my flaws and shortcomings and nudging me to share them with others. You’re always a breathe of fresh air. Forgive me for trying to do so much of this life without you. I ask that you’d soften the hearts of my friends and show them how you’re at work within me. Help me to be more like you. Help me to balance my time and energy when it comes to relationships. Help me to discern when it’s best to say yes and no. I believe that you’re going to show me a better way. I am confident that your ways are higher than my own. Thank you for new mercies every morning. You’re the best example of the friend I desire to become. Amen. 

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13 comments

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Have you ever read the book “Love Does” by Bob Goff? I just read it! Amazing!! He tells you why you should be THAT friend to everyone! It opened my eyes and shied me the chance I have to be that friend to so many people!! Love will change the world, one person at a time! 😘

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I sure have. 🙂 That’s a great read! Thanks for your comment, Aleta.

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So good, friend. So. Good. The Lord has worked on my heart in a similar way over the past months and my heart has been humbled and so encouraged as He’s helped me grow! Though, honestly, I feel like this area of life is a bit of a hamster wheel area of growth for me. Still, He has worked and I am so thankful, and, wonderful comfort, I know He will never cease working and refining!
So encouraged by your raw vulnerability, your humility to share what He is revealing to you. Thank you for sharing this. I will truly pray for you in this! And I so treasure your beautiful testimony.

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Jenny, I totally get that! I’m glad this post resonated with you in some way. It was probably harder to share this post than any other particularly because I’m NOT on the other side yet. And I’m sure this will be a continual thing I have to work at and remember, especially if the blog continues to grow and new people are consistently crossing my path. I appreciate your prayers!

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Oh, I totally understand! Pushing “publish” on a post that shares something you are in the midst of is so hard. I remember one post I shared a couple years ago about why I decided to get off Facebook and I was beyond nervous and re-read it about 1,000 times. But it is amazing to see how the Lord uses it, in our hearts and in others! Whenever I read a post like this one you shared, where someone just pours out their hearts and thoughts right in the middle of a revealing time, I am so encouraged by the raw realness and thankful to know I’m not alone and encouraged to continue growing in that same openness. SO neat to see how the Lord is using you!

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Re-reading a post 1,000 times haha -been there, done that! Also, I couldn’t find a way to subscribe to your blog. Is there a way? Let me know, otherwise I’ll continue to follow through Insta. 🙂

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Manda, I resonate strongly with your post, in that prioritizing relationships over productivity is an ongoing battle! I even realized yesterday that I have been prioritizing living an effective life for God’s Kingdom over an intimate relationship with Christ. Friendships are so hard for me because relationship in and of itself isn’t measurable. I want my progress and fruitfulness to be measurable, not some vague trust that relationship is the most fruitful thing I can do. *Sigh.* Praying for you and for myself, girl!

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“…an effective life for God’s kingdom over an intimate relationship with Christ.” – ALL the praise hands for you recognizing it and putting into words a direction that I saw myself going at one point, too. Thank you for reading and sharing how you and I are, once again, so much alike. Ps. Gladly accepting your prayers & keeping you in mine today specifically! XO

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I think this is a wonderful post. It really made me stop and think/reflect. It made me uncomfortable, and that is why I find it to be so moving. I often feel very uncomfortable about how to spend my time. I recently turned down a camping trip with friends to manage the student outreach clinic. I also recently bought a plane ticket to visit one of my best friends in Seattle during my “vacation” block instead of signing up for an additional clinical rotation. I often feel I am pulled in multiple directions and don’t know which one to choose. I often end up feeling guilty no mater what one I do choose. Should I volunteer at the clinic? Should I invest time with my husband/family/close friends? Should I study? Should I read scripture? I often don’t know what serves others best or what serves God best. I guess in the end what I am trying to say is I still struggle with this too- especially with prioritizing relationships. And I often pray about it and talk to others about it and make the best decision I can at the time (or at least try to).
I sometimes think that talking too much about oneself is a poison. I think it can make us selfish and contributes to pride and sloth. But posts like this I find to be so necessary. They discuss real issues and help others to reflect and be better versions of themselves. They help us to understand one another and serve each other better. They help us to be vulnerable and kind.
Thank you for sharing. Sending prayers to you.

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Wow! Thank you so much for sharing, Melanie. I’m really glad to hear you found so much of this relatable and encouraging. I agree with everything you said as well. I very much appreciate you taking the time to read and comment, as well as your prayers. 🙂

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What a great post, Manda . . . it really hit home. Productivity vs. relationship. I often find myself choosing the former as well. Thank you for reminding us that we have a much higher calling through our relationships! Blessings!

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Natalie,

It’s taken me a long time to get to a place where I realized this, and it’s something I’ll have to continue working at intentionally. I’m glad you found it helpful! Have a wonderful week. 🙂

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Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back often!

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