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What's Missing In Friendship

Are we missing something in today's relationships with our friends?

I'm beginning to think that women's relationships are not what they use to be. Over the last few weeks, I've had repeated discussions about this. A complete stranger, a new friend I'd just met, and an old friend that I was having dinner with have each brought it up in conversation unprompted.

I think God is trying to tell me something.

In each case the discussion has led into how these women are tired of superficial living. That they have each reached points in their lives where they feel that everyone around them is putting on a good face, that their friendships are surface only, and that they themselves are tired of living this way. They want to get real. And they want me to join them.

And I have to say that I agree. But, for a long time I've felt it was just me. A pet peeve that I've had.

But is it something more?

The strange thing about these conversations is that all three women would appear on the outside to have it all. Good jobs. Great family lives. A multitude of friends. They are successful women by all accounts. Still, as we sat together talking, each time I could tell that they were lonely, they felt isolated, and they were hoping for friendship that went beyond the surface for a change. I understood completely.

I believe that women today are struggling through life in relationships that Beth Moore has called "a mile wide and one inch deep." Superficial living. Superficial relationships. Superficial hope. Something I find deeply sad. Something I find uncomfortably familiar.

You know, this is one thing that our mothers' generation got right. Relationships with other women. They understood. There was an unspoken bond between them. A nod towards shared lifestyles and experiences. A comfort in understanding that most women were very much like you.

While diversity in womanhood is to be celebrated, I often wonder if we are actually celebrating or exploiting our differences? Are we showcasing them to teach others things they may have never had the opportunity to enjoy and maybe help them get there? Or are we doing so in an effort to make ourselves stand out as "different" and therefore "better" in some way because we go against the grain in such a way that is coveted in today's society?

Do we now have more things that differ between us than those that we share? Or are we putting up fronts, pretending to be things that we aren't to impress people we will barely get to know because of it?

And if what we are doing is pushing each other away in an attempt to build ourselves up or better position ourselves in society, what good is it to be at the top of that mountain - alone?

As women of faith we should draw near to each other as we draw near to God. We are called to minister to one another. To reach between the differences and find the commonalities. To offer friendship in the chance that one day we might offer the hope of Christ. Sincere friendships that aren't based on appearances, street addresses, occupations, titles, or church attendance. Friendships based on godly ideals, not the world's.

We need to ignore the inner push to protect ourselves and honor the inner voice leading us to make ourselves vulnerable to someone who needs to see vulnerability in a friend. So that someone desperate for hope might find that spark through a conversation that leads to friendship and possibly the hope that comes through knowing God.

What do you think?

October24, 2008 at 9:57 PM

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