Written by: Kensie Story
I wish I had a group of Christian friends. I’ve said this a heartbreaking amount of times in my past.
Maybe it was my bold personality or the fact that I couldn’t quote scripture. Maybe it wasn’t anything about me at all. But for whatever reason, I had a really hard time connecting with other Christians growing up.
I always felt a little on the outside. Every time I saw others with their close friends it made me feel lonely, left out, and unloved. Why not me? Why can’t I have what they have?
I prayed countless times – God, please, please, just bring me Christian friends. Take away the loneliness. – but no one ever showed up. No one seemed to notice my desperation for connection, my desire for friendship.
So, instead of waiting on God, I got impatient and took matters into my own hands. If God wasn’t going to bring me friends, I was just going to find them myself – no matter the cost.
As I sought friendship, acceptance, and love in my own ways, I let go of many of my beliefs. Loneliness can make us desperate enough that we compromise. Anything to stop the pain right?
We weren’t meant to be alone. God, Himself, said it in the very beginning (see Genesis 2:18). But when we live in a broken world things don’t always turn out as they were meant to. We sometimes end up feeling alone, judged, unloved, and unliked, but our God never leaves us or abandons us. Our God is with us in the midst of loneliness.
“I will be with you, day after day, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b VOICE
If I had waited for God, instead of trotting off independently like so many of us do, I could have avoided a lot of pain and struggle. When we compromise our beliefs for friendship, we end up with friends who aren’t growing our faith. We end up with friends who may be hindering it.
Later on in my adult life, I reached a point where I was praying for Christian friends – again. I was desperate for friendships that could go deeper. I wanted friends I could pray with.
I prayed the same prayer I had in the past – God, please bring me Christian friends. – and once again God was not answering as quickly as I wanted.
But this time I was going to plant my little booty firmly on God’s promises and wait. This time the devil wasn’t going to win me over no matter how lonely I felt. This time my eyes were fixed on Christ and I believed that eventually, as long as I stayed connected to Him, He would bring the most perfect friendships into my life.
While I was waiting for God to bring those relationships into my life I had to stop focusing on finding the right person and start focusing on the being the right person. By cultivating my own faith and relationship with God, by keeping Him the primary focus, I was setting myself up for future relationships. They say that all the time about marriage, why not with friendships too?
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33 NIV
Over time, God did answer my prayer. And just like He so often does, He answered my prayer “infinitely beyond [my] highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes” (Ephesians 3:20 TLB).
Staying connected to God was key, but it also took some intentionality on my part. God brought many opportunities to me that would allow me to meet people – a mom’s group, Bible studies, volunteering with a women’s ministry – but I had to actually get involved and stay committed even when friendships didn’t form right away.
I know it’s hard to wait. I know it’s easier to stay disconnected and lonely because the effort feels exhausting. But don’t give up just yet! Don’t keep yourself isolated!
God has great plans for each of us, including who our friends will be. He knows our pain and struggles and He promises to use all of it for good some day.
Grab hold to those promises and press on. Keep your eyes fixed on Him. Step out of your comfort zone and get involved. Stay committed. And then wait patiently to see what God does.
“Be still. Be patient. Expect the Eternal to arrive and set things right.” (Psalm 37:7a VOICE, emphases mine)
“All eyes have turned toward You, waiting in expectation; when they are hungry, You feed them right on time. The desires of every living thing are met by Your open hand.” (Psalm 145:15-16 VOICE, emphasis mine)