Intentional.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I've been thinking a lot lately about friendships.

I've never been the type to have a ton of friends.  I have quite a few acquaintances, but as far as close friends go, I only have a few (and I like it that way).  I have friends that are the type who know everyone, everywhere - and that works for them (and honestly, sometimes I envy them).  But for me, I live life better knowing that I have a few close friends who know everything about me and love me anyways.

In the last few weeks I've come to realize that as I get older, friends are harder to make/keep.  Also, I think friendships evolve with varying life stages.  People come and people go, so it takes work to keep the friends that don't "go" around.  (And by "go", I generally mean move away.)

As I get older, my children get older.  Our calendars fill up and time becomes scarce.  If I'm not prioritizing my relationships, they fall by the wayside.  Then one day, I wake up and think to myself, "Do I really have any friends?"  Sure, I have people that I see at church, people that I email regularly, people that I text often, and "friends" on Facebook, yet I think to myself, "Who would I call if I really needed a friend?"  And when I can't answer that question, it really saddens me.

(Of course I always have my husband, who truly is my best friend, but that's not what we're talking about here.)

It's these feelings that have caused me to reevaluate my relationships.  Am I making an effort?  Am I doing the things that I want my friends to do for me?  Am I creating time in my busy life to build these relationships that I care so much about?

Starting now, the answer is yes.  I have one friend in particular who I have missed tremendously over the last few years.  We used to be very close - not only in proximity (um hello, we were neighbors), but in life.  We did things together all the time - shopped, hung out, played with the kids, and made dinner together while our husbands were working.  We even went on vacation together.  When I think back over my life, I can honestly say that those memories are some of the best that I have.

But as I said earlier, things change.  People move.  Which is exactly what happened.  (Dang you! LOL)  She and her family moved about an hour away (ok, maybe a little less than an hour) and ever since then I have just been a horrible friend.  Not intentionally, but like I said, it's just easy to let your life take over and if you're not intentional about making time, it won't happen.  And I didn't make time.  I used location as an excuse to stop communicating.  And I'm not sure I've ever been more sorry about anything in my life.

Don't fret though - it's not all sorrow and tears around here!  A few weekends ago, our families got together and we had so much fun.  It's one of those relationships that you just pick up right where you left off.  What a tremendous blessing these kinds of friendships are, right?  And I plan on making an effort in this friendship so it doesn't fall back into the pattern of the last few years.

On a side note, as I wrote this post, I couldn't help but notice the glaring parallels to my relationship with Christ.  If I want our relationship to grow, I have to be intentional.  I have to create space in my life in order to spend time with God.

So what about you?  Are you being intentional in your relationships?  And not just the earthly ones...



12 comments:

Mighty M said...

No, I hear you on this and I need to focus on it more too.

The LaJeunesse Family said...

I've always had a lot of friends, but I had to learn the hard way how to be intentional in my relationships with them. The best way to have a good friend is to BE a good friend first. Know what I mean? After I learned that (the hard way of course), I got much better at focusing on the important relationships and learning to let some go. So proud of you Steph!

Joey said...

I like the way you finished that post, making it your responsibility. That makes me think of how Josh and I used to do everything together to... like play video games! lol any ways, does this mean we are moving?

Oh, and edit this post to say friends that are "in town" cuz what about Izzy!!!

your best friend

Kelly said...

nice post! It is way harder keeping friends while growing up. I miss my childhood and college friends dearly. Most of them have their own lives and are so busy that often I am the one feeling left out or "forgotten" I don't think it is intentional on their part, but it happens.
I totally agree with what you said about your relationship with Jesus

The Shabby Princess said...

So, so, SO true! It's so hard to cultivate and grow relationships. One of my dearest friends just moved to Miami (boo hiss!) and I miss her tons; but, this is forcing me to branch out and become closer to my other friends that are local. But, it is hard. When you're in college and such it's like "here are your friends, you have similar interests and will see each X hours per week. Done", as a grown up, it's much harder. And like you said, the same thing applies to our relationship with Christ, we have to do work and be the person we want to be, the person we'd want as a friend. Totally needed to hear this, thanks for the reminder!

Jenster said...

well, i think i have lots of friends as well as aquaintances. i grew up in a small area and the schools i went to were very small in class size. i still keep in touch with friends i have known since kinder.

i think that it's so important to stay in touch with friends as much as possible. i don't dwell on differences of opinion or characteristic we may have, i just value folks in my life.

your thought of who you would call in time of need....this is where i know i have friends i know that will be there for me.

i do have one particular best friend, and this shall remain forever though.

i made it a point years ago that if, when i'm out shopping, etc. and i see someone i recognize, i make it a point to say hello and briefly catch up. you see, we don't know what God has in store for our friends or us and it's so important to embrace any time we have with one another. i learned this the hard way.

Amber said...

What a great post - such a needed reminder. I couldn't agree more that it is so easy to let life get in the way of cultivating important friendships. Since I have been married it seems too easy to be happy at home with my hubby instead of making the effort to go and visit my girlfriends. I have really been focusing on being the type of friend they need and deserve over the past few months and my life has been enriched so much becuase of it.

Thanks for sharing so honestly. It's nice to know that someone else struggles with the balance between life, marriage and friendships.

mrsshukra said...

Thanks for this post, this has been foremost on my mind as well.

partialemptynester said...

Amen to the intentional! We women HAVE to be intentional in our friendships, just like we have to be intentional in watering our plants! But also know...you are in a typical stage with the ages of your kids...certainly be intentional in cultivating/maintaining friendships, but also know that you really only have your kids a few more years, they'll begin to grow and cultivate their own friendships apart from you by the time they are 13 or so (not that you can't be up in their business about who they hang around, but they won't necessarily be friends with your friends' kids or kids that are connected to you anymore...so you'll be freer to nurture friendships that you have simply because you enjoy their company and not necessarily because of the stages of your kids...hope that makes sense :)

LauraAnn said...

I can totally relate to this post on both topics. I went out to dinner last night with my roommate from college and as I sat there I thought about how we used to spend so much time together and now we will go months without seeing each other and sometimes even talking to each other which made me sad. It definitely got me thinking that I do need to work a little harder on some of my friendships. I know we all get busy but I told myself to at least take a couple minutes to just call and catch up if anything.

And regarding my relationship with God- I definitely need to make a bigger effort! But I also think no matter where a persons at in their relationship with God there is always room to grow in one way or another. :-)

Lauren said...

WOW, this is good!!! Thank you for this. Needed it!! :)

Jo Ann said...

As you get older you will realize how important these relationships are. I speak from experience. Yes, you do have to work at some, but they are worth their weight in gold. And what a great analogy of how we grow in our relationship with Christ when we commit to spend time with Him.

I am so blessed to be your mom.

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I’m Stephanie - wife to one extremely handsome cop; mother to two extremely silly kids. The hubs and I have been married since February ’99. I love him more each day and simply can’t get enough of him. My daughter, Ashton, is 12 going on 17. She’s beautiful, creative, smart, and oh, so sassy. Taylor, our son, is 8 and is so much like his daddy it’s scary. He makes me laugh all the time with the silly things he says and does. He won’t remember what you told him 5 minutes from now, just like his daddy. I love to laugh and spend time with friends and family. I’ve also recently discovered a love for cooking and enjoy sharing recipes. I love finding new blog friends, so be sure to leave a comment so I can do the same!
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