You Don’t Have To Be Best Friends With Everyone
My heart immediately sunk to my stomach as I heard about the super fun night I wasn’t invited to. The more I listened the more it was disclosed–we had been left out again. “But why did they invite every other young couple we know but not us?!” I said to my husband, desperate to understand. “Maybe it’s because you’re so quiet. Or maybe it’s because I’m so obnoxious! Maybe they just don’t like me for some reason.”
Have you been there? Circumstances like this can be painful and revealing of the pride in our hearts. I write this as a gal who has not overcome this issue in its entirety. I’m speaking from the trenches, but I am growing. Maybe you’re in the trenches too, and could benefit from hearing what God is teaching me.
It’s Not Possible
Reality check: You cannot be close to every girl you meet, nor should you be.
If you are “best friends” with everyone then you are not a best friend to all of them. You can’t have true, biblical friendships with that many people. You can and should love all of your sisters in Christ but that is not the same as being close to them.
I have wrestled with feeling like I needed to befriend every young woman in my church for many years, and it left me feeling hurt and rejected. I had to ask myself some questions: what am I pursuing and why do I feel this way?
Acceptance. That’s what.
My identity depended on it. That’s why.
This alarmed me, because deep down it lifted the veil to my pride. I needed people to like me in order to feel accepted and worthy of love. Wait a second, aren’t I already fully accepted and loved by Jesus? And isn’t my identity supposed to be in him?
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-3 ESV)
My life–my identity– is hidden in Christ, not the acceptance of others.
It also revealed that I was pursuing friendship for all the wrong reasons.
I have this annoying tendency to not fully notice someone until they become friends with one of my close friends. Then, in my mind I’m all like, why don’t you wanna be my friend? and feel the immediate NEED for them to be in my life. First of all, how rude?! Secondly, this uncovers my fear of being left out.
I have to ask myself, am I really wanting to be a friend to this person or am I just scared that if I’m not they’ll make plans with my friends without me? Unfortunately, I think it’s the latter.
So often, we pursue friendship for our own selfish gain. Whether it’s for status, popularity, or simply because we want to feel included, we often befriend a person to get something from them. This is not the model Jesus displayed with his life. He pursued his disciples to give them life rather than to take something from them. He continually served them (John 13:1-17).
Following in Christ’s footsteps, when we seek a woman out to be her friend we should not look to her to give us anything, but instead seek out opportunities to be a blessing to her life. But who should we befriend?
God Given Friends
When I finally grew weary of my failure to become best friends with all the younger gals, God began to open my eyes to other women I hadn’t considered. It’s not that they weren’t sweet godly women, but they were in a different life stage so I had viewed them as unreachable. Surely, they wouldn’t want to hang out with me. I don’t even have kids!
I was wrong. Now some of those very women have become incredibly dear to my heart and I treasure their friendships eminently.
Be open to who God wants you to be friends with. Just because a gal is toting around toddlers like you doesn’t mean she’s a woman God plans on using to sanctify and encourage you. Likewise, you may not be the sister he wants to use in her life. Pray that he would show you who he wants you to befriend, and that he’d bring women into your line of sight so that you can serve them.
Someone very wise once told me: When you’re feeling left out, reach out.
Notice a group is going out to lunch after church and you missed the invite? Look around for someone else who wasn’t invited and ask them to lunch. When we take our eyes off of ourselves and focus on others, we learn to be outward focused rather than looking inward and wallowing in our hurt.
There are people around you feeling exactly how you are, and you could be the one to make them feel included. After all, isn’t that more important than some cookout you missed? I think so.