The most important question we can ask ourselves in friendship is: “How do I confront my own emptiness?” It may seem ironic to begin growing as a friend by focusing on yourself, but you need to know your own “belovedness” before you can offer that gift to someone else.
We all experience an “empty” or unmet need in our day-to-day existence. At times, this loneliness can feel so overwhelming. So, we approach our relationships looking to them to fill these dry, unloved places of our soul. As much as I love the way my friends serve one another, there is a vast difference in our relationships when I put all the pressure on them to sufficiently supply what I am lacking. I feel disappointed, abandoned and discouraged because she wasn’t “xyz” to me in my moment of loneliness. didn’t feel fully known, she was selfish with our conversation or she didn’t encourage me in the way I needed. This is the moment when my friendships become strained. We no longer spend time together because we feel the tension of two empty people trying to supply enough support to keep the other one “happy.”
So, how do we confront our emptiness before diving into friendship?
How do we plan to fill those empty places, so we can bring more balance into our relationships? By securing ourselves to our anchor, God, and consistently training ourselves to walk in the hope of the gospel. When we remember how loved we are, we look less and less for people to affirm our lovability. Instead our friendships begin to look a bit more like the way the author of Hebrews encourages Christian community to be: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (10:23-24).
When our anchor is tied to the love and grace Jesus has for us then we can offer life to our friends. We can help our friends see their “belovedness” because we have owned our own. You can stir on your friends to love and good works without feeling less than, competitive or hurt in your friendships.
Your needs don’t have to be ignored in a friendship, but they are no longer dependenton your friend to meet them.
Do you believe the good things God has done for you, so you can believe them for other people? You can be an image-bearer of His love and witness the fruit that God grows in your friendship OR you can place unhealthy expectations on your friends and eventually crush them under the weight of your needs. Filling the empty places with God is your next best move when it comes to growing fruitful friendships.
Practically, how do we fill our empty places with God?
“God sees the emptiness in your life as his greatest opportunity, because God does his best work with empty as he fills it with himself.” -Nancy Guthrie, Even Better Than Eden
It’s one thing to know the truth, but how do we practically live that out? How do we actually allow God’s love to enter into our empty places? Here are just a few ideas:
- Purchasing a devotional and meditating on God’s Word
- Trying different forms of prayer
- Memorizing Scripture
- Singing worship songs
- Taking walks or getting outdoors
- Learning and growing in your local church/bible study
None of these are new or overly creative but are the daily disciplines of a woman who is seeking to anchor herself to the gospel, so she can help others see grace, truth and love! Never let your “friendship storehouse” go empty by investing in your relationship with God.