This week’s reading in Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl focuses on relationships.  In general, I struggle with relationships.  I haven’t decided yet if it is my fear that others will fail me or a subconscious fear of my own inadequacies letting others down that prohibit me from truly forming deep relationships.

Talking about friendship is tough for me.   I don’t think I’m very good at being a friend.  Sadly, I’m that mediocre friend who reconnects once or twice a year. Don’t get me wrong– I love my friends.   I love adult conversation.  Texting relationships?  Rock it.  Occasional phone calls?  I do okay.  Actually getting together?  That’s where it all falls apart.    But for some reason, putting myself in a physical social situation is extremely difficult for me. What will we talk about? What if they think I’ve turned into a boring SAHM?  Speaking of being a mom, who will watch my kids–it can’t be my mom again, she has already watched them 4 times this week while I went to coach practice or some appointment or another.  I have always been a bit of a homebody, but since having kids I find myself turning down the invitations I do get to go out with friends. Time is precious, and a lot of the time it just doesn’t feel worth the anxiety I experience.

A lot of my friends don’t have kids yet, so I worry they will:

  1.  think I’m boring
  2. get tired of hearing about my kids
  3. consider running away from the madhouse that I call home

When it comes down to it, I worry about my friends’ judgments about me.  About my kids.  About my life and my choices in general.  So I keep my true self distanced from others, hidden from their potential scrutiny.  On the rare occasion that I allow (ahem, force–sorry friends) myself to hangout with others, I am pleasantly surprised at how much FUN it can be.  This past fall, I reluctantly went to a bachelorette party for one of my best friends.  I was so excited for her, but time and distance had caused us to drift apart a bit.  I didn’t really know anyone else who was attending (I had heard their names but never actually hung out with them), and I was afraid of being the lame-o friend.  I was pregnant (but wasn’t telling people), so not only would I not be able to drink, but I definitely feeling the symptoms of fatigue and irritability.  As terrified as I was of feeling out of place, I held up my chin and showed up ready for some fun (all the while thinking please God, don’t let them think I’m a fuddy duddy house wife or some stuck up snob).  Boy, am I thankful I went.  I can honestly say it was one of the absolute best nights I have had in the last 3 years, filled with so much laughter and delicious food.  I didn’t feel out of place or judged in the least.  Even though we all are in different places in life, everyone was included with open arms and open hearts.

You are welcome, friend.    You are accepted. You are loved.

Lysa TerKeurst gives three easy to follow guidelines for building strong female relationships.  Ultimately, it seems to follow the principle: be the friend you wish to have.

  1. Refuse to gossip.  (I certainly don’t want my friends talking badly about me to others.)
  2.  Do not judge. (I want to feel accepted by my friends instead of plagued by the insecurities that come with constantly worrying about what they will think.)
  3. Be secure in your calling. (I want to know that my place in the world may be different than my friends’, but that it is okay .  See point 2.)

How many women lose in their relationships because they are insecure about their own lives and choices?  How many mothers constantly question themselves because someone else parents differently?  Different does not have to equal wrong.  If we would all take a step back and refuse to judge others’ actions, if we would stop talking about each other in a negative light, if we could realize our own strength and beauty without comparing ourselves to others, how would our worlds change?  Would each day look a little brighter?  Would we have more laughter in our lives?  Would accepting each other with open hearts and open arms make our lives stronger in Christ?  I’m willing to try.

**Disclaimer:  Even writing a blog post gives me slight anxiety about the potential judgments of others.  How do I just: