Making friends can be difficult, especially as we get older. When we were in school there were endless ways to meet people and find a friend group. I quickly learned after graduating from college that it was a lot harder to find a good group of friends. I also realized if I wanted to find friends, it was going to take some work on my end. I knew that my life had changed drastically and I now needed to be more intentional with who I decided to surround myself with in this new phase of life. As a natural introvert, I was slightly terrified at the thought of going outside my comfort zone to make new friends. I heard about small groups at my church and how my life would change in the context of relationships. I figured it was the best chance I had at finding friends in a new city with knowing hardly anyone.
I've told this story many times before because it's honestly a huge testimony for me on how amazing small groups are and how I found friends. I wanted to write this post because I know so many people struggle with this as they enter new phases in life. Trust me, I understand! It's scary and terrifying but if you're willing to work at it, allow the awkward moments, put yourself out there, and go outside of your comfort zone then it will pay off.
Here was my scenario...I found a few small groups on our church directory, decided on the ones I would check out and then I went....all...by...myself. Talk about terrifying! I had to do a TON of self talk because I honestly almost talked myself out of it every step of the way. When the night came to go I thought of why I should stay home... then as I got in the car I thought of why I should turn around... then as I got to the house I thought of why I shouldn't go in the door. But I forced my little introverted self to put my best foot forward and walk in the door. I didn't let fear keep me from making the best decision of my life. I prayed for friends and after showing up and making the connections week after week, I found the best friends of my life!
So here is my challenge to you if you're currently in a spot where you need a crew...fight through the fear! No one likes to be vulnerable or feel awkward, but sometimes we have to put ourselves out there and let the walls down. We also have to have some grace when it comes to dealing with other people. I had to learn to have grace and not get offended when people would cancel plans or change plans. I often read into things and perceived situations incorrectly due to insecurities, but I had to overcome it to see the truth. I also had to learn that most people may not think about asking you to hang out, but it doesn't mean they don't want to hang out with you. I would always be the first to ask people to hang out and I constantly made myself available for the beginning of this new season because I knew if I didn't that it would be a bigger challenge to find friends. There were so many things I learned through this process but the biggest thing was to never give up and keep showing up.
As I continually showed up and made the time and overcame the fears/ obstacles in my head, then I slowly began to find my people. I found people that I could take the mask off with and truly be myself. I found people that could give me Godly advice and wisdom. People that truly care about me and my well-being. I began to grow with these people and make memories.
"So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity." Colossians 3:12-14
I think this verse is a beautiful example of how we should treat friendship and form friendship. In order to make friendship work we need to mix in all these things referenced in this verse. I'm not anywhere close to perfect at these things and I recognize the areas that I need to work on as well, but it's something I strive for all the time. I constantly try to look inward and pray about how I can be a better friend and produce this type of good fruit. God seems to always pinpoint areas where I can improve and then uses it to allow me to help someone else walking through something similar.
I hope this will encourage you in your own pursuit of friendship. I hope you will go outside the fear and beyond the obstacles holding you back so that you will find the best friends of your life. I hope you will overcome what's hurt you in the past that's hindering future and current relationships. Most of all I hope you will be brave and find your people. I'm praying with you friend! You've got this!
Lord, help me to find the people that you have for me. Help me to find good friends that will be great influences in my life. Help me to overcome and be brave when the fear hits me. Help me to form lasting friendships and to find those meant for me in this season of life. In Jesus name, Amen.
Written from Church Street Coffee & Books