Wednesday, March 8, 2017

My Friendship Anxiety

Lately, I've had some major anxiety. Surprising? Maybe not. Four kids, a husband, a house, two dogs,
two books, a couple WIP's (works-in-progress), and part-time ministry work--throw in baseball practice, ballet, cub scouts, school volunteering...and ...

I have a buffet-style filled plate and it is overflowing.

And I love it.

No matter how much I complain about's LIFE in the fullest sense.

But I have been contemplating lately, and the anxiety I speak about has little to do with all that life. I've noticed that my deepest seeds of insecurity are in my lifelong treasure--Friendship. If you've read my last post, "My Grief List", you know this is something I care for deeply, and I mourn when there's change.

There have been a few recent interactions that have shaken me to the bone, and have caused me to wonder what the root of this insecurity is.

Why do I view my friendships as so...conditional?

I often find myself apologizing to my friends for what I've said or, WHAT I THINK...I don't trust my opinions to not be taken as weapons of destruction. I don't trust my heart to be valued beyond my actions or my mistakes.

Something inside me has shouted for years,

"Friendship is temporal. It will inevitably fail because of ME."

The lies float in my head and they are toxic to my spirit:

"You can't be too different than your friend or they'll reject you."

"Your opinions must line up or you have nothing in common."

"You are too outspoken and your words will kill the friendship."

"You only have a finite number of chances to fail before they will walk away."

Honestly, some of these things have come to fruition over the years. I have the scars of dead friendships because, in my perception, one of these lies has proven true.

And I think that's the ugly root of it all. The lies appear to be true. But, do I really know the depth of what was going on in the other person's heart? What scars were they acting on?

I love the verse in Thessalonians. It proves that the author must have sat with the Thessalonians in their disbelief, in their differing opinion, and grown in love before anything else. There was no judgement there, just growing friendship. "We cared so much for you..." came first. Not, "Because you received the Gospel, we cared for you..."

They cared for them. Like I care for my friends--regardless of what they think or believe. At least, in theory. I have the scars to prove that as a friend, I have been considered, "Too much", "Too different", "Too me."

This is where grief comes into play, I guess. I think my anxiety is just part of the grief cycle of lost friendships, and the changing ones. And just like a grieving soul, I have allowed people to become too much of an indicator of my joy.

There's so much joy to be had. And I have turned my back on it too much lately. I mean, I have some pretty amazing friends...and yet, I am a doomsayer, waiting for them to turn their backs on me because

I want to take those lies and rip them to shreds, and plant my heart with truth. I want different to be amazingly attractive. I want opinions to be counted as thought-provoking and valued for what they are worth--so very little in the shadow of truth. And I want fallibility and failure to be seen as an open door to love even more.

The cool thing is, I have some wonderful people in my life who already grow this way. They are some pretty amazing grace-bearing women.

I just need to cut a sample from them and plant it in my own heart.  Because they have grown dear to me, and I want to share my life with them even in my imperfection.