Do you have a best friend? Maybe you have that one person who’s been by your side through thick and thin since childhood, who knows everything about you including your favorite color and the name of your first crush. Perhaps you have a group of friends you consider close as sisters — girls whom you can call in the middle of night that would drive to your house bearing comforting gifts of ice cream and wine and offering shoulders to cry on.
But maybe you don’t have those “go-to” people. Maybe you actually feel somewhat isolated.
I recently read a post in a Facebook group that resonated so strongly with me and with many others. The woman who was posting wrote, “I was wondering if there was anyone else out there that doesn’t really have a ‘bestie?’; That ride or die friend I feel like everyone but me has.”
For so long, and increasingly more so after having children, I have felt that same isolation and detachment. I love my boys beyond measure and wouldn’t give back one second of time spent with them. But somewhere along the lines, I’ve lost that meaningful connection with the outside world.
I think this is the case for so many mothers. We devote our time, our physical bodies, and our energy to our children. This leaves little time for ourselves or for that coveted “self-care,” let alone for engagement and interaction with friends.
If I’m honest, sometimes these feelings of isolation aren’t just because I’m a mom. There have been periods throughout my life that I haven’t fit in. Maybe you’ve experienced those, too?
There was the phase of glasses and braces and awkwardness in which I found myself crawling into my virtual shell to avoid the stares and giggles. There was the time in high school that all of my close friends became cheerleaders, but I wasn’t coordinated or confident enough to make the team. There was the time in college when I joined a sorority only to quickly become disillusioned by the insecurities I felt in this group of shining, outgoing stars.
I’m an INFJ, an introvert by nature, who feels big feelings but prefers one-on-one interactions with others. I crave alone time—time for reflection and examination. Sometimes, I know that my isolation is self-imposed. Sometimes, it’s situational.
If you have ever experienced that same lack of a “bestie” or if you’ve ever felt out of the loop, unpopular, or just detached, I’m here to tell you that you are not alone. You are not alone because others are in the same boat. But more importantly, you are not alone because Christ is there with you.
“Neither death nor life … nor anything else in the whole world will ever be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 12:1-2)
Have you ever pondered just how much of an outcast Jesus himself was? He was shunned because he boldly called himself the Son of God (Matthew 27:43). But he was also shunned due to his choices. He went out of his way to extend love where it wasn’t expected—to society’s outcasts. He included the excluded. He dined with sinners and tax collectors (Mark 2:13-17). He touched a bleeding woman (Mark 5:25-34) and spoke with a demon-possessed man (Mark 5:1-20). His own disciples were a broken and sin-filled flock. There are countless stories of Jesus interacting with the less than desirable. Jesus’ choices certainly caused not only physical but emotional isolation.
“He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” (Isaiah 53:3)
That same man who was rejected understands our pain. He knows what it’s like to feel alone. But he also can shine a light on how to handle our aloneness.
The world tells us that we need to be popular to succeed. In our modern day society, we are consumed with needing more “likes” and followers on social media. We take pride in popularity, receiving invitations to gatherings, and being “in the know.”
BUT scripture says none of that. Our true worth comes not from fitting in and being known but from knowing to whom we belong.
Matthew 5:14-16 calls us to be a refuge, a city on a hilltop, to be the change and the light. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden … In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
We weren’t created to be the same as others or to fit in; we were created to fulfill our calling to Christ, our true best friend … to care for others, even the downtrodden and unpopular, and to be the light in a dark world.
Friend, whether you feel alone or uncool, or whether you’ve devoted your entire existence to your family and you can’t remember the last time you had a “girl’s night out,” just remember that you are deeply and unconditionally loved by the One who created you. You were born to do good things, to be a friend to the friendless and a servant to the unloved.
When we take our pride and selfish desires out of the equation, we can better know and understand our role as a giver and friend. “For it is in giving that we receive” (St. Francis of Assisi). If we are a friend to the world, a light in a dim room, and a comforting presence to others, we receive so much more in return.
So, how can we be a friend and servant? Compassionate giving and acts of kindness not only help others but nourish our own souls. Today, get a notebook and list all of your amazing qualities and ways you can serve others.
Do you like to bake or cook? Make a meal for someone. Are you a gifted writer? Email a friend to let them know you’re thinking of them or send a “just because” greeting card. Are you crafty? Create a unique gift and mail it to a loved one. Maybe you don’t have any real hobbies or skills, but there are certainly things you can offer. Perhaps you can watch a fellow mom’s children for a few hours so she can have some free time. Maybe you can buy a coffee for someone, lend a hand with a neighbor’s yardwork, or just offer your support with a smile.
Above all, remember that your Heavenly Father loves you beyond measure and is your best friend always and forever. Knowing this gives us strength and the ability to love others and ourselves without limitations or expectations. What a beautiful gift!
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. […] Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. […] if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4: 7, 11-12)
I want to thank Kim for being my guest blogger this week. She is the author of 360 Health: Your Guide to Cancer Prevention, Healing Foods, and Total Body Wellness. She is also the co-host of A Whole New You podcast. You can connect with Kim here.