I confess. I had a pity party this week. We’re talking a tantrum with tears … the whole nine yards. I’ve been feeling pretty bummed lately, because it seems like I don’t have many friends. I’m a stay-at-home mom with a little kid who doesn’t have much time for lattes and shopping trips between diaper changes and nap times. Plus my summer schedule has kept me on the road for weeks and hasn’t left any time for friendship. So on a day I was feeling particularly lonely and isolated, I let myself fall into a pretty deep funk. When my hubby asked what was wrong, I wailed, "I don’t have any friends!"
Most of you are in circumstances that are totally different from mine. I doubt you are feeling the isolation that most young mommies feel, but I bet you’ve had a pity party or two related to the issue of friends. You may have even felt like I did-that you didn’t have any friends at all.
In my life, that’s total bunk. I have lots of wonderful friends. If I started to name them all, I easily could come up with a long list of friends who love me and want to spend time with me. But that list isn’t what got me out of my funk.
As is so often the case when I allow myself to sink into self-pity, it doesn’t take long for God to gently remind me of my selfishness. The truth is, He has been generous to bless me with beautiful friendships. But even more importantly, He has called me to be more concerned about being a friend than having lots of friends.
Nancy and Dannah write about this very truth in Lies Young Women Believe.
"There’s one more thing we need to address in regard to friendship. A lot of what we heard from the girls in our research was … well … can we say it like it is? It was selfish. You may need to take a different approach to your earthly friendships.
"You are called to be a true friend. If your focus is on who likes you, you’re not pursuing true friendship. If your focus is on who is asking you to hang out with them, it’s all wrong. That’s not a spiritual mindset. Ask the Lord to help you be more concerned about who needs you than who likes you" (Lies Young Women Believe, 109).
Now that’s a revolutionary mindset! To truly see friendship as a means to love on others instead of stroking our egos or filling our calendars is radical and wonderful. I think it’s great to be friends with girls who are just fun to be with. But I think it’s more important to seek out those who need a friend and reach out in love. If your goal becomes to befriend and reach out to others instead of waiting for them to reach out to you, I doubt you’ll find loneliness and self-pity sticking around for long.
In the midst of my pity party I was reminded of this truth. I faced a choice. I could continue to believe the lie that I didn’t have true friends and sulk over an empty social calendar or I could reach out to a friend in need. I chose the latter, and what a difference it made.
In Friday’s post, I am going to encourage you to find specific ways to reach out to others. But in the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Can you give me any specific evidence from the Bible that God desires for us to concentrate more on being a good friend than having good friends? How do you think it would change your life this school year if you decided to live this principle out?