WANTED: Female Friend.
Age: Less (as in age-less).
Availability: When needed.
Skills: Non-judgmental listening ears and voice given to both constructive critique and compliments.
On the subject of friendship, I’m very clear: I know what I want in a friend. That’s easy. Harder – for me – is being friendable. Approachable. Open to the new. Willing to do the work of investing from scratch.
How do I open myself to friendship in such a way that I stay safe and yet risk knowing and being known?
Time for some honest self-examination. How badly do I want to be known? Honest answer: it depends. On my mood, my current circumstances, my schedule, my needs. But friendship doesn’t wait to form just when we are in the mood or need it. It’s formed in the daily and the dramatic so that when we need it, it’s there.
I want friends. But how friendable am I willing to be?
Taking stock of all the enduring friendships in my life, in every one there was a time when I chose to be friendable. Such a choice was always followed by another choice to continue being friendable. And so on. Over and over and over again.
Over 25 years ago, I stepped into a group with seven other women. At first, we didn’t really know each other. At least all of us didn’t know all of us. We’d been gathered together by two women who felt nudged to bring us into a group of mutual support due to our life situations. Partly because I sensed agreement with the idea and a lot because they were all older and much wiser, I committed. I knew I needed what they had.
Some time after we began our monthly meetings – maybe it was a whole year – I risked and gave more of me. Unedited. Raw. Real. Down the road, I chose again as I listened to another woman share a dark moment. I cupped her story and held it as sacred. Through the years, I’ve chosen again and again and again. Carving out calendar space and protecting it, pausing to consider differences in our generational perspectives, bringing forth more of myself to connect with another, I’ve chosen again and again to become friendable.
This is the passion behind a new podcast that I’m co-hosting with my new heart-friend, Eryn Eddy, produced by Our Daily Bread Ministries. It’s called God Hears Her and every conversation shares the stunning truth that God notices you. He sees you, he hears you, he loves you because you are his.
Eryn and I met on a kind of friendship “blind date” when we were tapped to co-host this podcast. We wondered, would we like each other? Would we be a “fit?” Would there be chemistry that invited other women in? Who knew? We chose to be friendable and to find out.
Nearly a year later, our cross-generational, mutually mentoring relationship has revitalized many facets of me, challenging me to feel my feels (Eryn is an Enneagram 7 and a ENFP on the Meyers-Briggs), dip further into social media for positive purposes, and become even more honest in order to encourage more women. I think I’ve enriched her life some too – walking with her through scrape-the-bottom-of-the-bank-account financial decisions, re-entering the dating world and losing her beloved Frenchie, Bernice.
God Hears Her is a podcast for women like you and me and Eryn. Because women are pulled in every direction, and we put pressure on ourselves to do all and be all. Because we feel overwhelmed, isolated and often wonder … is it just me? Because we need to be reminded that God sees us while we’re frantically responding to emails, chasing toddlers and doing dishes after dinner. That he hears us when our hearts cry out for more. More help, more happiness, more praise, more contentment. Because we need friends to come alongside us in the hurts, joys and struggles of our every day.
Jesus said, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Translated for us in the arena of friendship: “If you want a friend, be friendable.” Choose it. And then choose it over and over and over again.
Elisa Morgan is President Emerita of MOPS International, an author, speaker, co-host of Discover the Word and co-host of God Hears Her. Subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, or Google – listen, rate and review