Personal

On Relationships…

July 29, 2017

Thelma & Louise, 1991

The other day I had a few friends over for our weekly bible study, and afterwards a few of us sat around and talked for an additional hour. We laughed, we shared, we cried, we were vulnerable together and it felt so good. As one of my friends put it, her soul craved this.

As a woman in my mid-30’s I have found these relationships are harder to come by. It’s probably because a few years ago we uprooted from our previous town of six years and moved to Portland, only to (mostly) start over again. But it’s also because I’ve become more shuttered up as a person, my free time has dwindled to next to nothing, and often, I cannot find the energy to put into stimulating relationships.

But, I know this is not how I was intended to live. I was meant to be in community with people. Sharing life, doing life, together. So why is it so hard? Why am I closing myself off? Why have I allowed my time to slip through my hands? Where do I find the energy to water and nurture the relationships God has put in my life?

* * *

I have seen the start and finish of many friendships in my life. There was my best friend from 4th grade. We lived in the same block of row houses on the east coast, where our dads were stationed for their military careers. We were in constant company. Sleepovers. Barbies. Swimming. Fireflies. More sleepovers. And then it came time for us to move. Our family uprooted, and where roots once were, only holes were left. Similar scenarios have happened over the course of my childhood and my adult life. Sometimes there wasn’t even a chance for the roots to grow very far below the surface. Sometimes the roots were wrapped deep.

I’ve been fortunate to maintain a few close relationships over the decades. My wonderful best friend has known me longer than anyone outside my family. Though the miles separate us, I count her a tremendous blessing.

* * *

As I examine my desire for deeper relationships in my current stage of life, and run through my aforementioned list of hinderances, I keep coming back to the same conclusion: Pursue. The other day I was reading some footnotes on a part of 2 Timothy and it said,  “Too often we rush through our days barely touching anyone’s life.” That is my natural disposition. It’s much easier to be busy than in relationship. But boy is it lonely.

Too often I’ve been guilty of taking the easy way out, but instead I will purpose to do otherwise.

When it is hard, takes energy, and feels outside my comfort zone, I will ask myself, “When have I ever grown inside my comfort zone?”

But the busyness! My life is so full. Keeping my family of five, fed, dressed and clean takes the bulk of my time, not to mention things like exercise, work, household tasks and chores. I will prioritize. I will say no, even to the good things, when I have to.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve noticed that it’s increasingly easier to keep to myself. After all, there’s a world of interactivity on Instagram, isn’t there? But a spark of truth in my heart reminds me that social media pales in comparison to true depth and vulnerability. 

I am reminded that relationships are worth pursuing. Worth the time, heart, energy and investment, even if the future brings a time of  pulling up roots.

Pursue.

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  • Jodie July 30, 2017 at 6:01 am

    Really well said Andrea!
    Adult friendships seem so much harder.
    What a great perspective though, thanks for sharing! Xo!

    • Andrea July 31, 2017 at 4:15 pm

      Thank you Jodie! I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get this vulnerable, but comments like this make me glad I did! :)

  • Amanda July 30, 2017 at 10:13 am

    I needed this today. I’ve been going through a season of change with relationships as well. It’s hard to accept that life moves on and so do some of our friends. I have also found myself accepting being busy as an excuse to forsake realationships. A lot of that has stemmed from wanting to let go of shallow realationships in pursuit of deeper ones. This definitely encourages me to continue pursuing that kind of growth.

    • Andrea July 31, 2017 at 4:17 pm

      Yes, and yes! I agree, I have been in seasons where I have a lot of relationships, but none are the depth that I want. And it feels overwhelming and unfulfilling. And I have definitely let being busy be an excuse. But the good thing, since writing this here, I have let this mindset of pursuing relationships better inform my decisions lately, and it feels good!

  • Julie July 30, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    So true, and something I have been thinking a lot about lately. Thanks for the nudge – the reminder that the good stuff is often outside our comfort zone. God always seems to be pulling us out of the bubbles we build around ourselves.

