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.