By Christy K.
The Confidante private Facebook page has over 2,700 members from all over the world! We have so much in common as wives… some of us aren’t mothers, some have children, ministries, some of us are musical – some not so much.
An even more familiar thread runs through us though, and that is the thread of loneliness.
We know how this goes. First, it starts after hubby takes his first church and has to work 1,000 hours a week to prove himself. Or he plants a new church and has to make sure it takes root. Or you’re busy homeschooling, maintaining your home, and holding down a job outside the home. Or your career bumps into ministry and you’re busy trying to balance it all. Or your full-time job spills over into your evenings when you’re trying to help kids with homework and coordinate a ministry event.
Bottom line: You’re tired, have no friends, and often end up alone.
How do we deal with loneliness? Even when we’re surrounded by our family or others – we often still feel lonely.
We know the scriptures. We know that we’re not really alone, but that Jesus is always with us. But our need to be with friends we can trust is often overwhelming.
Some of us have made good friends in the churches we serve but have been betrayed by those good friends. Some of us have discovered the only thing she wanted from our friendship was to be close to the pastor or the “prestige” of being the PW’s friend. Some of us have found that the intimate details we thought were safe with her…were not.
It’s agonizing to think you pour so much of yourself into other women, hoping for deep friendship, only to find that you’re empty, and they’ve moved on.
How do we keep going? Why do we keep going?
We are made for relationships. We have a desire to have female friendships that are mutually supportive and satisfying. There’s nothing wrong with that, but we must do a little adjusting on the journey.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve been disappointed several times by friendships in the church. One woman always introduced me as her pastor’s wife – to everyone! I’m ok with being introduced that way, but it sets the expectation for something I just can’t fulfill. I asked her why she couldn’t just introduce me as her friend, Christy. She said it’s important others know who I am. Hmmm. I had another friend who wanted to be my friend only to complain to me about the youth guy and what he was or wasn’t doing, the worship leader who overlooked her, etc. It didn’t take me long to figure out it wasn’t about me at all.
We have the expectation that other women will be the same kind of friends we are. And that’s what we need to change.
Asking God to help us adjust our expectations of other women is the first step in discernment. When we allow God to change these unmet expectations, we limit the hurt and disappointment we allow into our lives!
Seeking and maintaining true friendships outside of the church is the second step in discernment, in my opinion. Church members come and go, along with them our friendships, that we thought were more than that of church members and me. The reality is, we cannot expect church members to meet the needs we have for friendships. Some will, but most won’t.
I am a keeper of friends! I don’t give up on friendships easily, but I have learned that there are different levels of friendship: besties, friends, and acquaintances. My two besties have been in my life for 30 years and 22 years respectively. One is from my life in Arizona, and the other is from life here in Ohio. Some people are in my life for a season and move from friends to acquaintances. Some acquaintances become friends. Sometimes they remain acquaintances. It’s best to know the distinction!
I encourage you to seek God first and ask Him to give you this discernment, and then to provide friendships for you outside of your church. Mom’s groups, the gym, workplace, old high school/college friends, and discipleship friends are a few places where I maintain good friends.
The Confidante is a wonderful place to make friends. There is a spreadsheet located in the Files tab that lists the members by state. You can use that as a resource to find someone near you that perhaps you can meet for an occasional coffee or lunch! Utilize technology. I meet with one bestie once a month, but we text almost daily! My discipleship girlfriends and I meet weekly by Zoom and have breakfast or lunch once or twice a month! There are a few Confidante women that I meet with via Facebook video chat!
Give yourself grace and allow yourself to just have acquaintances at church. God will provide just who you need at just the right time!
One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24