Last night I went to my church’s fellowship night. Every couple of months our church has a meal together on a Sunday night, it gives everyone a chance to hang out together and eat. I have to admit to you if I am honest, I really don’t particularly look forward to these events. Why? It seems like a perfectly wonderful thing to do, right? Well, it reminds me of the junior high lunch room. See we are all just our junior high selves sometimes in adult bodies. Thank goodness we aren’t doing the acne and braces thing anymore, but I still feel like that awkward nerd of a preteen I was 20 years ago sometimes in social situations. You know that feeling when you walk into a room of people and have to find someplace to sit. It’s just an awkward moment. I think it’s even more awkward if your family it’s quite “normal”. I don’t think people avoid us intentionally but it can be alot to handle, our six kids two of which have special needs. I don’t think people know how to approach us. I felt upset about this fact for a while and then I remembered an old adage I heard growing up, “to have a friend you have to be a friend”. It’s still true. I can feel sorry for myself or I can get up and do something about it. I can reach out to those around me and try to make connections with people. I don’t think we are very good at this in our modern culture. Social media and cell phones have made our people skills face to face suffer. So I started thinking about ways I can change this.
1.Make Time- having friends takes time. I cannot be busy all the time and then expect to be able to maintain friendships, you have to spend time with someone to be their friend. So many people nowadays are so busy. Just going here and there and everywhere. Glenn and I have tried to keep this to a minimum and allow space in our lives for spontaneous get togethers with other people. If someone calls and asks if we have plans that day, most of the time we don’t. We try to make having extra time in our schedules a priority.
2. Be There- I have a friend who I have known since we were kids. She has a wonderful way of just showing up when I need her. She doesn’t ask me if she can come or if there is anything I need, she just comes. She was there when I met Kaki at the airport for the first time when she came home from Hong Kong. She was there when we all had the flu with chicken soup in hand. She was the first face I saw when I arrived at the hospital to give birth to Andrew, our son who had passed away. She just shows up. I want to be like that. I want to be someone who just shows up in people’s lives when they need someone most. In order to do that I have to be someone people can count on and I have to listen and read between the lines to see what people need.
3. Don’t be selfish. You know those friends you have who are always keeping score on who did what in the friendship? You always feel like you owe them something or they expect something. Or those people who are always talking about themselves and never ask how you are? We all have friends like that. One thing I am trying to really work on is not being selfish. I don’t want to keep tabs on whether I had this person over last or not, I just want to call them up and spend time with them. I don’t want to just talk about myself or my problems but ask more questions about the other person. Jesus calls us to be selfless in our relationships, that is not an easy thing to do, but people will want to be around someone who is selfless much more than they will someone is thinks only about themselves.
If you find yourself lonely, in need a friends, remember these three things. I am trying to practice them in my own life and I know in time they will pay off in my relationships.