Let me start this post off by saying this; I have always struggled with friendships. I am the type of person who will be fiercely loyal to anyone that I get close enough with to actually establish a friendship. I will be there for you whether you live in Africa or my own state, whether we’ve met in person or not, whether it is lunchtime or four in the morning. And when my friends are not the same way with me, I begin to feel very unimportant. I began putting every ounce of my self worth into my friends – what they did for me, what they said about me, what they posted about me. Everything I liked about myself revolved around my friendships. Everything I said revolved around my friendships. I wanted to be liked by these people, so I tried molding myself into some sort of copy. I’d get involved in whatever they liked so we could get some good rapport going. In short, I had a lot of different versions of myself, and I realized that I had no idea who I was outside of my friends. And this may seem odd because I have never had a large group of friends. In fact, at this very moment, I can’t say that I have a single close friend. The biggest group of friends that I have ever had was made up of about 5-6 people, most of whom I met online through blogging or horses, and our interaction was limited to some skype dates, texting and the very rare phone call. And I was very content with this. I began acting like them, trying to fit in, have rapport, have good conversations, but then, slowly but surely, those friends began dropping off the face of the earth. And I will be clear on this- those people, those friends? They are good people. All of them. I did not have a single bad friend. I have struggled with attempting friendships that are “unequally yoked” and those friendships ended up faltering because of this, but as far as their friendship went, they didn’t just start ignoring me in order to hurt me, these are just things that happen in life. Friends come, and friends go. I don’t blame any particular person for these friendships going downhill, and I’ve learned not to blame myself. But this has been a great lesson for me. I’ve learned how to be my own person based on how God calls me, what He calls me to do, what scripture says…as opposed to what friend #1 says, what they want me to do, and so on.
There is a danger in friendships. Not just those unequally yoked friendships that we may try to have with an unsaved person, or maybe just with someone who is a bit argumentative, or that just completely clashes with our personalities. Sometimes, we just don’t mesh well with others, and that’s okay. We can’t be best friends with everyone, and even though Christ calls us to be friends- family, really – with fellow believers, that doesn’t necessarily mean we have to go hang out with them every weekend and be BFF’s. We have to be there for one another, but there is a difference. But no, there is a danger in every kind of friendship if we don’t watch ourselves. You see, when you find someone that you like, romantically or not, you automatically get this urge to please them. If they dress a certain way, you may think, hey, if I dress this way, we’ll have something else in common. If they like this music, we should try it, too. If they do this, or this, we should try, too. Or, at the very least, I had this issue. I found myself stripping off the layers that made me the person that I am and replacing them with these random things that would make other people like me. Because the things I enjoy weren’t helping me at all – when I was being myself, I had no friends. I was being shunned everywhere. I felt like an outcast everywhere; in my youth group, in my family, in my random little social circles. So, why not act like them? Why not take away those things that people found boring and replace them with something that would get some attention on this little social outcast?
This is a dangerous road to go down.
I’ve never been big on the whole “love yourself” movement, I’m naturally a more blunt, to-the-point, honest, realistic person. I think that everyone should love themselves, respect themselves, but frankly, I find these movements overwhelmingly cheesy. Love my imperfections? I’d rather work on those things and make them into something better. So this post is a bit uncharacteristic of me, and I’m going to say something that I never really thought would come out of me, not because I don’t believe it, but because I’m a perfectionist and I would rather notice the bad parts of myself and fix it rather than just pretend that I’m perfect and lovely and worthy, but love yourself. Love yourself, love your quirks, love your interests, love your hobbies, love your style, love your passions. Because God gave you those things. When you are a Christian and seeking after the Lord, He is going to show you who you truly are through Him. He’s going to give you these little spiritual gifts and He wants you to use them. Instead of trying to fit into society and be like them so you can have a group of friends, be the person who God intended you to be. You may not get a bunch of wonderful, lasting friendships, but you do have Him, and you’ll have peace knowing that you are seeking after His approval, not the world’s. Not your friends. His approval.
God put you in your body for a reason. He put you in your life for a reason. He gave you those passions for a reason. I pray that I stop worrying about what people think about these passions and start asking God…how can I use these passions for Your glory? Instead of erasing my beliefs, my convictions, my passions, I should be seeking Him so I can figure out why He gave me these things, and what He wants me to do with them. I pray that I stop hindering God and questioning why He made me this certain way, and just let Him work. God’s approval should always come before approval from people, regardless of how wonderful they seem or how badly we want to be friends with them.
In the last few months, He’s worked on my heart, and this week…I think I’ve finally gotten the big picture. I’ve met a handful of Godly people, and when I say Godly, I mean you can just see Him in their hearts, in their words, in their actions. And I look at them, and I see someone who is seeking after God. Only God. People who are brave, and confident in the Lord. People who are preaching the word, preaching the truth with love and not defiling themselves or the gospel, just preaching the gospel of Christ. I want to be like that. I want to be so full of Christ that people can see that after one conversation. I want to be filled with Him, I want to go where He leads, I want to say what He wants me to say, I want to be seeking after Him so closely that I know how to do these things. And I can’t seek after Him in that way if I’m seeking after friends, or acceptance in this world.