At one time you were surrounded by your best women of faith girlfriends. You spent your free time gabbing on the phone with them for hours discussing weekend plans and oftentimes, being an encourager. Shopping trips turned into an all day girlfriend fest with spontaneous dinners and late movies. Then all of a sudden your support system vanished without a trace. Now, you feel alone, depressed and in some cases, betrayed.
You've come to realize you've entered a season without friends. The whole transition blindsided you and you don't know what to do. Keep reading and I will share with you 4 tips for coping in the friendless desert.
SEX AND THE CITY
I am no stranger to this phenomenon. In fact, most of my adult life as a born again Christian I've encountered seasons without meaningful friendships. I had the most friends when I was in the world. The television show, Sex and the City, which in its prime became the poster child for Best Friends Forever glamorized friendships between women, but in reality very few of us ever find die hard girlfriends, let alone ones that share the same faith as you do.
It's especially hard when you are blessed to have close knit relationships with women and then out of no where the relationship is no more. Whether a move broke up the friendship, a disagreement, or the two of you just grew apart the scars of a friendship break-up can take a long time to heal, if you are not open to seeing the positives in the situation.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD FRIEND?
The answer to this question is quite subjective. We all have different needs, personalities, stories to tell, and view points. For me, a good friend is loyal, kind, considerate, nonjudgmental (but understands the importance of righteous judgement), brutally honest, patient, selfless, has a sense of humor, trustworthy, on fire for God and a lover of Christ without shame, and understanding.
I want you to take a few minutes to contemplate what makes a good friend in your opinion. It's important to think about these things as you deal with seasons of loneliness. If you don't fully understand what you are looking for in a long lasting, Godly friendship then you are setting yourself up to be hurt in the future.
Just as we place value in formulating our ideal husband, we should do the same when cultivating friendships with other women.
Now that you've competed your evaluation on what makes a good friend it's time for the next step, incorporating my 4 Coping Tips into your present circumstance.
4 Coping Tips
1. Shift your focus on maturing your relationship with God. God is extremely clever in how He communicates with His children. When He wants your attention often times He will eliminate the very things that are distractions in your life even if only for a short while.
I understand how wonderful friendships can be, but when you place your friends ahead of God or worst yet in place of Him you've taken it too far. When you are more concerned with socializing, too busy in other people's affairs, and less concerned with getting to know God on a deeper level you've lost balance.
It's times such as this when God will pull you out of these potentially unhealthy relationships. Take heed to what He is doing and seek Him with all of your heart.
Instead of saying, All hope is lost now that I don't have friends remind yourself how you neglected the very best friend you will ever have, Jesus Christ. I am confident when you show God that He reigns in importance He will begin to trust you once again when cultivating friendships with other women.
2. Step outside of your comfort zone. I know it may seem a bit weird to most, but try fostering genuine online relationships. Over the past few years I've developed a strong bond with a group of women I call my spiritual sisters via YouTube.
While searching for online YouTube Channels and videos that would help strengthen my personal walk with the Lord and starting an online ministry, I met 6 beautiful women of faith along the way who were also desiring spiritual maturity.
Despite my sisters and I coming from different walks of life we were all trying to survive in the friendless desert at the same time. It's amazing how organically God brought each one of us together and how it turned into an incredible sisterhood.
We have regular online fellowship via Google+ hangouts and or Skype meet ups. We remain in contact through group texts throughout the day and actual phone calls. Some of us were even blessed to visit in person although, we live in various parts of the United States.
In no way I am saying replace your physical friends with virtual ones. I still have sisters I've known for over 6, 11, 16, and 30 yrs that are irreplaceable. What I am saying is, don't limit God to what the world considers traditional friendships.
Always guard your heart, hence why I advised doing an evaluation on what makes a good friend to you, but be open minded to the wonderful people God places in your life. It took some time, but now I am surrounded by the love and support of my beautiful sisters, both online and off line.
3. Focus on You! It's somewhat selfish, therefore I will seldom suggest this, but focus on you. How many of you use the excuse you are too busy to do the things you enjoy or too busy to pursue the dreams God has placed on your heart? Have you possibly considered that your season of isolation is the opportunity you've been waiting for to conquer your hopes, aspirations, and dreams?
Think of it this way, when you are so engrossed in being everything to everyone you lose your breath. When you are breathless all you can think about is catching your breath. If you're focused on stabilizing your breathing, you become too preoccupied to pursue your dreams. That's when God steps in to remove you from the chaos in order to restore your breathing.
Your time of isolation is your chance to refresh, renew, and refocus. It was during my season of loneliness when God pushed me to not only strengthen my relationship with Him, but to launch my ministry/business.
4. Serve others. I know this somewhat contradicts #3, but what I mean is take some time to serve others less fortunate or in need. If you think you're lonely, imagine the loneliness felt by women in shelters or who are living on the streets. This would be a great opportunity to minister to women who are on the verge of losing all hope or giving up.
You might be surprised what friendships may cultivate from this selfless act.
Trust the process
Instead of sulking and going into a depression, I trusted the process laid before me. My obedience was the breakthrough I needed. My online presence is how I met my sisters of faith. Focusing on myself led me out of the friendless desert. God is not only unconventional, but awesome! Allow Him to do His work.
Even if you've never had any girlfriends, my 4 Coping Tips are still beneficial. Your Heavenly Father understands the value of friendships and desires them for you. Just know your season of loneliness is only temporary. In the mean time keep your hope and faith in the Lord and before long you will be surrounded by girlfriends that will love you till the end.
––Call to Action––
Please share in the comments your experience with traveling through the friendless desert and how you made it out.