On the Friendships of Women and Bloglines

March 27, 2008 at 9:03 am 8 comments

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My favorite blogs have become my 17 local blogs.  I have them in a special folder in my bloglines RSS reader and always check them first. 

The blog name highlights in “bold letters” when you update.  I “save” my fav posts of yours for reference to pray for you.  If you mention a link I can’t follow at that moment, or ask a question I want to come back to later, I have it there handy on one page.  I have to click into your blog to comment and I’ll do that if I want to give encouragement or have something to say.  Sometimes, I just like reading and walking with you with no strings attached, just enjoying your fellowship for a moment and going on with my day.  Those of you who are confident in that, you are a blessing and I don’t take you for granted.  Keep posting!  I appreciate you so much.

As a note, I tried iGoogle’s reader last week just for kicks and wasn’t that satisfied with it in comparison.  It was slow to respond.

I want you to know that I love local blogs, even above superior writing, humor, or traffic. 

Why?  Because when I sit down in a break, I want to connect.  I want to know there are women like me, gutting it out, doing their thing, enjoying their lives, praying through it, just like me.  People I know.  People I see.  People who know me.  I love me some long distance blogger-friends, too.  But, usually the ones I enjoy most are just the ones free to be authentic.  Keep at it girls!

I want to know that you struggle with your time, your kids, your marriages, and that you still enjoy the daylights out of them above all else.  I like to know you are real.  I pray for you.

Even if we don’t sit and chat. 

I want you to know that I am intentionally not a BFF person in the trendy sense of the word.  It’s mainly because of the way I was discipled.  I was taught by example to always present myself as open for friendship.  I was taught that though I was close to someone during the week, if I clung to that person publicly, I shut down myself at times to others who needed a touch of Jesus.  I was taught to risk being alone to stay open to the one who might need a friend in the moment.  That is hard at first, but God uses it, and He takes care of us…later.

I’ve also realized that if I’m always confiding in the same person for everything, other friends feel pushed further out.  

Women have stages and cycles, and so do marriages.  Often space or time are needed to allow for growth.  If you are intertwined too closely, those times can be very painful.  As I’ve grown in friendship, I enjoy knowing I am cacooned by a large circle of discreet, caring, confidential, mature friends who will drop by just to pray for me or listen if God leads without us having to maintain “close” in every public venue.  The Holy Spirit keeps us close, similar principles and earned trust keeps us close, and maturing in Christ together through the years keeps us close. 

It’s great to have other friends you can turn to for health when BFFs need space for health.  It’s good to not stake your well-being on anyone except Jesus Christ for the long-term.   Prepare for these times–they will surely come.  Insecurities come.  All sorts of things come.  Walk your friends through it.  Respect it.  It’s normal.  

Sometimes, we need to step away, for many reasons.  Sometimes healthy, productive, and okay.  Train yourself to have a “buffer” for those times with other friends.  Use that time to enjoy a renewed time of closeness with the Lord Jesus Himself…He is the ultimate BFF!  There is no substitute, replacement, or comparison.  I love you because of the mirror of Him that you are! 

How can you prepare yourself?  Allow yourself to open up to people for a real conversation now and then.  Share something vulnerable about your day.  Ask something that requires more than a “fine” answer from others.  Wait expectantly for them to answer.  Value an answer with your time.  If they do not answer, ask again.  Show that you really want to know and will wait through interruptions of kids, life, and family to hear.  Really hear.  “He who would have friends must show himself friendly.”  (Wisdom books, The Holy Bible).  Whew.  I’m preaching to myself.  Most of us are so exhausted… just being together and seeing one another is sometimes enough!  That’s how I feel anyway.

Yes, I have some great friends in my life I know I can always call or turn to, day or night, and pick up right where we left off, even if it’s been years and years since we last talked…I know them and can trust them that much.  They are my BFF sorority club.  But, this cool thing is…you would not be able to guess who they are, I hope.  I want you to know I’m as much here for you as I am for them.  Perhaps our friendship is not as intimate, but I hope you don’t ever feel totally crowded out.  That’s the goal. 

