From the Learn To Be Content Series
Developing strong friendships as an adult is hard work. Many adults, young mothers in particular, don’t have strong friendships since they take time that we don’t have. Seems like everything as an adult takes work and takes maneuvering, but some things, no matter how much planning or crafting you put into it you just can’t control the outcome.
It’s actually quite annoying when you think about it. You can’t control your ethnicity, your upbringing, or your spouse’s choices. You can’t control where you grew up, what your parents taught or didn’t teach you. You can’t control naptime (not ultimately) or if you have a good nights rest, regardless of if you have children or not.
And you can’t control friendships.
Does that sound depressing? It can be. For many years I had regrets about things I could not control. Have you gone through this yet? Probably, if you have a controlling personality like I do. Is that what they call type A people? I certainly am one of those.
Well this is why I’ve been grappling with two things lately but I’ll only discuss one today: my lack of strong friendships. You could also say deep friendships or real friends. Acquaintances yes, associates yes, church family for sure, but I don’t have someone that I can just let my heart out to (besides my Dear Husband of course). Someone that truly shares the same interests as I do. It’s aggravating, to say the least.
But as I read Philippians 4:10-13:
But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
I thought about what Paul was saying in terms of friends. I know it’s not a direct correlation but stay with me.
Paul was talking about receiving care from the church, and care is what I seek in friendship. Isn’t it the same for you?
Paul realized they hadn’t sent care because the opportunity wasn’t there. God sends us opportunities when the time is right. This means it’s out of our control. If the opportunity doesn’t exist then it was the Lord’s will that it NOT exist! I know that’s hard to swallow but if friendships aren’t there God has meant for them to not exist at this time. I’m not saying don’t be friendly, the Bible tells us so. Think of others interests, don’t be self-centered. But after you’ve been friendly, caring, loving, looking out for others and giving of yourself, if the friendships still aren’t there be as Paul was when the Philippians provision was not there and they lacked opportunity.
He understood. He didn’t say, “Where have you been!” or “Don’t you know I’ve been sick and suffering all these years? Now you just pop out of nowhere, thinking I should be thankful.” That would be acting out of bitterness. He didn’t make a big deal out of it, he held nothing against them but said that he learned to be content.
Lack of strong friendships, or family relationships can be especially pressing on a new mom.
Without regular support we can become un-sticky wallpaper slumped on the floor.
This can lead to grasping after others or self-pity.
Falling apart leaves us useless for ourselves, our kids and our God. We must trust our Maker to create the circumstances around us that is best to shape us and mature us.
If you feel alone and are growing in bitterness towards those around you or towards God for leaving you without the relationships you think you need –
He hasn’t left you alone, He has a plan for you. You simply need to grow in knowing the plan by knowing Him. He is your best friend and you must work on that relationship first. He is excellent in every way. As we travel along life doing as we should and maturing, I believe, we like Paul, will have care flourish once again in our own lives. Don’t become bitter or self-absorbed. Instead, learn to be content without being in control.
Have you had trouble making strong friendships? Or perhaps you don’t have trouble with that, we’d love to know your insights on how to create opportunities for friends. Tell us in the comments section below!