“The secret to finding and keeping lasting friendships: become women who want to see the women around them flourish.” – Lisa-Jo Baker
We all crave connection. Between our God, children, spouse, family, and friends. Some connections are easier than others. For some of you, for myriads of reasons, that connection is harder to foster. When you learn to flourish in your relationships, not only will you learn to grow and learn, those around you will also see the same life change. We must learn to become patient with ourselves as we learn to flourish, and patient with others if we want to help them flourish. The Bible talks about patience in 1 Corinthians 13. Jesus himself was patient with so many people during his lifetime, including those closest to him: his disciples. His inner circle was filled with shortcomings, but Jesus still loved them and took the time to help each one learn to be a better person.
What would happen if we treated our relationships in this manner? Who have you fallen out with? Who have you wronged? Who have you forgotten recently? Who has caused you to withdraw? Who are you afraid to talk to? Perhaps you don’t have trust issues with other women. Perhaps you’ve struggled with your own problems for so long, you’ve withdrawn into yourself to the point you’ve shut yourself off from connections. Perhaps you don’t think others will understand, or listen. Perhaps you’re just an introvert and connections are harder for you. Listen to me: it’s okay. All of it is okay. Life is hard. Connecting is hard. Being transparent is hard. Christ told us this journey would be difficult. But mama, as hard as all of this may seem at the moment, there is infinite beauty in this journey God has set you on. There are still thousands of moments to take your breath away, to make you realize it’s worth it all.
In what ways can you learn to be more patient with those around you? Have you prayed for anyone recently? Have you called up another frazzled soul and offered coffee? A play date? Shared a meal? Maybe schedule a weekend retreat where you can rest, refocus, and get back on track. Reach out. Be the voice. Learn the art of affirmation. The word literally means “to make firm.” Speak truth to and encourage the lives of those around you. Let them know someone believes in them. Build trust in those relationships; learn to be vulnerable. Listen to what they say. Let them know they are truly heard. Stand back and be amazed at what God will do with patience, prayer, affirmation, encouragement, trust and listening to others in your connections.
Leave behind the hurt, betrayal and lies. If a friendship was truly unhealthy for you, then it is time to move on. If it is something worth holding on to, put the effort in to help it flourish. True friendship should never be, “Look what I’ve done for you!” but rather, “What can I do for you?”
When you focus on learning to flourish in your connections with your God and friends, you are approaching the throne of God with humility. Your attitude is no longer all about you, but for those around you. Imagine if we all poured more effort into flourishing in our relationships. What kind of impact would we have on our connections and communities? To dig deeper, read these verses: Proverbs 27:9, James 5:16, Galatians 6:2, John 1:7-8.