I won’t pretend that community and friendship are easy for me. There is something so safe and unassuming about the internet that might make you think that my social media engagement skills translate smoothly into real life.
I’m awkward and awful at small talk. I don’t know where to look, and I always over-analyze what I say after I say it. After a full day of being with people, my brain starts to shut down, my eyes glaze over, and I struggle to focus. It’s not a good look. Think fish out of water gasping for air and hoping her cute earrings distract from the feelings of “overwhelmed” and “under-qualified” that are racing through her head.
Because I also wear my thoughts and feelings on my face, like a transparent veil into my heart.
While I admire and respect women who thrive on constant engagement and interaction with others, I’m starting to understand more clearly that God made me just a little bit differently. He’s given me the desire to connect on a wide scale through the work that I do online, and the passion to invest in a small circle of real life friends.
- The ones who don’t care about or even necessarily always understand my job.
- The friends who know my heart and my intentions well enough to pray me through a course-correction when I need one.
- The women who love me enough to celebrate with me, cry with me, or make me laugh when I need to lighten up.
These are friends who desire to be FOR me – not to be me.
And while I might know and have access to a lot of people online, there are a very few, very select number in that inner circle who I trust and confide in. Because being for someone is much, much different than wanting to be them. Being for someone means that you are confident enough in who God made you that you have no agenda for your relationship with the other person, other than to live in healthy friendship and love them.
Wanting to be someone brings jealousy and discontent, disappointment and misunderstanding. Your motivation for engagement is “what’s in it for me,” while being FOR someone leads with “how can I love them well?”
God has created us all for relationship, but He’s never promised us that it would be easy. It takes work. In fact, did you know that origin of the word “relationship” means:
- Relation: a connection between one person and another
- -ship: denoting a craft or skill
Building healthy community and trustworthy friendships means that you invest time, intention, and resources into developing the skill to connect with one another. It takes work – and it means surrounding yourself with women you can learn from, like a friendship-apprentice. That type of investment also means that you might need to narrow your focus and prayerfully consider who God has put in front of you, and who He’s asking you to bring into your inner circle, because you are a limited and valuable resource.
Be FOR others.
Make the investment.