Swipe Right to Friend: A Review

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Y’all, I have to say that I haven’t been very good with the female friendships in my life. I am more prone to male friendships over the years, as the guys I was close with in college can attest (except for Brooke and Angela). I found that women often brought drama and I wanted as far away from it as possible, still do.

As I have gotten older though I have found that I crave female friendships, women to connect with and talk with. There are certain things that frankly I just cannot with men-and honestly, should not. So I dug into Never Unfriended from Lisa-Jo Baker, her newest out from B&H Publishing over the last couple of weeks.

This book? Well I was prepared to think it was another in a line of gushy women-love books for believers. I was prepped to read alot of fluff and not much content, and oft mis-contextualized Scripture thrown in for good measure. But that was not the case y’all.

It chronicles Lisa-Jo’s own walk in female friendships, starting first with what we fear about them. Chapters dig into the realities of life lived outside of a computer/phone screen in real life with women around us. What holds us back from them, and what keeps us talking about them long after they’ve departed.

“For better or worse, female friendships take courage to start and courage to maintain.” (pg. 43)

She walks you through being the new girl, and y’all, we will always be the new girl at some point. And we’ll also be the girl to include the new girl. Always.

As you dig deeper into this book you’ll find sections on what you can do about your friendships and what you cannot do. We have to embrace both, as Lisa-Jo points out. There are points of application in some areas, and points to pray and seek further wisdom on. There were points where I had to put down the book and reflect on friendships I had let go of and ones I had so desperately clung to when I shouldn’t have.

This book is a much needed resource for women today. It highlights key areas I see continuously besieging friendships I am in, and those I am on the fringes of. You may disagree with her on some points, but allow the Holy Spirit to convict you as you read as well, opening up the space you have guarded off due to broken trust and hurt in past relationships. I highly recommend this book for women in a single context. I wouldn’t encourage a group study on this per say, as you need space to solely process and work through some areas she brings up…or maybe that was just me.

At the end you’ll find where you can start on never being unfriended, but you already have if you’ve picked up this book. Lisa-Jo provides more than platitudes with this book, she provides opportunities for women to connect and grow in community in real-life friendships, not the ones we see plaguing our jealous hearts across Instagram and Pinterest.


In exchange for this review, a free copy of the book was provided by the publisher, B&H. You can pick up this book at LifeWay Christian Stores or on their website, as well as other retailers nationwide.

The Death of a Friendship

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For almost the last year I have been grieving the gradual death of a friendship, trying as I might to revive something that just is flat out dead. The reality of that death hit me hard this weekend, much like any death would. I had to come to the very real and grave decision to let this friendship die. Several friends I have discussed this with over the course of the year were encouraging and supportive, where this friendship had been concerned, allowing me to talk through it and fight to sustain it.

We don’t talk much about this really, as we grow more into being seen as having all these friendships, connections and followers in our social media world. I see books pouring out about connection and engagement, craving it with one another. That is good y’all, I really do champion that. But I think we forget the ugly side of it too, that some friendships do die, even after years of relational contact. Some glide away, rolling in and out like the tide on a lazy day at the beach.

But some? Well you find yourself grieving and worrying, pouring too much and not enough into, and finding yourself being torn further by keeping them alive and sustaining them. But it must be done. Some times that means we are the ones who have to kill it. We have to put it down to put it out of it’s misery, and quite possibly our own. You shouldn’t be filled with regret after leaving time with that friend, ever. That’s not a friendship worth keeping alive.

If I am filled with regret after time spent with this friend, why do I continue to allow this friendship to stay alive?

That’s the question I had to ask myself yesterday. It’s the one I have consistently had to ask myself over the last year of seeing this friendship die and going back with the paddles to bring it back to life. Dear friends would say, “It’s for the best, let it die.” I would champion on, trying to find redemption, pointing to times where encouragement and respect were at the forefront. But those snippets were small and distant the longer this friendship continued on life support.

The greatest gift we can give ourselves is the ability to grieve something like this, and then move forward from it. Just as I talked about One Way Friendships before, I think we have to be a friend to ourselves first in order to realize that some deaths are inevitable in friendships, and that we can be better from it. I saw that over the course of this year I have forfeited some of my very own words, truth and love in order to give life to a friendship that should have had the plug pulled.

