Vulnerable Friendships - Encouragement Café - November 24, 2016


Vulnerable Friendships
By Annah Matthews
Wednesday, November 24, 2016

Help carry one another's burdens, and in this way you will obey the law of Christ.  You think you are something when you really are nothing, you are only deceiving yourself.  You should each judge your own conduct.  If it is good, then you can be proud of what you yourself have done, without having to compare it with what someone else has done.  For each of you have to carry your own load.  Galatians 6:2-5  GNT

Getting married, moving to a city where you knew no one, buying a home, and starting a new job was an adventure.  Except, all of my former friends were in different cities and town, starting their own lives just like me.  I loved my husband and we relied on each other for a lot but the social butterfly in me was dying and I needed some girlfriends.

So I began to pray for friends who loved me, allowed me to be myself and stuck with me in the fun times and the ugly ones.  One of the things that I realized through the years of building a new life with my husband and cultivating new friendships is that we must allow others to love us.

Not just know us, but love us.

You may be saying to yourself,

What the what?  I do let others loves me.

Maybe you do, but maybe you find that you keep a shell around your heart that won’t let others in.  A shell that you built up over time because of bitterness, hurt, resentment, past mistakes, failures, embarrassment, or you fill in the blank.

Can I tell you a secret?

Every single one of us deals with these same thoughts.  The what ifs, should have, could have, would have, really don’t do anything but leave us feeling lonely, guilt ridden, and afraid to let our guard down.

I have found over and over again that when I am willing to share my vulnerabilities with a small group of other girls that we breathe out a collective sigh of relief.

Oh.  My.  Goodness.  You mean you feel that way too.  I thought I was the only one.

No, you are not.

Let me throw a few out to you:

I struggle to love my children like they deserve.

I struggle to love my husband like he deserves.

I think that I am screwing up my kids.

I really really don’t like to help with homework and I used to be a teacher.

I have a child who hates to eat vegetables.

I let my kids eat processed foods although I swear to you that I try to make them eat healthy.

I really like big hair 80’s bands.

I try to avoid signing up for class parties, field trips, fundraisers, and the church nursery. (Oh yes, I just said that!)

I have freed myself from being shamed and guilted into doing things that I do not enjoy nor I gifted in doing.

Girlfriends, do you need real, loving, authentic, “love you through the mess” girlfriends?

Then you need to be willing to share your burdens and fears with others.  And when someone is vulnerable enough to do that with you, for the love of God, do not judge them, LOVE them.

Help carry one another's burdens, and in this way you will obey the law of Christ.  You think you are something when you really are nothing, you are only deceiving yourself.  You should each judge your own conduct.  If it is good, then you can be proud of what you yourself have done, without having to compare it with what someone else has done.  For each of you have to carry your own load.  Galatians 6:2-5 GNT

God has brought women into my life, who God moved from different states, to love me and to share life with me.  They are moms who are in the same stage of life as me, who know how to shoot it to you straight, who love me in my mess, and who encourage and pray for me regularly.

I am so endeared to them for the way that they love me and for the way I can share my fears, laughter, and most embarrassing moments with them.  Some of them are part of Encouragement Café.  They love Jesus just like me, live all across the U.S., will pray for you in a heartbeat and love to encourage others.  Our hearts have been knitted.

I don’t know what stage of life you find yourself in as you read this but can I tell you that God didn’t create you just to leave you hanging out there for no one to share life with you.  He loves to give good gifts to His girls, and He is not holding out on you when it comes to friendships.

Pray that God would grant you the desires of your heart and allow you to build healthy, encouraging friendships with others.

Ask Him to show you the relationships that you could build and ask Him to give you the courage to be a little vulnerable.

Ask Him for discernment on what to share and when to share it.  Sometimes we need some time to build and cultivate friendships and over time we begin share and open up a little more.  (Side note, be careful what you share on social media, not everyone is just like you or willing to accept everything about you without authentic relationship.)

Be confident that you are not alone.  

First of all, you are God’s girl and He loves you like crazy.  There is nothing that He does not know about you so lay your heart out to Him before anyone else.

Second of all, He will be faithful to give you those girls to share life with you.  You wait with hopeful expectation and be ready to accept the blessings of friendship.

Father, thank You for the gift of friendship.  Thank You for seeing what we need an providing it in Your perfect time.  Father forgive us for failing to see the need to be genuine and vulnerable with those around us.  Forgive us for judging those who choose to be transparent.  We pray that You would continue to open our eyes to the women You are knitting our hearts too.  Help us to be wise with our words as we embrace who we are.  For it is in Jesus name we pray, amen.

© 2016 by Annah Matthews.  All rights reserved.

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Christianity / Devotionals / Encouragement Café / Vulnerable Friendships - Encouragement Café - November 24, 2016