A little bit about myself…because, well, I share things (*wink)…I grew up as an Air Force brat. What that meant, was every 2-3 years we were moving some place new. That meant leaving behind everything I had gotten to know, leaving friends (if they hadn’t left already) and getting to know a new place in a hurry (because we weren’t going to be there long so make the most of it!) and get good at making friends.
When I was younger I got pretty good at making friends, mostly from school. I’m not a collector of friends, I prefer a few close ones and a lot of acquaintances. When the news came that we were going to be moving soon, one of two things started to happen. With the super close friends I wanted to stay in touch with, we started to practice writing letters, we made sure we had each other’s contact information or an alternative one that would some how make it’s way to each other until a permanent address could be forwarded, and we spent more time together…soaking up what time we had. Or, with the friends that I felt didn’t really want to stay in touch, I started to distance myself and they went off to find a new friend to connect to.
I’m still really good at doing both. If I really like you and I want you to stay in my life, I try to stay in touch or connect in some way occasionally. I’m still connected to my best friends from 4th-7th grade when we lived in England and North Dakota together. (I’m 36 now. You do the math.) I’ve gone through periods in my life when I isolated myself due to addiction and yet they still remained my friends and we picked back up, made up and caught up. We got to know each other again and remained friends.
On the flip side, I’ve also gotten really good at distancing myself. When I’m ashamed of the way I’ve acted and feared I’ve ruined a friendship, when I know someone is about to leave, when I know someone is about to die even (which sounds horrible), I start to put an invisible barrier up around my heart in order to protect it from breaking when we do finally part ways. Having moved and left so many things behind in my life, I don’t have much to hold on to or call my own except my friendships and my memories. When it comes to losing or damaging friendships though, I get scared and start to pull away. It’s my coping mechanism.
Normally, it could be a healthy thing. However, as I got older I also start to realize that I do it when I shouldn’t and not in a healthy way. I try to make people hate me because I’m scared. I try to make them leave, just to prove that I was right…that they didn’t really want to stay. I try to make it “easy” on them, but in reality I’m only making it worse. Sometimes a LOT worse! All because of my own insecurities and fears.
Recently, a friend of mine noticed my distance and confronted me about it. We talked a good while and I confessed why I had been distant. Funny thing about true friendships…they don’t scare away so easily. They actually love you and want to be a part of your life. They forgive you and you work through things. They take you for you good side and your awful side. Needless to say I am so incredibly thankful to have made the couple of close friends that I have now! I can be completely open and honest with them and they with me. We have a shared understanding and we try to be there for each other, no matter what the other one of us is going through.
We also have a common friend which strengthens us that much more. Jesus is and should be your ultimate friend. He will never lead you wrong, He will always give you sound advice, He’s supportive when you need strength and He’ll give it to you straight when you need a swift kick in the butt. He’ll never suggest you do something that is immoral or questionable and He will help you feel more loved and appreciated than anyone else ever could!
I am eternally grateful for ALL of the friends who have come into my life (to include acquaintances), and I am completely lost in the times when I feel I don’t have a close friend to talk to or be with. I am so thankful to have my two closest friends near by and that we get to see each other often. However, I am most grateful for the friend that I have found in Jesus and the relationship that him and I have been growing over this past year. Without him I would still be lost, literally.
Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house. When the Almighty was still with me and my children were around me, when my path was drenched with cream and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil. Job 29:4-6
Job was also pretty good at distancing himself. He would consume himself with his depression and he would isolate himself from God and from his true friends. However, it was his closest friends that came to be with him and to encourage him. Don’t do what Job did or what I’ve done. Treasure your closest friendships. Make friends that try to walk after Jesus so that they won’t lead you astray and enable your wrong or unhealthy choices. Don’t give in to your insecurities and test your friendships. They chose you and are still there for a reason. Allow them to be your friend and allow God to work through them for your betterment.Tags: Caring, change, faith, forgiveness, Friends, Friendship, God, Hardship, Insecurities, Jesus, Kindness, Love, Loyalty, Patience, Troubles, Trust, Truth
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