While it may be good to have certain families we are close to who can help with children and walk us through life, it’s also great when a day’s thoughts and conversations are not filled with one particular family or set of friends.  It’s great when we are just engulfed in trusted community that flows in and out as there is need.  Don’t become co-dependant on any one person…that’s the gist of what is hard to say.    

There are things I’d be more likely to tell some friends than others.  That’s okay. 

Women’s friendships, in particular, are typically prone to jealousy in friendships.  It’s something carried over from girlhood.  Do you remember the notes:  “Who do you like better me or Jana?” “Am I your best friend, check Yes or No and return this note to me.”  or “If you like Tanya, I won’t be your friend anymore.  She was mean to me.” 

Boys friendships don’t work this way.  They are not territorial, not jealous, more forgiving, and they don’t write these crazy notes!  This interesting developmental process is covered in several books, but I enjoyed one in particular called The Friendships of Women by Dee Brestin.  She talks about how to open yourself up to women of various age groups, grow into ministry, and learn to be a “Titus 2” woman who builds up all relationships rather than being limited by the carry-over of girlhood.  It requires some intentional thought processes to grow into discipleship friendships, but well worth the effort. 

Proverbs tells us it is better to have a few “great” friends than to have many “friends” who are not friends at all.  This is true.  Maturity in friendships, depth, and history are great things.  We are blessed when we have those few people who we can depend upon and rely on. 

What this post is meant to challenge us in is rounding out.  It is about the work of learning to discern good friends and good boundaries within friendships.  For some of us, in some seasons, BFFs allow trust to rebuild where it’s been damaged, that’s great.  The best friendship also help us grow into other friendship without feeling threatened.  (Tough one?  It is for a lot of people). 

Encourage one another toward those goals.  Set goals to incorporate new friends and family’s into your circle here and there, perhaps at times excluding the favorite, allowing them time and space to fill their time in other ways.  It’s hard work to create healthy communities, but it works. This may seem strange and counterproductive, but it isn’t.  Makes some goals as friends, and try things.  You’ll both be better for it.

Smile when a test to your friendship comes. Teach your heart to say, “I completely understand and I’m so proud of you.  Keep growing.  Catch me up later!!!” 

Last Winter I had a great example of this.  One of my dearest friends in the world invited me to a church function, she also invited an unchurched friend.  I went to see her children perform at an event and didn’t know who the new friend was.  When I got there, however, the other friend showed up, too.  We did not get to sit together.  I was a little sad at not getting to visit and laugh together, but she came and whispered in my ear, and I was just so dang proud of her I could bust.  She did it!  She invited the one, and they came!  I gladly sat behind them a few rows, didn’t work my way into her space with her new friend, and called her later.  It was an awesome time.  I was thrilled and the show was fun for my whole family.

On another occasion, we ran into one another at a local football game.  There was a single Mom, and God told me, “You take care of her.”  I had another child with us that night, my husband had not arrived yet, and I was trying to juggle things.  I took the new friend over to where we were sitting, helped care for her, walked with her wherever she needed to go, and did not have time to say a word to my friend. 

Later, I called and said, “So sorry I didn’t get to visit tonight.  I was so looking forward to it.  But, that is a precious girl and she needed some girl time tonight, I knew it in my spirit. ”  She said, “I knew God was at work.  I prayed for you.  Of course I missed you, but times like that are always okay and you never have to explain.  I trust you.  Thanks for calling to touch base, but you don’t ever have to worry.  I know we’ll catch up later.  Maybe we can have lunch next week if it works out?”  That is why she is one of my BFFs.  What a gal!  Tears welled in my eyes because of her commitment to the big picture.  I’ll never forget her faithfulness.

