You know that feeling when you find the perfect pair of jeans (or shoes)? They fit as if they were made specifically for you, and you feel comfortable, strong, confident, and happy! I love that feeling.
I tend to think of my friends in much the same way. People who make me feel comfortable, strong, confident and happy are people I want to keep in my life. And actually, I want them close to me – in my everyday life. I want to be able to pick up the phone and say, ‘Come over. Let’s chat while the kids play.’ Or, ‘Can you go to a movie tonight?’ I want to be able to walk down the sidewalk or drive to the next neighborhood, knock on my friend’s door and know she will let me in and I won’t be imposing upon her. Yes, these are the people who fit. They fit my life, and I fit theirs. Really, I would consider these people my family, not just my friends.
My reality, though, is that none of these people lives down the street, or even in the same town or state. Technology has been great and has allowed me to keep in touch with them, but we all know that isn’t the same. Having a couple of phone conversations each week, or a stream of text messages back and forth, or an unending FB thread is nice, but it isn’t all that I want. I want personal interaction. I want to answer the knock at the door and find a friendly face on the other side – not just a neighborhood kid or someone selling something. I want invitations to come to dinner. I want evenings spent on the back porch huddled around a fire with neighbors while all the kids are sleeping.
The problem is that just when those tight bonds of friendship have formed, it’s time to move again. And lately, there hasn’t even been time for anything more than superficial friendships to form. This summer our family will move again, and it will be the fourth consecutive summer we will have moved. Anyone out there know how long it takes to makes friends in a new place? Well, it usually takes about 6 months for people to notice you exist. This marks the beginning of the superficial/acquaintance type friendships to form. Generally, it takes another 6 months to figure out who you really ‘fit’ with. Once you figure that out, it takes another several months to grow that friendship into something lasting. So, when you only live somewhere for eleven months, you really don’t have the time to make real friends. For me, that is devastating. I rely heavily on my friendships; maybe too much at times.
I get down a lot about not having my friends nearby. When this happens I begin to withdraw from the people who ARE nearby – those who could possibly become another great friend. My insecurities begin to emerge. I put up walls, and pull away because I don’t want to put myself out there, only to be rejected. I convince myself that people don’t really like me. I tell myself I’m not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, rich enough, funny enough, talented enough, skinny enough. Maybe my kids are too annoying, or my breath stinks, or I have an annoying laugh, or my voice isn’t as good as I’d like it to be. These thoughts follow me wherever I go. I can’t escape them.
And then I realize that it isn’t me who is convincing myself I’m not good enough, it’s Satan who is convincing me. He is attacking me – again. Why won’t he just LEAVE ME ALONE? Haven’t I proven to him that he won’t win? Apparently not.
You would think by now that I would stop listening to his lies. But I don’t. I fall for them every. single. time. Today, I’m in the midst of another fight. I want to pick up the phone and make plans for the weekend. But I won’t. I can’t take another rejection, or unanswered call or text. I’m not strong right now. So what will I do? I will go about my day as usual. I will smile at others. I will seem cheerful if someone calls or knocks. But it will all be a facade. Underneath the smile is a person who doesn’t fit in her current world. And oddly enough, finds herself ready to move on, to escape the world that doesn’t fit – hoping to find that the next world really does fit.
Find the people in your life that truly fit. Treasure them.