July 23, 2012

Walls

**WARNING: This is a long one.**

Friendships.  Relationships.  BFFs.  These are usually right up there at the top of the list for things we women are talking about or want to learn more about.  That's because of how God wired us.  Right from the beginning Eve was made to be Adam's helpmate. We are more emotion driven than men.  We are made to be in relationships and care about others.  We raise the children, tend to the sick, nurture the hurting.  We are happiest when surrounded by our loved ones.

And yet in our modern world there are more and more of us (myself included) that find it difficult to form relationships with other women.  I don't have the answers to why that is so wide spread.  I just know that it is.  We still crave those friendships and connections, but somehow they just don't happen.  I want, today, to share some things that have been happening in my life when it comes to relationships.

I've been praying about my lack of close relationships for quite a while.  I've shared on here how Satan attacks me in this area....often making me feel like an outsider at church or Bible study or the women's group.  I recognize that my personality is more introverted and quiet and that I can be content to be alone, but I still need relationships.  I do, indeed, crave them and feel incomplete without them.

Building Walls
If you remember, the women's group from my church had an overnight retreat a few weeks ago.  The topic the leaders chose to work with was the Holy Spirit.  Friday night was pretty basic stuff...who is the Spirit, when does he come to us, how does he work, etc.  One of the things taught was how we are made of three parts...body, soul, and spirit.  We talked about how we take the hurts of our lives and build walls around our souls that keep God from flooding us with his Spirit.  God took that another direction for me.  He made it very clear to me that while I had torn down enough of the walls to let him in I had kept enough up to keep his people out.  Not good.  He let me know that yes, he could use me as I am, BUT....he can't use me the way he wants to or give me all that he has for me until I tear down those walls and let his people in.

Now I don't know about you, but I suspect if you have trouble with friendships you're like me.  There are a lot of hurts in your past (and probably in your present, too).  My walls are built thick and tall.  The stones in the oldest parts go all the way back to my childhood.  The newest stones have been laid just recently.  The sad fact is, letting people get close means they're going to hurt you sometimes.  We learn to build these walls to shield our hearts from the pain.  Talk about a catch-22.  We avoid some of that emotional pain, but we are still in pain because we aren't functioning the way God created us to!

Last week I met with one of the pastors from my church.  F is a very warm person.  She draws other women like honeysuckle draws bees.  F is also one of the most knowledgeable Bible scholars I know and her walk with the Lord...let me tell you, the woman absolutely glows with the joy of knowing him.  If you spend even a few minutes with her you will see her spiritual gifts and the fruits of the Spirit in action.  She is, in short, one of those believers you look at and think, "I want that.  I want what she has."

Getting back to our lunch....

It took me a while to spit it out, but I finally told her what God had been saying to me and admitted I didn't know how to tear those walls down.  I was floored when she told me she knew.  That she had seen that I was always on the outside looking in and that she had been praying for me for a while now.  She shared some things from her own life that were very similar to things in mine and she gave me some advice about taking down the walls.  Prayer is the most important step.  Staying in the Word.  Being in God's presence.  And the tough part, for me, taking a chance.  Reaching out to the other women.  Sharing with them (that doesn't mean baring every detail of my soul and life with everyone that comes along).  Trusting them enough to give them a chance.  And the big one?  She strongly suggested I confess to the women that I've held them at bay, that while I desire their friendship I haven't been able to trust them, but that God is working on me and I'm going to try.  Then I need to ask them to help me do it.  To call me on it if they see me hanging back. To encourage me when I get it right.  To give me another chance.

Tumbling Walls
I have to tell you, I am scared to death, but I keep reminding myself that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  And I have to tell you that taking the chance and letting F in was the best thing I could have done.  The devil tells me I'm alone, invisible, unworthy, unwanted, unloved....and then here is someone that I admire and hold in high esteem who knew my pain and had already been praying.  She cares about me.  She prays for me.  She believes in me.  She sees worth in me.  She values me.  She loves me.  Me!!  If she can do that, then there have to be others.  And if she can do that, just think how much greater is God's love.

The walls are crumbling, ladies, and I'm scared, but I'm also....anticipating and excited to see what God's going to do once they're down.



419.  God, that you speak to broken hearts.

420.  Wise teachers.

421.  Courage to try.

422.  That no stone is so big, so heavy, so long set that it can't be torn away.

423.  A family...father, mother, two little blond girls...that walk the neighborhood and have such adventures and joy along the way...befriending the dogs and leaving treats on the porch when no one's home.

424.  A generous friend who offers her peaceful home by the lake for prayer any time, whether she is there or not.

425.  A job for a daughter.

426.  A grandson due to arrive in the world at any time.

427.  Peace that finally comes in acceptance.

428.  New glasses to see clearly.

8 comments:

Rochelle@AFamilyofLooneys said...

Stacy you are not unwanted or unloved. Thank you for being a good blog friend to me. Don't be scared you can do this. God is with you.

Stacy said...

Rochelle...thank you. :) I will get there. I'm not a total emotional cripple, but letting people get in close enough to hurt me definitely has to be an intentional thing. For now. I hope it comes naturally one day. It used to.

Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e/Mrs. Seaman) said...

Oh, making friends is so hard. I work with mostly women, and I'm close to two of them, but it's rare we see each other over the summer.

I think of your work, and I know how solitary it is, even though you're surrounded by people.

Church, for me, is THE hardest place to make friends. It can be like HS, so clique-filled. When people only see each other there once a week, they tend to gravitate toward each other and not include others. I have experienced that too. It's hard to break in.

Risky for you, yes, but I'm so proud you've made this a goal!

mare ball said...

Trust is such a tough one. All our relationships are based on that, and if we've been hurt, it's very difficult to take that leap of faith. Luckily, God is trustworthy.

Janice's footsteps said...

Give it to God lay it down at His feet and he will help you through this adventure. deep breath and know you are loved and special and no one is going to hurt you because you have the Lords loving embrace around you!

Stacy said...

Ellen...it is hard work! And you are right about church being a difficult place to make connections. It can be very clique-y. :( The group I go to really isn't as bad, but you know our story and because of it, I probably have the hardest time trusting church people because they have hurt me intentionally...and they are the ones who are supposed to know and behave better.

Mare...That he is! That's why I'm even making the effort. :)

Janice...thank you for those words of encouragement!

Wendy S. said...

I so indentify with your post about letting people in, esp. women. To be betrayed by a g.f. to me is worse than being betrayed by a significant other. I think introverted people have more trouble than our fellow extraverts in forming deep friendships because we want them so badly but trust is a big issue. I think you praying and connecting to other women is right on task, Stacy.

Christina said...

I can relate to the hesitation to jump in to friendships. I have to remind myself that Jesus knew the pain of rejection and denial from his friends. Yet, He still sufferred and died for them. I pray for grace that I will have the same heart for others as well. May He bless you with friends who love you as you are. Thanks for sharing this!

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