Posted in Faith, Mental health

I Asked God for a Friend

It came like a jab in the face, as it often does – when God speaks unexpectedly.  Though not as dramatic or life-altering as Paul’s encounter on the road to Damascus, I was, as he likely was, not looking for a word from God right at that moment.  God does things that way, once in a while.  Perhaps to remind us that our ability to hear Him is not a result of all our straining to listen, but it is of grace: undeserved, and impossible to earn.

Something my husband said, in passing, as I sat at the table with him after dinner one day.  I cannot even remember the topic of discussion, or the words that were spoken.  But in an instant God had seized them, launched them like little pointy arrows, and used them to pierce me with a deep longing.  A yearning, aching one, that had been folded up and tucked away, along with other childish, impossible things.  It rang in my ears, and vibrated in my chest, like the startled feeling you have after the shattering of glass.

I wanted a friend.

Not just any friend.  But the kind that, for someone like me, only comes around once or twice in a lifetime.  If that.  A ‘kindred spirit,’ as Anne would say.

The acknowledgement of this longing came with an invitation – I believe, from God Himself – to pray for its fulfillment.  It had the feel, to me, of a promise.  Like something He already had.  Something that He was eagerly waiting to give to me.

My eyes stung with tears, as my husband continued to talk.  I blinked them back, swallowed the lump in my throat, and discretely put the rush of emotion aside to be dealt with later on.  (I’m getting better at that sort of thing.  Though I’m not sure if I am fooling anyone.)

How long has it been, since I have had a friend like that?  Someone who gets me.  Who truly loves me and doesn’t hang out with me because she feels like she has to, or out of pity, or even Christian servanthood.  Somebody I can waste hours with, and it feels like no time at all.  A person with whom conversation and laughter flow, like water.

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I’ve been blessed to have at least two friendships like that, in my lifetime.  The one ended as swiftly and unexpectedly as it began.  I still don’t know why she dropped me.  It was a bit like a summer fling, but without the element of romance.

The other has been longer lasting, but geography and circumstances have kept us apart for several years.  She lives on another continent.  And although people can, to a degree, keep in touch electronically, it’s just not the same as sharing life together.

Although I’m sad when friendships end or grow apart, I treasure the memories that I have from them.  I’m thankful for the joy I was able to share with these people.

But as I’ve grown older, I’ve become a little hardened.  Not wanting to feel the pain of loss or rejection again, I close myself off.  I’m friendly, but I hold others at an arm’s length.

And at my age, is anyone even still looking for friends?  It seems to me that the women I meet are already quite well-connected, and not looking for more friendships than what they already have.

I’ve also noticed that other people are quicker and more adept at forming true and lasting bonds than I am.  I can know women for just as long as they know each other, and watch them grow into very close friends, while I remain on the outside.

I’m not sure why this is.  My introverted nature probably has something to do with it.  I ask myself on a regular basis: am I being nice enough?  Do others see me as grouchy or down in the dumps?  Do they not know what to do with me, because of my intense emotional reactions to things?  If my personality were funnier, or bubblier, or happier…would they like me then?

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Whatever the case, I think that becoming aware that I actually do want and need a close friend, is progress in and of itself.  And now, I have a word.  A promise.  An acknowledgement: God sees my pain.  I don’t think He wants me to shelve my desire for true friendship or bury it in some kind of broken-dream-graveyard.  He wants this for me.  He has it for me.  And I just need to wait, and watch.

How about you?  Is it easy for you to make friends, or difficult?  Have you ever had a best friend?  I would love to hear about it in the comments section below.

Warm wishes,

Lisa

Author:

Hi, I'm Lisa, a born-and-bred-in-Manitoba mom of 2 boys. Having lived in 7 different Manitoba towns or cities, I've managed to stay warm in them all 😜❄. I am trained as a music therapist but currently work as a fulltime stay-at-home-mom by day, and a piano teacher in the evenings. By night, well...I sleep. Usually.

13 thoughts on “I Asked God for a Friend

  1. You are not alone. I was just sharing this morning with my husband that I long for connection with someone. More than just a one time coffee. I think there’s far more of us out who have this longing than we even realize.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’m the most outgoing friendly person I know I have more than 10 close friends I still fell lonely sometimes I fell like I give more in the friendship than I get I sometimes ask God to send me a friendship that’s we both live and care for each other like sister and be there

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that’s definitely part of it too! It’s a give and take, not just one person giving and the other always taking. I’ve had friendships like that before as well. Sometimes it’s ok to just give in some relationships when there is someone who really needs you. But we all need to also receive love and care from somewhere! Thanks for sharing your perspective!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh my. I could have written this post and felt weepy as I read it. My friends just detached themselves from me a couple years ago and I do the same as you now. I don’t seek friends out and women at my age seem to already have their friends and don’t need anymore. I have never had a friendship like the one you described and I found myself longing for the same thing in the last few months, in much the same way you described. I pray God answers both our prayers!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great post Lisa. There are so many people who feel lonely in a crowd.

