friendship, loneliness and the facade of perfection

I’ve been thinking yesterday and today about how we, as women, often misrepresent ourselves and and the women around us. We look at the women around us and assume that they have it all put together that they never feel lonely or desperate or discouraged, and put on a face (sometimes on purpose sometimes not) that makes us look that way to other women.

So many of us women spend a lot of our lives lonely and longing for deep friendship with other women. Women were made to need each other, we need other women to push us to godliness, encourage us when we are down, laugh with us and cry with us and sometimes hold up a mirror to show us that we are behaving like selfish spoiled children.

It is easy to look at the women around us and assume that they don’t feel this way even when we do. It is scary to put ourselves out there and ask for friendship, to admit loneliness and show our hearts and risk rejection. It can also be scary to approach someone you think may be lonely and offer your friendship.

I was talking with a friend yesterday and it reminded me of the days when i was in the place, I had just moved up from Chicago and 3-4 years of intense loneliness and pain . In my naivety I assumed that simply moving  to where there were a lot of women my age and attending a church full of young couples would change that but I was wrong. For months I spent time watching other friendships and wishing to be part of one and not quite sure how. (I am not a quiet person so don’t assume that just because someone isn’t shy, quiet, introverted or because they always have a smile on their face that they are not desperately lonely.) It wasn’t until I reached the bottom and was *forced* by my mom to call of ladies that things started to change. I started to experienced real friendship again for the first time in a really long time.

It is scary to open ourselves up, friendship is hard, it takes a LOT of work to maintain and our lives are often so busy. Maybe we already have one or two deep friendships and don’t think we need more. But what about those lonely souls around us. The ones who smile at us and make small talk on Sundays. The ones who look like they have it all together. What if you could see past that shell into their desperate hearts? What if they are crying for someone to spend time with them and pray with them and listen to their hopes and fears.

I pray that God would open our eyes and our hearts to those around us who are secretly lonely. That we would either be that friend they so desperately need or that we would pray with them for bravery to seek that friendship.

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*To those dear women who have become those friends to me, I cannot thank the Lord enough for you. I am so blessed through you.

*I in no way want to belittle the friendships I had in Chicago with the sweet ladies I worked with, if you girls are reading this know that I love you dearly. And Allison, you were a beautiful light in such a dark time and you will forever be one of the dearest friends I have -despite distance and seeing each other only once a year. And my mom and sister, you have always been there for me and I love you so much.

 

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