One is Silver & the Other Gold...

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

It's really no secret that I'm super extroverted... 
{although...those who knew me BEFORE the last couple of years will find that difficult to believe. I will share more about that at another time...}

I love to be {and pretty much HAVE to be} around people as often as possible! 

I love long conversations that go on for hours.

I love laughing so hard until I cannot breathe anymore.

I love any opportunity to be with someone and just encourage one another and grow together.

I just love and need people in my life in order to thrive! We were not created to do life alone, and God wired me {and so many others} with an intense need for close, personal relationships!

So I'm here to talk about those type of friends today...those friends who are practically family. God has been calling me to rekindle some "old friendships" that have pretty much dwindled away over the last few well as to take a brave step in allowing some current friendships to reach that next level of closeness.  Relationships with friends are so essential to our well being! We need those people who can speak truth in love to us...who can help turn us around, or lift us back up when times are too hard to handle alone.

Now...we all know what it's like to be hurt by others.
I can think of two specific instances that just completely ruined me.

The first was something that was said to me directly {and more than once}...that other people do not really care about your struggles. That they are just being polite. And of course they are going to tell you what you want to hear! What else would they say? They don't want to hear your melodramatics. All you want is attention.

The second was a friend, an older and wiser {I thought} friend that I poured out my heart to on a regular basis. She always listened intently and even seemed to offer sound advice. There was nothing I did not share with her. She knew absolutely everything about me...the good, bad, and in between. She presented herself as easily trustworthy, so it came as no surprise that pretty much anyone else who knew her fell for her extra sweet, loving, seemingly genuine exterior. And then we all found out how much of a facade that exterior truly was. I was, along with so many others, completely crushed to discover all of her hidden motives she kept behind her mask of feigned kindness. I was in total disbelief and my heart ached greatly as the same difficult truths were revealed to me through many sources. I cried for an entire week, as if grieving over a death. And in a way, I it was the death of a friendship. I didn't feel like I could ever come back from this...or that I could ever fully trust someone in that way ever again.

We've all been there. We've felt that kind of pain. And, unfortunately, we carry it with us. Even if we don't think about it on a regular basis, it hinders new relationships from growing. 

In college, I was blessed beyond measure by wonderful people with whom I was able to connect! Between brilliant, caring professors, to other talented peers in the music department, I had never been around so many people who could inspire me more, or bless me further than these people from Bethel College could! They were some of the most encouraging, totally authentic, God-loving people! And I wanted to BE them! But still...I kept them at arms length. After being told on many occasions that people didn't really care about me, I was fairly certain that I was not worthy of being loved by these people, or even loving them! They were so amazing! I was not amazing. I could never be like them. In my mind, I was both "unlikeable", and unlovable. As much as I tried to "remake" myself into the kind of person I knew THEY would like, I never truly liked myself. Therefore, I didn't expect anyone else to like me either. Even when I did make a real and genuine connection, I was so convinced that they wouldn't be in it for the long haul anyway. Why invest when they are most likely just going to leave me anyway? What makes me think that I'm capable of being enough to make people want to stay? Apparently the one person I used to trust more than anyone in the world didn't think so.

Since college, I have grown so much as a person, and the Lord has brought even more incredible people into my life. I've even been able to tell when He's been super intentional and said, "Hey, see this person? She's for you. She's a sister-friend." I'm so grateful for these "sister types" in my life. ability to be raw, real, and fully open with them is hindered by past hurts. I just don't think I could handle another horrible heartache. I can't lose someone else THAT important to me again. I desire deeper friendships, and yet I push against that. I fear that if I push for it, that I'll be pushing too hard...and ultimately push them away. These people have never given me any reason to question or doubt them. And they have given me EVERY reason to believe that they are with me to stay. And done nothing but pray for, love, and encourage me. But I wait for the other shoe to drop. 

Can anyone else identify? It's so hard. It's such a self-sabotaging tendency. 
And it's really not fair to them. Because they were not the ones who hurt me. They don't deserve the expectations I've placed on them!

Those old college friendships? They faded away because I chose to end them. I decided that they were insincere people who were just pretending to love me.
The new and current friendships in my life? They don't yet have the depth that I so long for, because I continue to keep them at arms length. I've chosen to believe that they are going to be like these other people who hurt me.

That's not okay.

That's why God is slowly healing my heart, tearing down the walls {click here}. The enemy doesn't like it when God is in ANYTHING! And that includes friendships. So, yes, he's going to try and divide them with doubts and fears. But God can restore everything, if we allow Him. And He can make anything flourish, if we allow Him. I'm excited that He's leading me back to those old friendships, and giving me the desire to be intentional, and continue growing new ones.

Make new friends,
but keep the old.
One is SILVER,
and the other GOLD.

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