I heard this question posed once: “What makes a truly deep and healthy friendship?”
I’ve had a lot of amazing friends in my life. I even have a few friendships that have stood the test of time through childhood, teen years, college, marriage, career, kids, ministry, and 20+ years of LIFE. Those are the keepers, right? Those friends that you can go for ½ a year without connecting with and then grab coffee together and it’s a 1990s sleepover!
As women in ministry, one of the BIGGEST challenges for us is connecting in community. I have so many women who have shared with me both sides of the coin; they’re afraid to get close to friends because of past hurts, or they feel isolated and alone. Either way, these are just not God’s plan for us and certainly NOT His desire for us as His beloved daughters.
We’re going to begin a series today and dig into the struggle we have in ministry to find community and connect within one. My goal for any post that I write is that it is GROUNDED in Biblical truth and example; I don’t want these to just be my words!
First, I want to recognize and AFFIRM the hurt that so many of you feel. Being in ministry is a tough job; it would be a lot easier without people involved, am I right?! There may have been words said, hurtful actions, neglected relationships, unfair comparisons, judgmental attitudes, and any number of broken friendships that have made you feel like it’s just NOT worth it. Maybe you’d be better off just “going it alone” from now on and keeping everyone at arm’s length.
Sweet sister, just acknowledge that hurt right now, will you? Take 5 minutes and honestly let those feelings bubble back up from where you’ve stuffed them. Talk to Jesus about that and give Him those feelings. Just confess them out loud. He knows. He sees. He’s no stranger to rejection and hurt from those closest to Him! He hung naked and bleeding on a cross listening to the jeers of His enemies and the silence of His loved ones. He knows.
Now that you’ve taken a breath and affirmed that pain, what do you DO with it? It’s certainly NOT something you want to have repeated! How do we KNOW that we can trust another friend with our heart? Maybe we can’t KNOW, but we can learn to trust the One Who made OUR hearts and is intimately connected with each beat. We can learn to prayerfully and intentionally pursue community with other Jesus-following women who can be TRUE and DEEP friends for us.
Let’s recap together here and let this marinate for a few weeks. I’m going to give you some action points to move forward as well.
God created us to be in deep, intimate relationship with Him AND with others. (Genesis 2:18)
Many of us have been deeply wounded by relationships. At best, we have relationships that are straining us or that we sometimes try to avoid. We need to acknowledge that hurt and bring it to the cross for the healing grace of Jesus. (Psalm 147:3)
Fear of being hurt or of letting others truly know us isn’t part of God’s design as His beloved daughters. We can trust Him with our hearts as we prayerfully pursue intentional relationships. (John 15:13, Psalm 91)
We CAN live victoriously as women in ministry IN deep relationship with others! Next time we will be looking at the example of our Savior and how He structured His close relationships.
Here are some questions to ponder this week as you pray through these things:
Think about a relationship that has been hurtful or difficult for you in the past year. What is something about that situation that you can bring before the throne and leave at Jesus’ feet? Where can you start asking for restoration and healing from that hurt?
Where do you find yourself relying more on the support and affirmation of your friendships than you do on Jesus’ affirmation as His beloved?
What is one thing you would like to see change about a difficult relationship? Ask the Lord how YOU can be a catalyst in that change in order to break down barriers to true relationship with that individual.
I’ll be praying for you this week as you wrestle through those!! Feel free to connect with me at any of my social media places if you want to chat more!