I’m not really into New Years Resolutions very much. I mean, I’ve done the umpteen years of “going to lose weight” stuff like everyone else, but I’ve never really explored the idea of making serious resolutions to change something…and stuck with it. However, I’m considering the idea very seriously right now. It’s kind of come up over the past few weeks in regards to something we’ve noted in one of our daughters. The resolution I’m considering is that of becoming a better friend.
2nd man and I have been noticing a level of self-consciousness that seems to be brewing in our growing girls. I’ve defended it, considering it an age issue since they are coming up on their pre-teen years. However, I do see his point too. I do wish for my girls, well, all my kids to be confident. Not necessarily cocky, or proud in themselves, but confident in who they are in Christ and as our children. Confident that no matter what happens out in the world, they come home to a place where they are loved and appreciated for who God made them to be. But how does one create this in their child? You may wonder what this has to do with my resolution of being a better friend, but hang in here with me for a minute.
Just this morning it came up again in a conversation I had with my girls as we were preparing to start school. One of them mentioned that they are shy sometimes (trust me not all the time you should see this girl jabber on around her friends). That’s when I tried to share with them that shyness (as I understand it) is really a form of selfishness. It’s saying that, “I’m thinking only of myself and how I feel in this place or situation.” I went on to explain that their daddy and I are both kind of naturally shy. “But you don’t come across shy at church, Momma.” One of them responded. To which I explained that 2nd man and I both work at being outgoing to others at church. If I had the luxury of only thinking of myself, I’d go sit in the pew and just soak in the quiet moments before the service. Instead, I try hard to go around the room and greet people. It’s not being a fake. It’s thinking of others before myself as Philippians 2:3 tells us to. “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves” I’m not perfect at this. I know I still shy away from some uninviting faces, or those whose names I probably can’t remember, but I do try to be friendly to everyone.
However, this has me thinking of how my influence may be a help or a detriment to my kids. Not only that, how is it a detriment to my own friendships? As a child I was a people pleaser. I relished the times when my parents, friend, teachers etc. were pleased with something I had done. I even came to a time in my life where I questioned my salvation, wondering if I had just been trying to please my Sunday School teacher who I adored. This people pleasing quality is a hard characteristic to keep up with, however. When I didn’t please, I felt like a failure. And if I disagreed with someone else, I’d rather be hanged than to voice it. (a wimpy trait I know). Anyway, I worked hard through high school trying to please everyone. Leaving me with a shallow level of popularity, but a very poorly defined perspective of who I was or what I really stood for. My spiritual life was vague and nearly non-existent past the belief that I was a saved child of God.
When I finally surrendered my life to Christ in my early twenties, and determined to serve him, I was years behind where I should have been for my age. I’ve spent the better part of my adulthood honing the skills of standing for Christ and the Word even when it displeases people. I’ve learned so much from my husband and am in awe of his boldness with love.
However, all of this has left me gun shy in the area of friendship. With whom do I share my intimate thoughts? I’ve been pretty content with it being God and the 2nd man. But, I can’t ignore the fact that God has sent some pretty special people across my path to who I should be a better friend. Honestly, it burdens me and scares me a little. I think it’s because of my scatterbrain. I can’t even keep up with my facebook birthday reminders. My cell phone is dead more times than not. And I am sometimes at a loss for conversation. How do I keep up? Will they forgive me when I don’t?
I think of Dalene, clear over in Germany who faithfully reads these posts of mine. I’m so bad about talking with you my dear sweet friend and missionary. I do love you and pray for you, but you wouldn’t really know that would you? Please forgive me. I’m gonna try to do better.
There’s Missy and Melanie, my wonderful friends from the past who knew me when I was so ugly, but still stuck with me. I don’t contact you nearly as often as I should.
Why, my own family suffers from my neglect. Mom, Dad and my brother, Jeff and his family, I maybe call once a week. Well, Jeffy gets it fewer times than that.
Ok, I’m stopping with the confessions. Sorry if I left you out of my list. The point is, Proverbs 18:24 says A man that hath friends must show himself friendly… I am resolved to show myself friendly to more people this year. To step outside myself and, with God confidence, put others at ease and make them feel welcome and know they are important. My prayer is that it will not only grow me as a person and Christian, but translate to my kids as well. I read a quote by someone (can’t remember who) that said something to the effect of…unspoken gratitude is of use to nobody. So, I’m gonna step out and speak up.
Starting with you, if you’re reading this post. Thank you for logging on and reading. It means more to me than you’ll ever know. I hope it will bless you in some way, even if it’s a good laugh.