Contribute to Redroad Outreach
Click the heart to sponsor my service work at Valiant Hearts throughout the month of October. In their weekly support group, I will offer practical steps to overcoming the effects of childhood sexual abuse. For more information about this organization, visit www.valianthearts.org
In 1997 (a time when my life was falling spectacularly apart), I entered into my first mentoring relationship (a.k.a. sponsorship, if you happen to be a twelve-stepper). I was lonely, I was afraid, I was lonely. One of the first principles my mentor taught me about friendship is: You must first become the kind of friend you want to have.
I made a list of attributes I wanted in a friend and sought God for blessed transformation. Over time, I became that friend. Over a decade later, I still had not "reaped what I sowed". I was exhausted from giving to friends who did not give back. Seriously, I had a friend whom I invited over for dinner quite regularly, who once threw a party, asked me to bake the dessert, but never invited me to her party. And I actually baked dessert, took it to her house and said, "Have a great time!" Oh, how I weep for the woman I once was!
At age forty-three, this is what I learned when I examined my "friendships." I had become a good friend to everyone but myself. In my quest for approval, I was willing to be quite callous with my own heart. Ouch! And I'll tell you where it all started: in church. I was rejected in church as a little girl by legalistic authorities and somewhere along the line, I came to believe that when "religious" people accept me as I am, God will. Double ouch!
That's why I never "reaped what I sowed". I wasn't sowing friendship, I was seeking God's approval and acceptance. Something I've had all along! I'm free today-- to be a good friend to myself and others. And now I reap real friendships!
Are you lonely? List the attributes you want in a good friend. Grow in those attributes. Become that friend to yourself, first. From there, true friendships blossoms!
Published on Monday, January 17, 2011 @ 3:21 PM CDT