By Contributing Writer, Shannon
I have not always been a good friend. I have not always valued and nurtured the friends that God has placed in my life. I’m an introvert, and sometimes, I’d just rather be alone.
I have also been lazy. Cultivating friendships takes work! The busyness of life gets in the way of quality time. Sometimes, I am too exhausted to be a good friend (or relative). I have also been fearful. I want to be accepted for who I am.
The truth is, we need those relationships with other women. God wants us to have friends. Even if you have one girlfriend, it will be rewarding for you both. Make sure that your friendships don’t overshadow or replace your family, though!
“Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.” Proverbs 27:9 NIV
Women can help us grow spiritually in a different way than the men or children in our lives. Seeking friendships with women, older and younger, can lead to rewarding mentoring relationships. Friends, at the same place spiritually, can encourage each other along the way.
Sisters can pray with and for one another.
Women can show other women how to live out their God given roles in life.
Other women can understand us on an emotional level. We need to be able to safely share our thoughts to a listening ear and be able to have a shoulder to cry on if need be.
We can have a different kind of fun with our girlfriends. It can be a time of release and freedom.
“Friendship is born when one person says to another, “What? You, too! I thought I was the only one!” C.S. Lewis
Finding and Cultivating Friendship
If you are an introvert like me, what do you do?
Pray. I have moved a lot, as a military spouse. I have depended on my prayers to the Lord, for a sister in Christ in each location. He has always delivered. I have found group settings like MOPS, Bible studies and homeschool co-ops, to be helpful. There is usually an extrovert in a group that reaches out to me. That makes it easy!
Volunteer. Working together is also a great place to make new friends. Give other women compliments to start a conversation. Telling another woman that you like her haircut or shoes goes a long way!
Share. Especially in group settings like bible study, small group, co-ops, etc.—you never know who has something in common with you. Don’t discount women that you think you couldn’t be friends with. I have had some precious friendships with women that were seemingly completely different than me. Once you have made a connection, you need to open yourself up to relationship.
Let go of fear. Invite them to have coffee. Coffee and conversation have built many friendships!
The Importance of Sisterhood
Remember that you may be the friend that someone else needs, don’t always be looking for what others may offer to you. You will be waiting a long, lonely time if you just look out for yourself.
You must make an effort. In your “real” life, you need to reach out. Make time to meet up if you are in the same town. Sometimes your friendships are far away or online. Calls, texts, emails, social media, surprise gifts and handwritten letters are essential to keep them alive. Make time, be available, be an encourager and you both will be blessed.
How are you cultivating your friendships?