Just over two years ago, I decided to take a leap of faith in developing new friendships at our church. We’d been attending for a few years (yes, you read that right) but I didn’t feel connected to the women of the church, even after attending a few ladies events. I was friendly with women, but I longed for a deeper connection. So I hosted an IF:Local in my home. Two other ladies attended. We laughed. We cried. We listened, learned, and prayed together. And at the end of the day, I found myself journeying with them rather than just alongside them. One of them challenged me to attend the annual ladies retreat where women from different churches gathered to learn and grow together. After traveling to Maryland and back from Michigan in a 15 passenger van, I found myself deeply connected to other women from our church.
I believe we were meant to connect with other people, especially other believers (See: Created for Connection). We are called to be the Body, not living in isolation. Christian friends offer us a place of rest, hold us accountable, and are there to walk with us on our journey with Christ. Church starts to feel like home and the people there feel more like family than friends.
All good friends can laugh and cry with us, but there’s one thing that sets Christian friends apart from all other friends. It is this: They see us through the eyes of grace.
Christian friends know we are not defined by our past or present struggles but that we are a new creation in Christ. This difference in perception allows us to be completely open and honest, vulnerable with each other, knowing that we will receive love instead of judgment. It means we can confess both our old sins and the ones we wrestle with now because Christian friends are there to hold up our arms in the battle.
Proverbs speaks about friendship like this:
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”Proverbs 17:17
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another”Proverbs 27:17
Our Christian friends can speak truth into our lives that other friends cannot. They can help spur us on toward our godly destiny because they know the God who created us. And they can commune with us spirit to spirit because the Holy Spirit dwells in both our souls.
Christian friends hold a worldview unique to the adopted children of God. They believe the impossible is possible for both themselves and their friends. And when we speak impossible dreams, they can join us, believing that nothing is impossible for God (Luke 1:37).
If you find yourself in a situation like me a few years ago, where you attend church but don’t feel like you have the deep friendships you crave, I encourage you to take 3 steps:
- Find the women’s ministries in your church and attend an event or two. If there is no women’s ministry, maybe you should start one.
- All friendships involve risk and vulnerability. Put yourself out there. Talk with someone after church. Get to know someone new.
- Invite other women out for coffee, or even better, into your home. I honestly believe there is no better way to dive deep into friendship with other women than by inviting them into your personal space.
Trust me when I say I’m an introvert and hate small talk and awkward conversation. Which is why I was alone in a church full of women for years. But somehow taking the simple but drastic step to invite them into my world opened a whole new realm of friendship I may never have accessed otherwise.
If you’re already plugged in, diving deep with other women in your life, reach out to them today and let them know how much their friendship means to you. Make plans to see each other…soon. Life can be busy, but there’s always time for a good friend.
Stay tuned for next week when we talk about Why We Need Prayer Partners.