arm's lengthMore than once I’ve concluded that I don’t think deep, close friendship is intended for me. I don’t say that because I don’t want it to be, but because the closest friends I’ve ever had (with a very few exceptions) have walked (or just faded) away.

Then I think maybe it’s supposed to be this way. It keeps me clinging to God all the harder, going to him with the wounds I don’t want others to see, ducking under the shadow of His wings to replenish and get stronger so I can move on.

I’ve been begged not to change who I am, the way I love, the way I push past my boundaries to meet the needs of others and be there for them even when it hurts me and my family. On the one hand I appreciate the thought because it says they believe in who I am–the real me–and want me to stay true to that person. On the other hand, though, I want to cry out, “Why? So I can keep getting doors slammed in my face in one fashion or another, over and over?”

Can one be divinely called to that?

Even my husband doesn’t seem interested in ever getting close to anyone in friendship again. He reasons that we have each other, and our family, and a few friends who have stuck by us and have (thus far) never walked away. Sad, the need for a “thus far”.

Maybe he’s right. But in all honesty I’m not sure how to live life keeping people at arm’s length. I know people who do, and seem almost gifted at it, but it just isn’t me.

At the same time I’m tired of opening a door only to have it shut hard and locked, sometimes without even an explanation. It hurts when goodbye comes, whether it is spoken aloud or not, whether a reason is given or not, whether it happens all at once or fades out over a period of time.

And the worst part is that even though in answer to prayer God brings some measure of healing, the hurt seems to never fully go away.

I’ve been here more than once, in this place of “I’m not really sure where that leaves me.” The big question is, is this where I’m supposed to live? If it is, then I pray for contentment here. I pray God will dissolve the longing for deeper closeness. If this is to be His provision and protection over me, then I pray for the will to accept it.

If this isn’t where I should resign myself to live, then I pray for clarity and growth. There has to be a way to discern His wisdom in all this.

Is this you, too, friend? Might we walk through this side by side, discover who we are designed to be in regard to friendship with others?

Surely the road would be less lonely if traveled together.

 

 

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Featured at Write Where It Hurts

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