Okay, so before I go any further I have got to give credit where credit is due…one of my dearest and most special friends in this entire world, okay she’s more like my sister, uttered one of the best lines I had heard in a long time a couple years back. When I asked her how she was doin makin new friends in the new city she had just moved to, she said, “Honestly, I’m not looking for Mrs. Right, just Mrs. Right now…” . Oh my goodness this little sentence changed the whole way I looked at making girlfriends! It took that pressure off that you had to be BFF, that you had to “click” and if you didn’t…what was wrong with you?!
Well, I have to say I have slightly evolved since these Mrs. Right “Now” days…I have found a few Mrs. Rights and I surely hope they are around for much longer than just “now”. What I have learned in making friendships at this stage of life (either in or exiting butt wiping phase) is that it takes a lot more effort. You truly get out what you put in. Long gone are the days of instant friends that are just always there. First of all, many of us either manage entire households and kids and husbands or are holdin down the fort and jobs! I mean, for real, it’s exhausting!!! Who has time for hanging out? Calling the girls? Weekend getaways? Well, I got some amazing insight recently listening to my all time favorite writer, Jen Hatmaker on her Podcast, For the Love of Girlfriends with Shasta Nelson. She really dives into three things that we need in order to maintain healthy friendships, it’s so right on. First off consistency…meaning get your butt out the door, make yourself present, known and show up. It can be a yoga class, mommas group, book club, wine night ;), whatever…just find something YOU love and chances are others that you might like will show up…and guess what, they usually keep coming back! Easy peasy! Consistency, check! Okay so her next tip was to be vulnerable…ok, so this is like my love language, so if you know me for longer than 5 minutes or 1 glass of wine..you will possibly know my entire life, solicited or not. For others I totally get this is a struggle, but it’s a crucial step in establishing a safe place for you and them to really dive in and just be yourself. The last step she mentions is to be positive….who wants to escape whiny children to go hang out with a whiny momma?! I don’t mean you can’t bitch and moan about struggles in your life, I just mean…don’t be the “woe is me” mom who everyone feels like they have to spend the entire time picking up off the ground. Hahaha…I know I have been picked up a few times, sorry gals! Lesson learned!
When I turn to my source, my lifeline and I really look at how we were created to interact I find some fascinating truths. So first, “bad company corrupts good behavior” (1 Cor. 15:33), so this one really speaks to me…I have had many “bad company” relationships in my life and I tell you, corruption is the least of their destruction. It often leads to resentment, anger, isolation and total destruction of the friendship. I for one would hate to be someone else’s “bad company”. We need to really think about our words, our actions, our choices…is it necessary to say EVERYTHING that pops in our head? No. Do we HAVE to correct every misstep? No. Do we have to inflate our egos just to keep us above those around us? Absolutely not. Staying humble and gentle will take us far ladies…and believe me, I’m saying us. I’m not excused from this bad behavior. I’ve definitely pointed out flaws when it was not necessary, shot down dreams, hurt feelings and opened my mouth when I should have just been listening.
“Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise” (Proverbs 19:20). So how many of you can say you take advice well? Okay, how many of you enjoy discipline? Yeah, me either. BUT there is so much truth in this verse that my fingers can’t type fast enough. So first off, I have a cheat sheet, my pastor John Burke (he’s amazing) gave an amazing sermon last Sunday on this exact verse. We are so quick to speak on all that we know. So quick to share what we’ve learned. Even quicker to name drop every experience, that makes us more qualified than everyone else. How would it look if we took our knowledge, our wisdom and just sat with it. Let others speak, have their truths, have their opinions and then used our wisdom to know when to ask a question? To serve them with our truth by just listening or comforting them in their struggle. John taught so beautifully that we can have all the knowledge in the world but our own pride and arrogance will make us ignorant. Being wise isn’t knowing everything, it is using what you do know to serve and to love those around you. For instance, I would say I’m farely well educated in esthetics (skin care), therefore, I can use that knowledge to pamper my clients, answer their questions and listen to their concerns. Teachers can use compassion and kindness to share their gift in those difficult moments with their students. Musicians can belt out those beautiful notes at a Sunday service or local coffee shop, just to bless the ears of those listening. We don’t have to know it all, we just have to know how to use it. How to use these gifts we were given, because after all…none of this really comes from us….we know this, right? Listening is often the best answer, comforting is a close second and actually speaking is probably the last thing we should be doing.
So friends, while friendships can be a little hard to maneuver as we step into each new phase of life, they are worth the blood, grit and tears. These friendships will hold you in their arms, they will wipe your tears, they will laugh with you, cry with you, sing with you and be with you. These are the women that will be there when no one else is. These are the relationships that will withstand the test of time, when even marriages don’t make it. They will be there when the kids go off to college and they will be the first to bring over a bottle of wine. They will bring you dinner when you are too emotionally drained to even think of cooking. They will be your wise council, your sound advice, your ‘good’ company. So put yourself out there, show up…every time! As Shasta reminds us, be consistent, be vulnerable, be positive. Lets choose to live in light, love and laughter…lets live in friendship.
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2