Good friends always catch up later.  They do.  Years later.  Moments later.   Emails later.  Blogs later.  And they build one another up into disciples.  That’s what I am so excited about blogging, that we can continue to pray for, build up, and encourage one another, and that there is always room for another.  No matter where they are ore where they come from.

There are people standing behind you.  You may be in a very healthy place for where you are!  Sometimes God provides those BFF people in our lives when we need a BOOST, when we need to regain trust, when we’ve been hurt, sometimes they stay for a lifetime.  They are precious!  Sometimes God wants us all to his lovely self, infusing His breath into our bones for long periods of inhalation for us.  Breathe deeply in those times…and be made ready to exhale into someone else’s life when He says “Go”.

I hope you are challenged.  I hope you are content where you are, and still striving forward, praying forward, asking God for what you need, trusting Him with what He gives.  He can be trusted!  Walk in joy, no matter where you are!  It’s a good place.  I’m so proud of you and what God is doing in your life and working in your heart.  It’s a joy to read.  Thank you for sharing your journey with me, though you are all in such different places.  I’m so proud of you.

Do me a favor?  Say this verse as a prayer today as you finish this reading and hold it tightly in your heart as truth, for it is:

The boundary lines

have fallen for me

in pleasant places,

surely I have a

delightful inheritance.”  

(Psalms)  

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Entry filed under: Everyday.

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dori  |  March 27, 2008 at 9:15 am

    What an AWESOME and UNIQUE post on friendship!!

    Love it!!

    Blessings, FRIEND…may I call you that? 🙂

    Dori

  • 2. Stacey  |  March 27, 2008 at 9:54 am

    I have been so blessed by your guidance.

    Thank you so much for writing on this.

    Love you!

  • 3. mandythompson  |  March 27, 2008 at 10:48 am

    mmmm……..

  • 4. mamarosi  |  March 27, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    I’ve got goosebumps all over. This friend so appreciates your friendship. I won’t forget when I broke my shoe while you walked with me at the football game *blush*… you were so sweet to befriend me that evening when I did need a friend with which to sit. This post was soo good in so many ways, and I just love you more for it! Thank you for being such a good shiny example of Christ-likeness. *Big Hugs*

  • 5. Theresa  |  March 27, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    Interesting that you should post this today on your blog because I tagged you today on mine!

  • 6. awomansdevotion  |  March 27, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    Thank you–For the post, the love you overflow with, reminding us that Jesus is our BFF, and the ability to open your arms to embrace ALL of us.

  • 7. koinoniaconnection  |  March 27, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    thanks for this blog today. i’ve been “spatting” with my best g/f these past few weeks…and i needed to hear that perspective.

  • 8. karla ~ looking towards heaven  |  March 29, 2008 at 10:47 am

    this is an amazing post.
    I’ve never been good at the gushing friendships (even when I made attempts, it just never felt natural to me)… and always felt bad about that. But this helps me make sense of that.

    xo ~K
    (that’s for the full feed in reader ;0)

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ME: “MAGGIE”

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Sifting the joy from the mundane:

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I am married to the love of my life, as we raise three children, learning the ways of grace.

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Magnanimity (derived from the Latin roots magn- great, and anima, soul) is the virtue of being great of mind and heart. It encompasses, usually, a refusal to be petty, a willingness to face danger, and actions for noble purposes. Its antithesis is pusillanimity. Both terms were coined by Aristotle, who called magnanimity "the crowning virtue."

Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary of the American Language defines Magnanimity as such:

MAGNANIM'ITY, n. [L. magnanimitas; magnus, great, and animus, mind.] Greatness of mind; that elevation or dignity of soul, which encounters danger and trouble with tranquillity and firmness, which raises the possessor above revenge, and makes him delight in acts of benevolence, which makes him disdain injustice and meanness, and prompts him to sacrifice personal ease, interest and safety for the accomplishment of useful and noble objects.[1] (Source: Wikipedia)

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