About six months into my family and I being settled into our new home in a brand new state, I expressed to my husband that I felt really lonely. I was loving everything about where God had put us. The serenity, beauty, community, our church, and the simple way of life had my heart (still does!), but I still felt like something was missing. Solid relationships and friendships have been important to me since I was a child. Now as a mother of four children, they are really important.
“Well, I think you’re going to have to be intentional in reaching out,” my husband responded being the logical man that he is.
I pouted a bit about it. “Well, I kind of want them to invite me…” I replied.
Then I remembered the popular phrase that goes something like this,
To make a friend, you have to first be a friend.
Deep down, I was waiting for an invitation. And the funny thing is that I already had several invitations from others but I was focusing on the negative and just in a “poor me” state of mind. Have you ever been there? I began praying that God would help me in those feelings of loneliness and I asked him to sort them out for me. I started inviting others for lunch or coffee and began to minister to others, instead of being focused on myself and waiting for others to initiate.
There happened to be two moms who I consistently rubbed shoulders with and enjoyed their company. Out of the blue, I got a text from one who invited me to coffee at her home. I felt like a kid again, excited to be included and invited. The three of us met and talked about life, struggles, and dreams. From that meeting, they asked me about my interest in leading a Bible study. At first I was nervous about starting it from scratch, but I was definitely up for the challenge.
We eventually landed on a book called Calm My Anxious Heart (imagine that!). Over coffee and a sweet snack, we dive into Scripture, pray, and discover how the truths in the book relate to our everyday life. Our Bible study is a highlight of my week and keeps me accountable to reading. Oh, and we don’t forget to laugh either.
Sharing Life in the Mundane
In the wonderful book, Simply Tuesday, author Emily Freeman shares about the importance of having your “Tuesday people.” Tuesday is the most ordinary day of the week. We need those friends that we can share life with in the mundane, small moments of life. Friends that we can be comfortable with letting our insecurities out on the table. We need people who will pull up a chair or sit on a bench beside us and listen to our stories.
While we are still getting to know each other, this group has been that for me and I have been blessed because of it. Ironically, we meet on Tuesday mornings too. Our time together has helped get me out of the lonely zone and into community where people can know who I am and where I can in turn, know who they are and understand their joys and challenges.
You’re Not Alone
If you’re finding yourself stuck in a funk of loneliness, know that you really aren’t alone. Maybe it will mean sending that text and inviting someone into your home. Don’t worry about the mess – all mamas understand that. Maybe it will mean inviting someone to lunch or dinner. It could mean offering to watch someone’s kids so they can have a break. If the sphere of influence God has put you in has its challenges in friendship-making, don’t give up. Solid friendships take time and you may have to seek them out, but they will be worth it.
We live in a well-connected society digitally, yet many of us remain disconnected and lonely in our relationships. The good thing is that we can do something about it by extending a hand and inviting someone to sit on the bench with us in the real, ordinary days of life.
Who knows, maybe God will do something great in your relationships as you first seek to be a friend to someone else.