My sister-in-law Lorraine was here awhile back.
And we got onto the topic of girlfriends while we were visiting.
It was a great conversation - I came away from it really relieved that I'm not alone in my struggles and also encouraged that this particular season in my life is a time to forgive my shortcomings with other women as I really build into my kids for the remaining years they're under my roof.
Something Lorraine said really stuck with me though, and it's changed the way I view my relationships with other women hugely in the few weeks I've had to ponder it and pray over it.
She said "Don't you think people just want to know someone cares about them?"
See, I feel a tremendous amount of pressure to be someone for other women - particularly younger women. Since Asia is so gifted at this with the men he mentors, I feel like I'm always trying to play catch up - showing my care and concern for young women - to be the wise, older women to them. Usually I come away from these encounters confused and frustrated, feeling like I have nothing to offer them... or that they don't need me... (young women these days seem terribly self-sufficient.)
But this simple sentence has freed me up in so many ways. Because I think I was trying to make all these interactions about me... "How can I possibly meet their needs?" "I don't know how to serve them" or "I'm an introvert and this is hard for ME!"
When instead, if I can simply show I care by asking about their lives and then listening... or giving a hug... or sending a happy text message occasionally...
I don't really have to BE anything special.
I just have to show I care.
I had the opportunity yesterday to meet with a young woman I'd never met... and had the MOST amazing afternoon with her.
I think forgetting the idea that I have to try hard to BE the older, wiser woman and just letting her tell her story and ask her questions made all the difference.
I don't know... maybe I'm just slow. But it was a huge revelation that I can just care.
It's been interesting to me how much this little series has stuck a chord with other readers... seems friendship for women is a struggle across the board.
I continue to ponder it and pray over it and seek God's plan for my heart in all of it.
It's fascinating stuff to me that we all desire relationships with others but we struggle in the implementation of them... whether it's due to past hurts or busyness or personalities... it's hard.
For now I'm focusing on keeping it simple.
On caring more and worrying about it less.
And it's working for me so far.
Any reminder to stop being so self-focued is always good, I think.
As I focus on others more, I've been amazed at how beautiful these other women are.
Women made lovely by resiliance and strong convictions and amazing relationships with Jesus. It makes me love being a woman. And it makes me want to know more women. (Imagine that!)
So thanks, Lorraine, for your simple words of wisdom.I'm changed because of them.