Friendships are a source of both joy and heartache.
Women have a greater need for friendships than men do. Our friendships run deeper. Men like to “do things” with friends. Women want to “know things” about each other. We like to do things together too, like shopping, but we want to talk while we do it!
Girls are naturally drawn to each other. A girl’s first experience with heartache may have been over a lost “best friend” rather than a “boy friend”. When friendships are lost, women grieve.
We do not just grieve for the friendship, but also for the secrets shared, the trust given and the acceptance enjoyed. If betrayed, the pain runs deep. No one can cause you more harm than someone you have trusted in deeply.
Your best friend in school knows who you are afraid of and who you secretly like. She knows you still keep your Barbies in your room and you cried for a week when Shaun Cassidy got married. She knows your Mom drinks and you “came this close” to letting your cousin touch you there…
Most recall a time in school when a friend we trusted proved to have loose lips. It cut like a knife and that is when it starts – the creation of the mask.
The “you” you are willing to let the world see. We hide behind our masks, thinking we are better off, but we lose so much. If no one knows I’m struggling, I deny them the chance to minister to me and keep me accountable. I lose the good advice of mature Christians, not to mention their prayers.
How it started and however it was reinforced, we want to look at how we can take the mask off and start to be real.
We don’t want to risk letting people see the bad stuff. If we let people see just the good stuff – if we never let them see the bad – we will be accepted and enjoy good friendships.
If you are being accepted by people because of the false front you present – then deep down you know it is only the false front being accepted. The real you will remain terribly alone and you know it. That is why so many women who we see as “picture perfect” are struggling with deep insecurities.
How do we start?
Before we can allow others to see inside of us, we have to accept who we are. If we are not comfortable with who we are on the inside, we will always hide behind walls. I lived 28 years without God in my life and when my eyes were spiritually opened, I was all at once deeply ashamed but completely accepted I was amazed that God would love and accept me, just as I am.
“This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us..” (1 John 4:9-10 NLT)
God loved me before I ever loved Him. He is the one who initiated our relationship. God did not wait for me to clean up my act so He could love me. I was a rotten person with all kinds of emotional baggage and bad habits!
“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners…God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:6-8.
God looked down on me when I was utterly helpless! And He loved me. If we can learn to live our life through our Father’s eyes, we will accept ourselves as imperfect people. We will learn to accept others as imperfect people too. We will be able to take off our masks and allow others to do the same.