First, let me say I know it’s been a while since I wrote anything. Everytime I think I’m going to go blog, I can’t seem to decide which thought that is constantly plaguing me I need to write about! Today, however, I have something on my mind and I thought I would just get it off my chest.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about relationships lately… Not because anything is going on really in any of my own relationships…Maybe it’s because of working with the college group at church. I’m getting closer with so many of them, which I love(!!), and relationships are always a constant in our conversations. Friendships, dating, etc… Really there is always something going on and there never seems to be a dull moment! 🙂 I have noticed some sort of underlying belief in the conversations and I feel like I need to address it out loud. I’m not even sure how much is going to make sense, so you’ll have to bear with me I think. Sorry about that.
I’ll start with my own life. Growing up, my parents divorced when I was 7. My father was very much still a part of my life, and I always tell people that I got to watch the grace of God work in someone up close because I saw the power of God in my own father’s life. That being said, my relationship with my brother was not the best. He made some really bad choices…A LOT. This of course affected me in many different ways, but one of the ways, was that I lost an example in my life of what a man of God could look like. I have a huge passion about family and loyalty and what siblings should look like to each other because of this. The reason I feel that is important to know in regards to my thoughts now, is that once I got to the age where I began to make and choose my own friendships, and again in my dating relationships, I didn’t always choose the best friends/boyfriends when it came to guys. Looking back now, I can see that I didn’t really know what to look for. Don’t get me wrong, I did have a couple of “nice guy” boyfriends and friends, but they were kind of fewer and farther between than the others…I dated a lot and really didn’t like the idea of commitment…but that’s another story…
Okay, so knowing what you know now, I get to my point. 🙂
I feel like people are afraid to be vulnerable, and I don’t mean in dating relationships, when it comes to relationships of any kind, but especially with friendships of the opposite sex. Maybe I should use a different word than vulnerable. Maybe “real” is a better word. Everybody is so scared to give the wrong impression or worried about how they look to others, that they put these walls up and then really don’t build any real friendships. They stay in their bubble. I’m just wondering…How do you know what a man of God looks like (or a woman of God for you guys out there) if you haven’t ever put yourself even in real friendships with any of them? Everyone’s so scared of “crossing a line” and I totally get that. There is definitely lines that can be crossed and shouldn’t be crossed. That being said…it wasn’t until I got to college and started meeting some new friends (Yes, it took God moving me to a new city to get away from some old habits and bad choices) that I started to realize what men of God even looked like. If I had stood back in a corner scared of what people would think, or is it even okay for me to have real friendships with people of the opposite sex, I don’t know that I would have ever known what a man of God my age should look like. I remember meeting new guy friends and thinking…”Wait…he really just acted like a normal friend…he didn’t even try to undress me with his eyes!!!” Those men and their friendships helped me know that I was looking for the wrong things. All men are not created equal, maybe… Now, as I meet with college students and hear their hearts, their joys, their worries…I worry that they might be getting caught up in some form of misconception. God did not say you shouldn’t have friends, even close friends, of the opposite sex. He said keep yourself from immorality, lust, etc… Really, without some of those influences in my life in college, I might have walked right past Michael…my thought might have been that he was “too good” for me. Not enough edge…Not a past like mine…whatever. I don’t know that I would have noticed the traits of a man of God in him because for so long I hadn’t know what that looked like or what I should have been looking for.
I am NOT saying you shouldn’t guard your heart. You should to a degree I think, but not so much that you can’t have friendships and be open and honest in them. Not all close friendships have to turn into a dating relationship. Really, that’s not just the way things are. That is something you allow to happen and sometimes create even. I guess I just don’t want people to be so tied up that they miss some of the greatest things God has put in front of their noses…friendships!