Remember the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland? He spent the entire movie scurrying around and stressing over how late he was for “a very important date”. Every time he appeared on the screen, he was running and checking his watch and freaking out and running while checking his watch again. The poor guy looked completely exhausted and frazzled, and missed pretty much all of the great interactions because he couldn’t stick around for any of them. I don’t think he ever even knew Alice’s name.
You know what else? He was running alone in every scene – no partner, no friends. Just him and his watch.
Every feel like the White Rabbit?
In her book Living Well and Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life, Ruth Soukup writes,
“At our very core, we all want to be loved and accepted. We crave those special friendships that will build us up and keep us going when times are tough. We long for someone to laugh with, someone to cry with, and someone to cheer us on. Even so, I think many of us struggle when it comes to making and maintaining true friendships. Life gets hectic, and it is hard to keep tabs on your own life, much less someone else’s. “
Read Luke 10: 38-42
Martha, Martha, Martha…..Sister, did you get it wrong or what? I know we normally look at this scripture through the lens of accountability for Quiet Time and prayer and reflection in God’s presence. All of that is wonderful and true and relevant. But let’s shift the lens a little, shall we? Let’s look at it relationally, seeing Mary’s choice to stop and spend time with Jesus her friend, as well as her Savior.
Friendship (and all relationships, really) takes an investment of time. To have good friends, we must be a good friend. To have people who invest in us, we must invest in other people. To send the message to another that they are important, we must prioritize them, and find ways to be present in their lives.
When’s the last time you did this? Write about the last time you reached out to a friend with a pure interest in catching up with her (or him), and no agenda otherwise – that means no need of a favor, or advice, or chance to plug your own recent events. Write about the last time a friend did this for you. How did both of these instances make you feel? How long has it been since either happened?
Do you tend to be the one reaching out to others? Or are you the one waiting for friends reach out first? Why do you think this is?
In this day and age, it’s so easy to drop someone a quick text or message. Make a pledge to reach out to a different friend each day for the next three days. Note what happens when you do.
It’s hard not to feel left out or neglected when we think our friends are ignoring us, or don’t know (or possibly care) what’s going on in our lives. Be proactive. Make it a point to extend the first hand, ask the first “How can I pray for you?”. Chances are, they are just as busy and overwhelmed and harried as you are. They may just be waiting on someone to show some interest and caring.
Solidarity, sisters. Solid friendships are a work of art. Be the artist.