So, as I’ve been talking to more women in ministry, I’m coming across a very common thread.
“We don’t have deep relationships. There isn’t really anyone we feel we can open up to, no one we feel we can be completely vulnerable with.”
I confess, that as a fellow ministry wife and woman, this was a huge heart cry for me as well. Living in a foreign culture for a while only amplified this longing as I had the added barriers of culture and language to my short list of friends. Even when I returned to the USA most of the friends I had prior to leaving had moved on with their lives (naturally and rightly) and I was struggling to stay afloat with my third-culture children who were grieving the loss of everything they knew.
Friendships, let alone deep friendships, seemed out of the question. And most people I knew were busy with school, jobs, family, ministry, or personal issues. There was little time for relationship building.
So I did what most of us do, I just settled for Facebook and Instagram friends. Oh sure, there’s the occasional park date, but real, deep, honest face-to-face friendship? Nonexistent.
Then, recently, a new friend of mine sat down with me over a cup of coffee (which was HUGE), and asked me some hard questions.
“So, who are your people?”
I realized I didn’t have an answer. I didn’t have people! And I recognized the danger of that. I began to pray for the Lord to give me some people “with skin on” to walk alongside me on this journey called life. Ministry life is hectic and lonely, and without “people” to just be normal, ME, the road stretches before me to infinity.
So, I ask YOU, who are your people? Who are the people you text or call at all hours of the day or night just to tell them about the homemade bread you attempted, or how your kid just ran into a wall and busted his head wide open, that you’re on the way to the ER? If you dropped Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat… who would be left in your life?
Does that answer frighten you as it did me? Oh, sweet sister, let it sink in.
In Ephesians, we are told that part of Christ’s redeeming work on the cross was for unity, relationship, BODY LIFE. We are told that our purpose is to be united in a body to reach out where God has placed us. I’m struggling with the idea of “uniting” from my computer.
So… what do we do with this? How do we proceed? I’d like to offer four simple ideas to begin this process.
If you haven’t, use the Relationships Worksheet to evaluate your “screen relationships”.
Ask yourself that question… WHO are your people?
What can you do THIS WEEK to pull back from any unnecessary “screen relationships”?
What can you do THIS WEEK to deepen one real-life relationship? Perhaps an invitation to coffee, a text asking for prayer, setting up a playdate with your children and a friend…
To follow up with my story... after my new friend asked me that tough question, "Who are your people?", and I began to look around and pray through that situation... God was already working behind the scenes. He reconnected a group of friends that I had before going on the mission field and now has us in a deep, growing accountability group together. We're all ministry wives in some sense, but in different churches (and states!). We can be real, vulnerable, honest, and open with one another about struggles, ministry stuff, kids, husbands, and difficult people in our lives. I'm so thankful for their friendship.
Don't miss out on this. We're not meant to do this life alone. Ask God to help you with this process and He WILL give you what you need.