Selflessness is at the heart of friendship but there is also value in simply being yourself. I genuinely struggled with this as I exited the blissful oblivion of childhood and became more self-aware. Through my childhood and teenage years I experienced significant rejection from my peers which resulted in the majority of my friendships being with those older and younger than myself. I longed for social circle of peers but God opened my eyes to the richness of friends in stages of life that differed from mine.
My husband was the first peer who sought me out for who I was (so of course i married him! lol!). He invested great effort in learning about me, valuing my thoughts and ideas, and delighting in who I am as an individual. It took me a while to believe that someone as amazing as him would enjoy my company (and sometimes I still can’t believe it) but through his cultivation I discovered a confidence in friendship I had never before experienced. Thus began a new and exciting season of friendship for me.
Since our marriage I have developed a handful of intimate friendships that have grown and challenged me. These women offer support in the hard times, celebrate the victories and offer accountability in weakness. Our friendship isn’t without ruffled feathers and emotional outbursts but we have learned to trust one another’s hearts. And I am recognizing that when I am honestly me we grow even closer because they can be honestly them. There is humility and freedom in being yourself, isn’t there?
In a nutshell, friendship begins with me being me. This doesn’t mean I can glory in self-absorption or expect everyone to cater to my whims and fancies; rather, it means I am not ashamed of my strengths; I’m honest about my weaknesses; I don’t apologize for my convictions; and I celebrate my interests. In turn, I encourage my friends to do the same.
What holds you back in friendship?
In the weeks ahead I hope to share about cultivating long distance friendships and beginning new friendships in new communities. (I’ll be blogging until Baby comes)