Wednesday, March 18, 2015

2015 Goal #4 - Social

A little review in case you've missed the last couple days here...
I am blogging my 2015 goals a couple months behind, in true Renee form. March is as good a month for goals as any.

I have 7 categories for goals and one goal in each category. Keeping it realistic this year.
The ones I've written about so far are spiritual, physical, & intellectual.

Up today - social.

Part of me likes this one and part of me hates it. I have to agree with Zig (see original goals post about Zig Ziglar's wheel of life)... social is a part of life. We interact with others. Friendships are a gift. Getting along with people is a necessary part of life. And I LOVE my friends

Yet somehow, my kids have turned me into an introvert. [cue hysterical laughter. i'm certain i will never be described as an introvert. but after reading Quiet I want to be one. and after having 2 kids in 17 months, i crave the alone time.]
So maybe they haven't really turned me into an introvert.
But as I get older and more of my energy is spent on my kids, I realize when it comes to the social part of life, I mainly care about a few things:

1. maintaining long-time deep friendships that have evolved through various seasons of life
2. having close friends where i am currently
3. blessing and reaching out to others in my circle of influence

I think a lot about people, friendships, relationships, family, etc... so this could get really long, but for now, I'll stick to one goal I have in this area for 2015.

To invest in friendships here in Omaha.

If I'm being honest, it has felt hard to make friends here compared to Cambridge and Lincoln.
Disclaimer: I have this syndrome, perhaps you've heard of it... it's called I-selectively-remember-everything-as-better-than-it-was-syndrome. Like when I blocked out the hard/mildly traumatic birth experience from my first and thought the second would be a breeze. And then when I block out how much I dislike pregnancy. And then when I think having a newborn is fun. And when I think teaching on Chicago's south side for a year was easy. I just forget the hard stuff. Is that normal? I don't know. Maybe.

I want to recall that my friendships in Cambridge and Lincoln came easily, quickly, and naturally.
But the truth is, I was fervent in prayer for friends.
Asking God to provide.
And in the perfect time, He brought wonderful people into my life in each place. People who I talk to often and whose friendships I still cherish today. [I wrote about one of these friendships a while back.]
And so while I'd like to trick myself into thinking those friendships came floating into my life and we all left singing kum-ba-yah, that's not how it went down.
I prayed. A lot. Sometimes in tears, because I was lonely.
God provided.
And then I invested.
And they invested.

Because to make friends, you have to invest time and emotional energy into each other over a long period of time. You have to ask hard questions and be a good listener. Chit chat and mom talk is nice and hunky dory, and it can even provide some much needed comradery - the sense that I'm not in this alone. But true friendship? A kindred spirit? (Anyone else love Anne of Green Gables back in the day?)

In an age of over-connectedness yet complete detachment due to the fake feeling of closeness with everyone a la social media, it's easy to forget what true friendship is.

True friendship walks through life with people.

True friendship celebrates the victories and grieves the loss.
Sees past the surface.
Looks at people's hearts.
Asks questions.
Then listens to the answers.
And remembers.
True friendship gives.
More than it takes.
True friendship says you before me.

I know those friends are here in Omaha because this is where God told us to move.
And so here we are. Waiting, investing, slowly but surely.
Knowing God is providing, even when we can't see it.
I see glimpses of it. I'll meet a new acquaintence for coffee or have a mom over and think - we could be friends. And they're forming. Those life-long friendships.
They take time. And energy.

[edited to add: i realized this might have sounded like i haven't met anyone yet. and that's not true!! I have met SEVERAL women who I really like. And who I consider friends. The beginning/ middle stages of friendship - you know, where you're past the "where are you from and how'd you meet your husband?" but you don't have their birthdays memorized yet. But some of these women have shared their stories & their deep longings with me, been extremely vulnerable, listened, checked back in. and for these beginning friendships, i'm so thankful. and i'm excited to be growing these friendships this year!]

So I'll be investing in 2015. In people. In friends. In Omaha.
Because you and I, we were made for community.
We were made for friendship.
Who are you investing in?

p.s. these pics were taken last May... 10 months ago! love these girls and their sweet budding friendship :)