The Burden of Friendship?

I am a social person. More often than not, I want to be around friends. I want to go for coffee or lunch or a walk and chat with people. I want to hear about their lives and tell them about mine or just talk about the weather (a favorite topic in Ireland). If I can’t be with people, I like chatting on Facebook or via text message or on the phone.

Some of my closest friends, I contact without a second thought. I know if they can’t chat when they receive the message, they’ll leave it until they have time to respond. I have no doubt that if they don’t have time to get together in the next few weeks, they’ll let me know and not feel pressured to fit me into their busy schedule. I know we’ll hang out when life gets less crazy.  

I have recently begun to realize (with the help of a good friend), though, that with many of my friends, I second guess myself when initiating communication. I assume people are busy and I will be interrupting them if I send a message on Facebook – maybe even more so if I send a text message. I’m afraid if I invite them to coffee or lunch, they’ll feel pressured to squeeze me into an already packed schedule and it will be an imposition for them.

In short, I find it easy to assume that I will be a burden to others simply by initiating a conversation. I am realizing that this is a subtle and effective tool of the Enemy to isolate me and others.

Recently, I timidly mentioned to a friend at church that when her life slows down a bit, we should try to go for ice cream or something. Her response surprised me. She said, “You call or text me. I actually have a lot of time free right now, and just hadn’t called because I thought you were busy.” Each of us was waiting for the other to get in touch because we feared interrupting the busyness of her life.

How many times have I sat at home feeling alone and unloved simply because I was afraid I would be a burden? Why do I assume I am an inconvenience? Why do I believe those lies so easily and so often? Am I the only one who falls for this?

I’m learning to initiate communication and invitations. I’m beginning to trust that if people don’t have time to hang out, they will simply be honest and tell me. I am determined that I will no longer allow myself to stay quiet for fear that I will be a burden. When someone comes to mind, it may be that God knows they need a friend to listen just then. If I stay quiet for fear of burdening someone, I may be keeping both of us from the blessing of friendship in a time when it’s most needed.

No more.

From now on, I want to reach out instead of waiting for others to reach out to me. Completely one-sided relationships are no fun, and they are not healthy. However, sometimes we have to reach out beyond our comfort zone and make the first effort.

Is there anyone you need to contact today?


Today I just want to say “Thank You” to God for the blessings He is pouring out on me.
* I’ve been able to sell all of the furniture I need to get rid of before my departure, and made a little cash to help with last-minute expenses.
* After twenty years of wearing glasses/contacts, I was told by the eye doctor that I need only wear them when my eyes feel tired or strained. I purchased a cheap pair of glasses to use for those occasions, but this saved me the cost of a contact exam, prescription sunglasses, contacts and/or better quality glasses that would have been much more expensive.
* I have continued to receive one-time donations that are helping to cover moving expenses.
* I am continuing to see results (in inch loss) of being diligent in working out.
* I have gone through my closet, and there are more clothes that now/still fit than I expected, so I will not have to buy quite as much as I anticipated.
* Perhaps the biggest praise report I have is simply that God loves me enough to not let me stay where I’m at in my relationship with Him.
He has recently pointed out to me that I had painted Him into an image that does not look like Him at all. I had imagined Him as Someone who did not communicate – at least not clearly – with me. And those times I did think I heard Him, I did not necessarily expect Him to follow through with what I heard.
For the last week, I have been spending time with Him in my journal, listening long enough (with no agenda of my own) to let Him speak and fill a page or more with His thoughts alone.
This daily time with Him is my new “hustle” for this month, and I am excited to see what all He will speak with me in the days to come. It has already been so good to practice hearing His voice, and just being with Him without the list of requests and questions that are constant in my mind these days.
No matter what is to come in this month or the next or any after that, I am so happy to be more connected once again with the God that loves to speak to His children! There are good things ahead, and I look forward to hearing His thoughts, and thanking Him for His many blessings (whatever form they take) each step of the way!

2014: A year of…

First, let me just say Happy New Year! I hope that whether 2013 was a great year or a difficult year (or both) that 2014 will be better! May God bless you and me in ways we’ve not yet dared to dream as we travel this path with Him!

Last night, a devotional arrived in my inbox just moments before the birth of 2014. It was all about choosing one word to focus on for the year. As I read the devotional, I felt God was saying that He has a word for me for this year. So, today as I chatted with Him about the year ahead, I asked what it is. The answer is… (drum roll, please) RELATIONSHIP!

I don’t know exactly what that means, but there are several ideas in my head (not to mention hopes in my heart). Firstly, it means relationship with God. We are pretty close, but I have a feeling that bond will deepen even more in the months to come.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I am moving to Ireland, and I now have my airline ticket to start that journey 8 weeks from today! (The first step is 2 weeks to visit family and friends in Florida before going on to my new home.) I think this transition period is going to deepen my relationship with God as I will have no one else to lean on in the beginning. I have acquaintances there, but no one I know well.

Another layer in this one word is the relationships I will make in Ireland. I am a friendly person, and tend to make friends pretty quickly. However, this will be a new context to practice that in. I’ve lived overseas before (I spent nearly 2 years in Afghanistan with a development organization), but it was in a place that was totally foreign. Everything about the culture and language was different and I expected the culture shock. I knew the barriers that would have to be overcome in order to meet people and make friends.

This time, many if not most of the words will be the same (though they sound different [and often much cooler] when folks from there say them). The culture is western, and as far as I know, I can wear clothes like I wear here. I don’t have to cover my head to leave my house. It seems there are few barriers to worry about in my effort to make friends in this new place. And yet… I can’t help but wonder how many people I will offend because I am unaware of differences that do exist.

And so, this year will be one of striving for new relationships in new places. It will also be a year of working to keep relationships close with those left here. I have got to do better about keeping communication lines open with those who pray for and support me here in the States. I don’t know what the situation will be over there for communication, but I must work to make sure it’s happening.

Finally, I think this might be a year where I am challenged to be vulnerable on a larger scale than I feel ready for. This blog is a part of that. I have also joined and been participating in a new group on Facebook to encourage one another to reach the goals we’ve set for the next 30 days and beyond. And then, there is my book. It is written, and I am waiting on feedback from acquaintances in the publishing world to see how much will need to be “fixed” before it can be published. This book is me, my life and my heart, laid out for the world to see, and that is a terrifying thought. I don’t know how much of a “relationship” can develop through a book, but if and when it’s out there, I hope to hear the stories of others in return.

Ah, and now for the hope… All of these are hopes, but they seem like reasonable possibilities as well; they seem like things that can happen this year (though I struggle to believe that completely about getting my book published). The dream is that this year will mark the beginning of a different kind of relationship, that this will be the year when a Godly man shows up and decides that I am worth pursuing. And now, for that vulnerability I mentioned… This feels like a dream rather than a possibility because it has not happened before, and at 33 it is difficult to believe that a guy will suddenly appear and have both the desire and the guts to show interest in me as anything more than a friend. And yet, this is a year for new things, new beginnings, new places, and a year for hope!

Whatever kind of relationships God brings my way and gives me the opportunity to work on, I have hope that this year will be one for the history books… because I intend to make it so! By walking in relationship with God, family, and friends (both those I’ve met and those I haven’t yet), I believe that my world will be different by the time 2014 has reached its end.

Thanks for taking this journey with me. It’s going to be a wild ride, and those are always more fun with friends. 🙂