The weight of failed friendships over the years still seems to roar its ugly head at me; painful percussion effects from loss and betrayal that at times feels too great a burden to bear.
Over the past few years, I have untangled the deeper understanding of this issue I’ve wrestled with: the loss of love or connection from a close friend which triggers painful wounds in my soul. This untangling process has given me more awareness of the Enemy’s lies I’ve believed that aid in exasperating those stings of past betrayals.
However, regardless of how much I’ve sorted out the lies from the truths, there often lies a hanging sadness in my heart when I feel others “pull away” from me.
Sometimes these failed friendships were intentional, other times not.
Sometimes it was done by both parties, other times not.
My heart wants to recoil every time I experience a severing of a friendship, especially if I strongly desired to keep the friendship alive. I want to retreat back into my shell, insulating my pain, damaging myself further by this isolating approach preventing further growth of my relationships with current friends.
I end up withholding love and intimacy from those I care about most—in turn wounding them as I pull away from the friendship.
It creates a catch-22 as I desperately feel the need for my female friendships, yet I recoil from other’s pursuits of me as I struggle with this inward feeling that I am not deserving of their friendship. I begin to feel like the little girl in school who didn’t get invited to her best friend’s birthday party, or at least whom I assumed was my best friend. It becomes a “popularity” contest all over again, which I thought I was well past, now that I’m in my 30’s.
It’s a difficult phenomenon to explain.
There’s a pull at me on both sides: one side recoiling and retracting from intimacy, the other side desperately seeking to cultivate connection and intimacy with others. One part of me wants to pursue friendships from others, while the other part of me desires to be the one pursued before I place effort into a friendship that may end bitterly.
Looking at the bigger picture, I realize I haven’t been the greatest friend at times.
Sometimes it’s been no fault of my own. For example, the recent chronic illnesses of my children and family has created by default a quarantine on us for several months now. Friendships become strained during this time when my focus is set on increasing the health of my family while avoiding others to prevent them from getting the flu bug themselves. However, this inevitably feeds into my insecurities: that I’m not significant or worthy enough to be one’s friend.
There are some things however that I do have control over when it comes to investing in friendships – TIME.
I have failed recently at carving away time to invest into others for both current and new relationships.
Yes I am a busy woman with a huge list of To-Do’s (which I recently realized will never get completed), a mother, wife, clinician, writer/blogger, ministry leader, and other passions and pursuits that take up the remaining bits of precious minutes I’ve sorted out in a 24 hour period. Yet if I am not investing into my friendships, or making time available to invest into others in general, I am doing myself a disservice.
WE WERE BUILT TO BE RELATIONAL.
God designed us to never be alone. He created Man, but then realized it wasn’t good for man to be alone. So he created Woman! Woman has never known anything else other than being in relationship –with Adam and with God. Even Adam, who still had a relationship with the Creator of the Universe, needed Woman (you would think we wouldn’t need anything or anyone else besides God—yet God clearly suggests our need for relationship with others). Look it up, it says it right there in Genesis! We were never meant to be alone.
WE WERE DESIGNED WITH A PURPOSE.
I have searched for my significance and purpose in others, likely unbeknownst to them, but with detrimental effects to myself. No longer am I letting myself become a slave to the Enemy’s lies that I am not significant enough to be worthy of deeper friendships, not significant enough to pursue the gifting’s I believe God’s called me to, not significant enough to be simply…enough.
I AM ENOUGH THROUGH JESUS.
I am finding out more and more these days how much I rely on positive, established relationships with others to help fuel my energy, fill my heart, and find my purpose in life. I am also finding more and more how risky this can be when I open up to others, giving out my heart, loving on those around me.
The risk lies in the way others handle my open heart; how my love is received.
Yet I’ve decided to risk getting my heart squished on multiple times because it means being a light and blessing to others who are desperately needing a connection from a friend. The only way I am able to risk this without continued loss of my own heart is knowing where my true heart is established in – the Love of the Creator.
God tells us to love others as HE has loved us.
- God loves us unconditionally, purely, and without end. He is the only one capable of such love.
I’m learning to adhere more of God’s truths on my soul rather than allowing the lies of the Enemy to leach onto me. I’m beginning to truly understand the spiritual battles that rage around me—one side seeking to destroy me while the other sides seeking to restore me! I know to risk loving others freely gains the benefits of Relationship, Oneness, Gratification, Joy, Intimacy, Purpose… these gifts strongly outweigh the risks of never loving at all.