    I don’t think it even makes a difference if one is introverted, extroverted or an ambivert like me. I t seems as if the enemy is clawing at the spirits of many and trying to make them feel worse. However, one thing I have noticed, those who have many friends around them are usually severely lacking in empathy and are usually also quite jealous, insecure people. They tend to be the ones who ignore those with mental health needs and gravitate towards the ‘popular’ people – people that make them look good. That is so shallow and in time, if they don’t alter their attitudes, they too will be struggling with loneliness. I think the lonely know their insecurities because they question their personalities all the time in the hope that God will show them their flaws. this subject has been something dear to my heart as I have come to realise that many people suffer from this. But, this is only what i think and my conclusions could be totally wrong.

    Often families drift apart owing to jobs and university requirements and I suppose those who don’t attend any social clubs or churches are even more isolated.

    I wonder how many church attenders are really lonely? The larger the church, the more opportunity for friends, yet it seems that this problem is more prevalent in larger churches. What do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, thank you for this thoughtful comment. Your observations about some of the people with many friends are interesting. Yes, I believe I have observed those things as well. Especially the part about ignoring others who have problems and gravitating towards the people who are popular or who gratify them in some way.

      Regarding church attenders, your question about how many of them are actually lonely hits my heart. Maybe you are on to something. I long to help people like this, but I find my own problems often get in the way. When I feel unwell, un-presentable, or un-lovable, it is so hard to reach out to others. I think this is why self care and regular time with Jesus and His healing touch are so vital.

      I have actually felt less lonely in larger churches. What I always say is: churches grow large for a reason. The large churches I’ve attended have been very welcoming, and good at reaching out and integrating new people, which is why people stay. Some of the small churches I’ve attended have been very exclusive and I eventually came to realize that I would never be able to fit in there. Those are just my experiences though; perhaps other people would say different.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. With regards to your third paragraph, that makes sense also. You must be right.

        However it seems that these large churches you talk about that are so good at being welcoming, are like the loud firework that soon fizzles off maybe?

        I have found from some of those who have left my church (400 +) that after the initial caring, they were soon ignored and considered ‘not new enough to be fussed over’ anymore. It reminds me of a TV commercial where a banker refused to give a customer a free pen by saying, “Brand new customers only.”

        I have also found that many who were once humble and approachable have become aloof as soon as they were given a position or title. They become ‘polite’. What I mean by that is, if you speak to them, they will answer you because they don’t want to appear rude, but the spark that once rendered them interested in others has waned unless they are one of the ‘important’. Sad but very much true.
        And even though I agree with your reasoning about smaller churches, I know many who have left big churches for much smaller ones because of that. One girl said to me recently, “There is no hierarchy here.” (she left an 1000 member church for a 150 member one)

        This is such an amazing topic you have brought up! I love social psychology stuff like this and it goes to show that there is no, one answer that explains it all. Like you say, the main thing is spending regular time with Jesus. That I must admit, is one thing that confuses me greatly: why if these siblings in Christ, are worshipping the same God as me, do they act like they don’t? Your thoughts on this are very welcome. xxx

        There is so much church snobbery out there that it makes me wonder who are the ones who are walking around deluded?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, I have been struggling with that same question about siblings in Christ. Why so much division and hard feelings, if we are all truly following the Lord? When I pray about it and read the Bible I feel my heart being softened toward the other “side.” I imagine (I know) that God sees all sides of a person and all motives of behavior. This is why He is so gracious. And also the only One qualified to judge!

        I guess at the larger churches I’ve attended, they are also good at plugging people in to smaller groups that function as cells or smaller churches within the church. These can stand the test of time – years, even. If a church is truly loving and seeking to create safe space for everyone it can be very powerful. That has been my experience to an extent, though not perfect of course.

        And yes, I have had similar thoughts about church hierarchy. This has troubled me, in fact, because I am never one of the ones “up there.” (Perhaps it’s better that way in my case.) However, the one woman pastor I have had personal contact with at my church has treated me with nothing but love and grace. Things do feel exclusive sometimes though. I wonder if I could get to know more people and feel more included if I were to reach out more – become more actively involved in ministries? (I was just wondering this while on my treadmill earlier tonight.) As a mom with younger kids, it’s difficult to find energy to be involved, and COVID has only added to that.

        I enjoy this conversation. Thank you for engaging 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I love all your points. Very thoughtful. Yes, I think you could give the ministry thing a try. I have noticed that the two main areas where people bond are the ones where they are serving in the same ministry and house groups. Though there are always the groups where people come out at the end feeling like they don’t know anybody any better. Some of my most dear friendships have come from house-groups. But I have also left groups to find that the leader no longer greets me and smiles or says hello when she sees in in church, because I am not in her group anymore! This happens with men too. I have even had several text messages ignored because they just can’t be bothered to reply. It is then that one realises how much people are ‘loving’ only because it was a job, not because they really wanted to. I hate this type in insincerity. But, to end on a positive note, i think there are a great many people who feel the same way we do and it’s those I try to look out for, rather than wasting my time with the not-so-friendly. Have a blessed day Lisa. xxx

        Liked by 1 person

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