I often laugh at the phrases that come from our youth. They are quite hilarious. The term "frenemies" is one that has caused me to giggle on a couple occasions. It's interesting, though, because I think this word is a powerful one full of sad truth.
A friend of mine just sent me an email. It was from Proverbs 31 Ministries and it was titled "Friends or Foes?". I knew instantly why she sent this to me....luckily not because she thought me a foe, but because she knows I have had my share of foes and have struggled in the area of friends. I was touched because she made sure I knew I fell in the friends side of this blog. Click here to read the Proverbs 31 blog posting...I found I related to it all too well.
I have been blessed to have had many friends in my life, but, like many friendships, there has been some change-ups in the circle of friends. We get married. We get jobs that takes us to far off places. We change common interests and just grow apart.
Or we go crazy.
I love my friends who got married, and, being married myself, understand that priorities have changed (especially when kids enter the picture). I don't like when they or their spouses gets a job that causes them to move far away, but I understand and totally love the internet and facebook for keeping us as involved in each other's lives as possible. I also understand the changing of interests. I had a lot of friends before I became a Christian that I had to take a step back from after I became a Christian. DO I love them any less?? No.
But, I have had the experiences of the just plain LOONY. That friend who, on the turn of a pin just goes off and leaves your head spinning...wondering what just happened. It has happened a couple times with a couple friends and has left me somewhat scarred from having friends any more...or at least letting friends get too close. I often ask myself...are all women Psycho!??!!
One of the quotes from the blog read like this: "Years ago I would've told you that I don't much like women. I counted a few as friends, but the rest I dismissed as too much trouble. Never a "tomboy" by any stretch of the imagination, I just found guys easier to deal with. They generally say what they mean, let you know where you stand, and never size you up to determine who has the better haircut."
I know someone who went through a nasty divorce several years ago. After his divorce, he decided all women were evil. It didn't matter who that woman was, he felt strongly that all women were inherently evil and he spread his venomous words and attitudes to ALL women. It was destructive to see (and to be one of those women he ranted on about *shudder*).
After my experiences with some women, I have found myself feeling at least a tiny percent of what he spewed. Women just seemed to be mean and without reason. Women I had put my faith, love, and hope in had squashed me like a bug under their heel and I began to build the walls of fortitude.
Another quote: "I'm told you can put a frog in a pot of cold water on the stove and gradually turn up the heat, and it will stay in the pot until it reaches a fatal boil without attempting to escape. Evidently the frog doesn't realize how unhealthy the situation is slowly becoming. I can't vouch for the accuracy of that fable - I'd never boil a frog! - but I've been in a few friendships like that. I stayed way too long in the pot before I realized this isn't healthy for me, and I got burned."
The sad thing about that is I had women in my life whom I knew would not go nuts on me...there would be no head spinning or pea soup spewing....but my heart had been so trampled on that there was little faith or trust left in me. I do not think you should feel like you need to walk on egg shells with your friends...they know who you are. I found myself constantly on eggshells.
The funny thing about it was...I built the wall...I built it up high. I hid behind the wall...peeping out through little peep holes in the wall.
I watched as women I knew and wanted to know more would laugh together...have fun together...bond and I would whimper and cry and feel sorry for myself that I did not have that. Thing is, I always had a reason why I wasn't a part of the fun. I would get invited, but would have an excuse...."oh, I need to give my dog a bath that night"...ok, not that but something just as cheesy.
When Sierra became homeschooled, she decided to cut herself off from those friends she had in school because she felt like she needed to surround herself with like minded friends. She discovered having a select few friends whom she loves and who love her back is better than having several just ok friends. I saw such wisdom in her choice.
As a homeschool mom, one might think that we would become recluse...and maybe we found ourselves falling into that a bit at first, but then we began to explore the world and see what it has in store for us. In this adventure, I have found a whole new batch of women to become friends with and I love these women. It is indeed encouraging to surround yourself with those whose thought processes often echo your own, who can hold you up on their shoulders when you are down and whom you would do just the same with when things are reversed.
Now, when one of Sierra's new friends wants to spend time with her, her instant reaction is.....what can I do to make this happen. When one of my new friends want to spend time with me, my automatic response is still...how do I get out of this?? It is hard to let yourself go....to allow for the possibility of yourself to be crushed under the heel of a shoe.
"Meanwhile, I prayed for quality friendships with women of faith. God heard my prayers. Fun-loving, God-loving, gracious women at my church sought me out and invited me out. And I made the choice to trust and invest in them. I discovered how beneficial it is to surround yourself with women who inspire your walk with God."
I have prayed for a long time for God to bring to me friends who will listen to me...cry with me...allow me to listen and cry with them...someone who can relate to me. I believe God has answered those prayers tenfold...it is now just a matter of allowing them into my life. Cracking down the mortar that took years to build up is harder than one might think. It is filled with hard memories and broken trust. But, God did not make us to live behind brick walls...so piece by piece, I knock down the wall.....I allow that little bit of sunshine into my life. I discover things about people I have never known before. I sit in a restaurant and laugh without a care that someone might turn on a dime on me. Slowly, after character building words of encouragement from some select friends "in the know", I am coming to realize that some "friends" are just not worth the effort that is put in to maintaining the fortified brick and mortar that was so carefully laid. Lucky for me, I am finding that that brick and mortar are not as strong as I thought they were.