Grieve the loss, but don’t let the nostalgia of a seasonal friendship deceive you into thinking it’s a lifelong one. As has been said before, some friends are here for a reason, others for a season, and still others for a lifetime. But for our own good, and the good of our other friendships, don’t try to make one of those into something are not. Allow them to die, grieve the loss, and forge into relationships meant for you in your season, for whatever reason, and pouring into those lifelong ones which enjoy all the stages of life, even the grieving of death.

A One-Woman Man

Y’all, I normally don’t post mid-day and rarely link to other sites to get you over there but singles, this one stuck. I wanted to share this post over at Desiring God with you as a means of conversation and dialogue, among both women and men.

Because it is needed y’all.

So here it is. 

I’d love to open up the comments below and get your feedback, your thoughts and well…just your opinion on this. It’s something I am currently writing about in the book and definitely feel the need to place on the table with singles (and marrieds too y’all…)

Bachelor Wednesday

Y’all, I know I said I’d be doing this weekly but if I’m honest I got really sick of watching the Bachelor the last couple of weeks. The main reason being I couldn’t understand the attraction and competition of these women to Nick.

I know some of this show is just the push to get “known” and then capitalize on that to be an internet ad for various products. I’m not naive enough to think they all are in love with this man…and y’all it’d be hard to anyways.

But I know deep down, many of these women are searching for love. They long to be filled with a purpose and mend a heart that seems to have been broken in various ways and by various people. I look at the finalists after watching Monday’s episode and think about how each of them are some pretty awesome ladies, ones that I would more than likely be friends with in a given context. When you have edited content of these women’s stories you can put together a little about why they chose to come onto a national television program to compete for a man. You can see the lies they have been sold in that they need him to make life better, to complete them, to know what love really is for them.

I think that’s why I stepped away from the last few weeks of watching and writing on it, because it just made me sad. That we as women, as a society, have accepted that this is what love looks like or that is what we should be pursuing. Instantaneous physical attraction and just a few hours spent with someone means a match for the rest of our lives? It’s an immature approach to relationships, and most importantly, to a commitment to marriage.

I wonder if that bill of goods is now the generally accepted law among my generation and the Millenials. I wonder if deep down we are okay with the dynamic of our culture in pursuing takeaway relationships instead of deep-seeded growth with one another. Instead of being known by another person deeply, we’d rather have the immediate perception of coupledom and being wanted?

 

Living in La La Land

rs-la-la-land-3d3a431a-8329-4539-b953-51e2d61a396cInitially I wanted to see La La Land, but then when the hype and awards buzz hit peak level I slowly started backing away from it. Opting instead to see new favorite Hidden Figures (it’s amazing, you must see it). But alas, I finally saw it in the last couple of days.

And y’all, I loved it. LOVED. Here’s a caveat, I keep a skeptical eye on musicals. I am really not a fan when people break into song for no apparent reason. They also tend to be overly sweet in nature, sometimes not, but often so.

Back to the matter at hand, La La Land…y’all it is a great telling and portrayal of the tension of ambition and love with the backdrop of Hollywood. But to see the tension fully of the two individuals play out was something that really pulled the story together. I love me some Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone (hi Crazy Stupid Love, anyone?) but more than that, they showed the conflict they were both living out so well.

Because often the struggle of pursuing dreams, dreams that break you and hurt you, can be in direct conflict with love and a relationship because we like the idea of a clean separation of both, of handling both, but what often happens is they are pulling and tugging us in directions that come across as opposing. I could not help but see the beauty in that mess on the screen. The messiness of life in general can cause us to hurt and emote in ways we wish we didn’t, or even lead us to give up on that pursuit simply out of the need to not be hurt anymore by it, choosing instead the more solid route of comfort and security.

Seeing La La Land was a reminder that messy can be beautiful and it can be both temporary and permanent, it can leave us longing and wondering, but it can lead us to places we’d never thought possible if we recognize the tension of both and allow the tugs and pulls to be in the right direction. But we may not get it all the way we thought we would, and there in lies the rub of it all with our own selves.

