I’ve been home for a week now after two back-to-back weekends away. Both weekends were spent with groups of friends. Both are the kind of friendships that give back. That nourish my soul.
But that’s where the similarities end. The first weekend was with new friends, while I share a significant history with the second group. (More on that later.)
New friends require risk.
Is it hard for you to drum up the emotional energy to meet new people?
Do you hate small talk?
Feel like you already have too many friends to possibly keep up with?
I can answer “yes” to each of those questions. And yet I’ve found that even if you stay in the same place, you can’t avoid having to step out and start over with someone new.
Life is filled with new people coming up to the edges of your life. In your neighborhood. Your workplace. Your church. And once you invite them to enter inside, you might marvel at what you would have missed if you never did.
You have to take that first step. Be willing to take a risk.
With new friends, you turn over a fresh page. You write a new story, one that’s full of promise. Sometimes it becomes clear early on that these new friends are keepers. That you want to finish writing the book with them.
New friends can be worth it.The 60 or so women during my first weekend away are keepers. I’d only met a handful of them once, a couple of years before. With most of them, I had to start from scratch.
It helped that we already have much in common. We are all writers. We’re all members of Redbud Writing Guild, an international community of women who write to influence culture and faith.
We met for a retreat on a Hogwarts-style campus in Chicago. Messages from fellow Buds inspired me and the worship spoke to my soul. I loved every second of it and I’m so thankful I went.
New friends can help us grow.
As writers, we talked openly about our fears. But writers aren’t the only ones who struggle with fear and insecurity and doubt. Maybe you can relate.
You feel things deeply and you want to speak or write or do only what’s true. But there’s always a risk when you care what people think of you.
You feel weak and don’t know how you can continue, or how you could ever be useful. Yet if you acknowledge your weakness, those weak places can be turned into something beautiful that highlights Christ’s strength.
You’re often tempted to give in, to quit, to silence your voice. It’s just too hard to keep going. But if you do continue on, God can use you–your gifts and your presence–to bless other people.
If you’re a writer, your calling is one of words. You need to listen to receive those words. His words are like honey, sweet to the taste, lasting forever and never going bad.
“When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, Lord God Almighty.” Jeremiah 15:16
Even if you don’t write, if you’re a Christ-follower, the one necessary thing is to let Jesus’s words sink deep into your heart. Mary found that best part when she sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his word. (Luke 10:38-42). Nobody can take that away from you. Ever.
It takes courage to step out and make new friends.
It takes courage to pass along the Lord’s words.
But it’s worth it.
Every month, my guild publishes The Redbud Post online. On April 25th, the first-ever Redbud book, Everbloom, will be released! Stay tuned here for more info. I’m honored that one of my essays will be included with such a stellar group of writers.