When I was a little girl I wanted to be liked. I know that this probably does not come as a surprise or does it likely make me different than most any other little girl out there but I had a very unhealthy idea of what a friend should be. You see, I thrived at school. Most people at school did not know what I was hiding back at home. I was longing for friendships and relationships at the little elementary school down the road to feel loved and important and something permanent and just...stable, I guess. What was at home was scary and just horrible. I was the little girl that just longed to be popular; to have more than I had or ever really would have. I knew that I would have to eventually go back to that "world" at home when the bell dinged and the big yellow bus carried me back to my scary place, but for eight GOOD hours, I was in my zone. I was in my world. It was my created fantasy where I was the, for the most part, good child. I made good grades, I was happy, and I made friends easily. The problem was that I wanted to be friends with the popular girls.
I was awkward looking and I am sure that girls (kids in general) found me odd. I changed schools and came back and left so often that I am sure that they wondered why. Maybe they knew but I pretended in my head that they didn't. From first grade through the 8th grade, I left the same school and went back to it 17 different times! That's surely enough to make kids talk and wonder about me. I never wanted kids to come to my house, I never wanted my friends to meet my parents, and I distinctly remember in the first grade being INCREDIBLY embarrassed when my parents had to go to Open House. I cried all the way there. Surely I did not have anyone fooled. The secrets that I had at home probably weren't really secrets. I am sure someone was "on to" me.
I found myself wanting to be in the popular crowd my entire life. When I was in the 4th grade, I was in a combined 4/5th split class. I invited only 5th graders - the "popular" girls. The result....NO ONE CAME to my birthday party. I was crushed and even though that was 23 years ago, I will never forget it. I made some great friends after that time, but still, they were considered, the popular girls. I have always made friends easily but it hurts my heart to think that some of the "less popular" girls may have wanted to be my friends and I could have hurt their feelings by "shunning" them because they weren't who I wanted to be friends with. I am sure that likely happened.
Now that I am an adult, friendships are still a struggle for me. I struggle with discernment. It is not a gift that I possess. I don't trust easily...likely due to my past. I tend to have one or two best friends and may acquaintances. I hold many people at an "arm's length" especially if you have a reputation for hurting others or if I think you might hurt me. And, I don't hold grudges, but if our relationship has suffered, I will likely have a difficult time trusting you the way I once did. I am the type of person that needs closure for a situation. I need to hash things out and "tie a bow" around it then I am okay.
Right now I am struggling with friendships. I have several friends that I go to for advice or like to sit and talk with over coffee but no real best friend and I always have had a best friend. My best friends have both recently moved away and I am really missing that piece. I have prayed and prayed about this recently because my heart has really been heavy about it. I have really been thinking about what a true friend is. To me a real friend...a BEST friend is someone who lifts you up when you need lifted up, one that encourages, one that speaks highly of you even when you don't hear. A real friend is one that is not afraid to tell you the truth but sticks around to make sure you understand that it is because they love you and because they want you to grow and they stay to make sure you are okay...then they give you space...then check later to make sure you are okay! A real friend PRAYS for you diligently and knows just what you need when you need it. She encourages you as you struggles, rejoices when you rejoice, and is deeply sad when you are sad. She understands when you are upset but then brings you back to reality. She does not allow you to get caught up in the gossip but lets you vent when needed. She never lies to you and if she does, she comes back and tells you she is sorry. She is not afraid to admit when she has done something wrong. When she sees that something isn't right with you, she isn't afraid to confront you, lovingly. The thing is....I am not this kind of friend right now to anyone either. It takes one to know one.
I have recently revisited this book by Lisa Whelchel....it is such a good book. I am hoping that God will open my eyes through His Word, prayer and this book....
What God is showing me right now is...I need to rely on Him more and people less. Relationships are important but He is all I need. I am seeking God's guidance for deeper relationships in my life...will you pray with me?