God Gives Us Who We Need

You know those shirts and internet memes that say things like, ‘ew, people’ or ‘it’s too people-y’? Well, I’m the exact opposite. I absolutely love people. My personality thrives on human interaction. Social gatherings are when I’m at my best. Being surrounded by my people, and even meeting new people, brings me real joy. However, the kind of loving transparency I possess brings its own set of challenges. Not everyone is like me. Thank God, right? I don’t want everyone to be like me. Uniqueness and individuality are God-given. While I appreciate our differences, coming to terms with the fact that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea was extremely painful. Loving so freely opens you up to a world of hurt. Most of the hurt is unintentional, while some is rooted in carelessness. Whatever the origin, it all feels the same. Raw, exposed and unworthy.

Every relationship goes through ebbs and flows. Only we tend to think of it only in terms of romantic relationships. However, each relationship in your life requires maintenance and nurturing. There are also some that are only present for a season, and frankly, sometimes they end up being most important. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 explains that there is a time for everything under the heavens. Often, God uses these times, and these people, to reveal certain things to you and shape you. However, we don’t always understand that in the moment, especially when dealing with a plethora of feelings.

I’ve always considered myself someone who has a lot of friends. I don’t say that arrogantly, I say it a bit naively. There is a distinct difference between a friend and an acquaintance, and it took me a really long time to understand that. Being the extroverted, social butterfly that I am, I was under the misconception that every person with whom I had a decent conversation, was my friend. I wish I could go back and tell 17 year old Erica, ‘guard your heart, honey…they’re just polite. They’re not going to be your BFF for life.’

Many times over the years, it’s been insinuated, implied, and said straight to my face, that I’m ‘too much.’ Too loud, too nerdy, too wild, too outspoken, too unique in fashion, too goody goody, too overprotective. If you can properly throw the word ‘too’ in front of it, it’s been said about me. Naturally, I developed a complex and constantly tried to be less myself. It is incredibly painful when people that you assume love you the way you are, subtly belittle you. You can have natural confidence and have love poured into you, and it still hurts. My parents and my closest family have shown me true unconditional love my entire life. However, it is to be expected, especially when you’re younger and finding yourself, to want to be accepted by your peers.

I felt a shift in my early twenties when I met my husband. When we connected, I was a little beat down from the world. But I gave him my true self and he fell in love with the real me. I didn’t have to pretend with him, and I never will. He’s my opposite in most ways but we complement each other well. However, it wasn’t until my late twenties that I found the last missing puzzle pieces I truly needed.

Everyone knows there are different types of friendships. You have friends that you’ve known for 20+ years and they’ll always be in your life in some capacity. There’s a love there that stands the test of time, no matter how long you go between meetings. Then, you have those surface-level friends. They might be work friends or fellow soccer mom friends that you can cut up with but it never gets too deep. They serve a unique purpose in your life. Finally, you have the friends who understand you on a level so real, they become your family. I call them lifers. They’re woven into the fabric of your life.

Mine came in the picture in my late twenties, and some even more recently. I know in my heart that God sent them to me. Not because I met them at church, but because He knew how much I needed them. He knew that I needed the unique, unconditional love that only a true friend can give. Friendship is special because there is no obligation. Other relationships hold some level of preconceived commitment. Family is blood bound. Marriage is recognized in the eyes of the law. A true friendship is a conscious choice to love another person when you have no obligation to stay. For the first time in my life, I have friends that love every single part of me, even the parts they might not like. They accept me, they challenge me to be my best, they’re honest with me. We don’t censor each other. We encourage each other, and most importantly, we pray for each other. I can honestly say, I thank God for them each day.

If you find yourself feeling lonely and unaccepted, I urge you to take it to the Lord in prayer. He will always accept you. Proverbs 18:24 says, ‘there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother,’ and that is Jesus. He will never leave you, nor forsake you. He knows what we need in our lives. Psalms‬ ‭37:4‬ says, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” If you commit your life to Him and His ways, He will always give you what you need. He might even give you someone you didn’t even know you needed.

Until next time,

Erica Lee

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