We struggle against the path of perfection, of our ambition and love both intertwining easily in order to get all that we expect instead of living out the hard tension of hurt, heart break and wrong timing. When we are able to face them we understand more about who we are and how we resolve those. Maybe we shouldn’t be living so much in la la land with our expectations and instead find a way to live in the tension of ambition and love a bit more.

Bachelor Friday

It’s been quiet this week around here as I have battled quite the cold/flu/sinus infection concoction that seems to be after everyone in these parts. Have any of y’all had this crud? It’s rather infuriating just how easily something like that can take you down for days. I digress though, y’all didn’t pop over here to hear about my sickliness. On to the Bachelor…

I had to go back and re-watch the first half hour again because I was in such a sick fog I completely blanked on who went home and what occurred between the crazy and the crazier out there on the patio furniture in Wisconsin.

My poor namesake Sarah, I was rooting for ya girl. You had a funny opening line as the “runner-up” when you met, you seemed bright and witty…much too good for this dude. You even weighed in to the Corinne crazy to help guide her a bit, but alas you went home, and were you ever emotional about it.

That’s what struck me this week (over the voodoo dolls and two-on-one date nuttiness) is that you get very vulnerable when you open yourself up to a relationship with someone, even in the format of a reality show and knowledge that 20+ other women are vying for this same guy.

After a few interactions with a person you get a certain comfort level that allows your heart to open up at the possibility of something more, that this could be the person you marry….Women, we tend to get invested at that point. We put our focus and our heart into it much more than a guy for the most part. We look beyond the present and start to see a potential future, leaving our hearts open and willing to look past circumstances or rational thinking (sometimes) at what might be a life partner.

I watched Sarah break down in the post-ceremony catch up at how she wants to be loved, and I think at the heart of the matter they all do, much like we all do at our core. We desire that love when we release ourselves at the possibility of a relationship. We find we do want that even if we’ve kept ourselves guarded and unexpecting of anything further. It takes courage to be vulnerable and also realize you are wanting love like that in your life, the love of another person who is right there in front of you and you see a connection with. It hurts all the more when that’s not what they desire or it doesn’t pan out how you had given yourself the freedom to hope it would.

So we find ourselves much like Sarah was on Monday night, emotional and questioning if love was meant for them…wondering if love from another is what we all are destined to have.

Bachelor Friday

As promised in last week’s post, I have this week’s Bachelor recap thoughts. I had to watch it Tuesday since I had plans Monday night, and then you know, life happens.

 

Y’all I nearly came unglued when one of the girls who is all of 25, and did not receive a rose at the ceremony, is sobbing about how she’s tired of being single. At 25. (insert largest eye roll ever) I hope your 35 year old self sees this a decade down the road and claps back at you for it. From what I could see of her brief stint on the show, she seemed likable and rather put together. She was very pretty and truly was looking for a companion.

But darlin’, don’t bemoan to a camera how you are tired of being single at 25. There is no sympathy for that. None. Am I being harsh? Probably so…

But here’s the thing. While I don’t know her detailed dating life, I do know at 25 it’s hard to bemoan your singleness. Especially when you elect to go on a television show where you vie with 30 other women for a man. You’ve probably been single for a couple of months, maybe even a year. But I can guarantee you that you don’t know what the single life is like with clarity and perspective.

Maybe I am completely wrong about it, but you’re not even at the average age for women to get married in the US , so darlin’, hush up.

Being single means you get to discover who you are, YOU. Not who you are with a man, or how that defines you. You get to do you, figure you out at 25, at 30, and at even 40. It opens up your life to who you are meant to be and not defined by the ring on your finger or the man at the end of that aisle. Single and 25 means you get to explore, travel, learn…spend copious amounts of time with friends and family, dig into the career and life expectations. You get to figure out what YOU want.

Piece of real advice here for the 25 year olds bemoaning single life, the guy I wanted at 25 is most definitely not the guy I wanted at 28, at 30, at 32 and now at 35. Truth be told, the older I have gotten the more I have seen what I truly desire in my life isn’t defined by the presence or absence of a man at my side. Be single with yourself to see what you really want, and who you really want to be. For yourself.