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Regardless of our current stage in life, we all want acceptance. We see others we’d like to associate with and wish for someone to include us…for someone to draw us in…for someone to simply invite us to be part of “the group”.
Oh… We may be a few years older and wiser at this stage in life. And although we’re no longer in elementary school or high school- just the same- those feelings we experienced during our younger years have sure enough carried over into adulthood.
“Pick me to be on your team!” You inwardly yearn, like the last child picked for the kickball game, as you see a group of moms in your church (or at the park) chatting and laughing together like the close knit bunch they are.
Perhaps, you are somewhat shy, though. Or perhaps you’re just a little concerned that you don’t have all the qualities you need to fit in with the group.
Maybe you lack confidence… Or maybe you just don’t see yourself having as much to offer the group as they do…
Whatever the case, to sum it all up, you simply feel insecure in comparison to them, and so you find continual excuses to remain in your own little box… just waiting… hoping… one day they’ll extend the olive branch of friendship your way.
Oh dear Mama… May I encourage you?
You are so much more than what all of those misperceptions and feelings of insecurity are telling you.
No, maybe, you don’t see yourself as having all of the outward qualities you so admire in these other moms.
Perhaps their style and what they can afford is slightly better than what you feel you have. Maybe they are in better physical shape than you right now. Maybe a few of them even carry themselves with a little more confidence than you do…
But you know what?! You’ve got things going for you too…And in ways they could also benefit from!
You have the ability to be sincere and kind… You are hospitable and caring… You are compassionate and considerate… All qualities that would make any person an excellent candidate for friendship.
No, you may never be a carbon copy of these other moms, even if you tried…
But then again, God never intended you to be that way anyway. He equipped you with talents, grace, wisdom, and a beautiful personality that is unique to you…and for the benefit of others as well.
And although we are different, we can all learn from each other.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 NIV
Yes, we can all benefit from each other’s strengths, gaining more strength ourselves as we work together and learn from those who are more skilled in areas where we are weak.
We are beautifully different, and that’s what helps us grow! We all have something to contribute…as we each serve each other as “iron sharpening iron” in our own unique ways.
Something I’ve learned over the years, both during my high school years as well as during my adult life is this…
Don’t wait for others to include you. Take the initiative! Be the one to make others feel comfortable in their own skin, and in the process you will be a blessing and make many friends as well.
Does it make us feel validated when others do include us? Oh yes. Absolutely!
But the danger in always waiting for others to draw us in is that we limit ourselves, failing to capitalize on great friendships we could have had if only we had taken the steps to reach out and had simply been a friend ourselves.
John 5:1-18 is an account in the Bible that actually reminds me of this scenario. While it is actually the story of Jesus healing a paralytic who was waiting beside a pool for many years, wanting someone to help him get in the pool at the right time for his healing, I believe we can see a parallel in it with regards to our current topic.
You see, the man in the story (who was a paralytic for 38 years) never received help year after year from others… which is where it seems he thought everyone else found their success in getting healed.
“Sir,” the invalid replied,“I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” John 5:7
Like the paralytic, you may sometimes think to yourself… “I just wish someone would invite me into their group. The reason I don’t have great friends is because no one has ever included me. So, here I am on the outside looking in… Just waiting for an invitation. Maybe one day they’ll invite me out for lunch.”
Um… May I encourage you again?
It’s time to allow Jesus to heal the wounds you have on the inside from perhaps past disappointments and unmet expectations, and “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” John 5:8
Unfortunately, like the paralytic, you may never get the “invitation” you’re waiting for….from people.
But honestly, you shouldn’t be waiting on them to “carry” you into and through a friendship anyway.
What we all really need is a healing touch in our hearts from Jesus, where He causes us to stand up on the inside- giving us the inner confidence and validation we need- and where He also gives us the strength to take the initiative for ourselves.
“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly…” Proverbs 18:24a KJV
When I was growing up, something I remember my mom teaching me which is in line with the above Bible verse was the following statement: “Kindness is always in style.” Such a simple idea but a totally awesome nugget of truth.
Be friendly. Be approachable. Be humble and kind. None of us has arrived and we’re all looking for genuine friends that we can bless and that will be a blessing in our lives as well.
We may come in all shapes and sizes, but each of us comes equipped with a unique personality, talents, experiences, and a life that is created to be a blessing… if we allow the Lord to use our lives such a way.
No, Dear Friends… Don’t allow inferiority to hold you back from all that God has for you, and especially don’t allow it to keep you from initiating those relationships with others that will end up being a blessing to all involved.
You’re an amazing treasure that God wants to bless and use as a blessing to others….And you- Yes, you- are so worth friending.
So, dare to be bold and take the initiative in forming new friendships.
…It can all start by you simply saying “Hello”.
(P.S. And by the way, dear Mamas…Be sure to teach this to your kids now, so that they don’t wait all of their lives for others to choose them either. Encourage them to also begin taking the initiative in friendships. Being friendly, showing kindness and displaying a genuine interest in others is a great starting point.)