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.
Very insightful post. It’s amazing how middle schoolish we can still feel as grownups isn’t it? I love this: “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. ” So true. It’s also an important message to pass on to our children. This post gave me a lot to think about . . .
Yes! We can still feel like we’re in Jr high for sure, lol. And I agree, we should definitely pass these things on to our kids. It’s so important to remember! Especially during those teenage years. Thanks for reading!
Love this!! I’ve been struggling with this in this season of my life. It’s great to know others struggle with this too. Praying we both begin to understand the friendships that God wants us to make!
Girl, it can be so hard! It’s easy to feel hurt and rejected by others. But we have to remember Gods sovereignty and protection. He knows what’s best. Praying for you today, friend!
Thank-you for sharing from a place of vulnerability about what Jesus is speaking to your heart now. I know that it will help other women because the need for acceptance and belonging goes deep in so many of us.
And this… “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,” is perfect!
Thank you for your kind words, Wendy! I truly hope God will use it to encourage women.
I loved this post! Sometimes our perception of reality can block our view of what God has for us. Thank you for this wonderful reminder!
So, so true friend! And he knows what’s best!
This was exctly what I needed to hear. Thank you!
I’m so glad God used it to encourage you! Thanks for reading!
So true! I really like your way of turning the situation around from feeling sad and disappointed, to reaching out and interacting with the people who are around you, even when you are nervous that they won’t want to hang out. 🙂
I’ve found that’s the key to taking our eyes off our hurt feelings and it brings tremendous healing to focus on others. 🙂
So true,us women are complex.at times we don’t really know why we behave the way we do.
Isn’t that the truth?! Lol we are definitely complex creatures! Thanks for reading!
Lord help me to be more outward focused. I’m guilty of being more about “why didn’t they invite me” than “why didn’t they invite them”. You have a great idea. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.
This really hit home! Over the weekend I was flooded with pictures from old friends who went to another (old) friend’s wedding, in which I was unsurprisingly not invited to. It had me wondering and questioning….thanks for sharing!
Great reminder to look around when feeling left out. I love that! First time checking out your blog and I plan to come back! Love the layout too. I am a fellow compel member but don’t have a blog yet:)
Oh my goodness I love this <3 It's so true and everyone struggles with this at one point or another! Thank you so much for sharing these words!!!
You’re welcome! I agree, it definitely a common struggle.
I LOVE this post! In my opinion I actually don’t think it’s healthy to be best friends with everyone. I use the Jesus model. He spoke to everyone but only had 3 people in his inner circle. Thanks for sharing.
Yes! Love the Jesus model. It makes so much sense!