    • Andrea July 31, 2017 at 4:18 pm

      Yes! I would live in my bubble if I could. But I know it would ultimately be totally unfulfilling (not to mention disobedient). Glad you can relate Julie!

  • Paige July 30, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    Yes, yes, yes. It is so easy to let life take over actually living. It’s hard to form adult friendships and I think that’s because it takes so much time to really get to that level of closeness and busy or not, it’s hard to break away from the family for that much time, especially when you have small kids. I’ve made some mom friends, but it’s hard to get into deep conversation with the constant interruptions when we get the whole gang together. My hope is that as my kids grow up and are off developing their own friendships that it will free up time for me to do the same?
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, I love it!

    • Andrea July 31, 2017 at 4:20 pm

      Ah, thank you for your feedback here, I totally agree! It does take time, and it’s way too hard to have in-depth time with the kids buzzing around. I hadn’t thought about it, but yeah, I think that makes sense, the busier (and older) our kids get, the more we will want (and need!) our relationships. Not that we don’t want them now, but the time crunch makes it hard.

      PS – Wish we were neighbors!!!

  • Marine July 30, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    Yes! I’ve been mentally writing a post like this for weeks… I’m in the same boat you are with the moving and making new friendships… it’s HARD! It takes effort! And sometimes, it’s more effort than I care to commit to. But if my group of yoga lady friends here is any indication, it’s SO WORTH the effort :)

    • Andrea July 31, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      Ah, thanks for the kind and encouraging words Marine! I’m glad you’ve found a great group. Love it!

  • Mamavalveeta03 July 30, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    I am at a very similar place, Andrea. My best friend died of cancer in February and then, my other dear friend left her marriage and moved 6 hrs away. I’m feeling alone, in spite of my wonderful husband, and church isn’t the same without them. I guess I’m still grieving both relationships. But like you said, I’ve never grown in my comfort zone. I have recently decided to join a book club and a yoga class. And tonight, a co-worker gave me a hug and told me “Thanks for listening to [her].” She suggested we go to lunch one day. God is good!!!

    • Andrea July 31, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      I am so sorry for your losses, those are significant! I feel like big changes like that in this point of life really throw me off. It sounds like you’ve made some pretty proactive steps to build new relationships, love hearing that there is already fruit!

  • Anne July 31, 2017 at 8:48 am

    Well said! I think this is very appropriate for your blog and I definitely appreciate it. Many people who are re-examining their life habits of shopping and caring for their homes are probably also in a similar place when it comes to examining what’s important in relationships – I definitely am! When I moved into my first (current) house as an adult, I was so convinced I’d make everything perfect for “entertaining” a la HGTV – but yesterday afternoon, I woke up from a nap to a text from a friend, so I told her to come over in 30 minutes, I speed-wiped down the bathroom and kitchen, and then we ordered pizza and sat on the porch. Nothing fancy, but it was a perfect summer evening!

    • Andrea July 31, 2017 at 4:45 pm

      Yes, I think you’re spot on. Examining one area of my life tends to make me examine the others with a similar eye!

      I love hearing this! I am a perfectionist, and this is a great reminder that relationships are far better than perfection!

  • Stacy August 2, 2017 at 10:25 am

    This is something that has been on my mind a lot lately, especially as I enter the latter half of my twenties and the reality of friendships as an adult, with distance and change in families, etc. is really beginning to show itself to me. It felt even heavier as I started planning our wedding and choosing bridesmaids, which was surprisingly more difficult than I’d hoped or imagined. It just brought to light how much things have changed. So many of my friends live in other towns and I rarely get to see them. It’s so hard. Like you said, it takes work, but it is so worth it to have good relationships.

    • Andrea August 2, 2017 at 9:59 pm

      Thanks for weighing in. I think it really helps to talk things through and realize we have similar struggles! I can imagine the work of planning a wedding away from ‘home’ is challenging for sure! (Gosh, having a wedding in Bend is going to be so gorgeous!) I think awareness is huge, that’s what I needed, and it’s helped give me a kick in the pants to put in the work of taking care and cultivating my relationships!