We all know it: Creating and keeping friendships is one of the top challenges for a woman in ministry. Do I make friends from inside the church? Do I seek friendship outside the church within my community? Do I initiate a friendship or do I wait for someone to seek me out? Or do I have a "why bother" attitude because it takes too much effort or because I don't want to be hurt again? Can I have friendships with other pastor's wives and ministry women? All good questions with a variety of answers.
The real question is what am I going to do about it? If I decide that it's important to me to have women friends in my life, then I probably am going to have to initiate the process. Wouldn't it be nice if someone just walked up to you one day and said, "I want to be your friend"? The reality of it is that's not going to happen. So…do I have a game plan, a strategy, for making friends? It would involve time and energy (which more often than not is in short supply in a ministry life) and a willingness to put myself out there.
In poking around the internet, I found two women with two different takes on developing friendships. Tricia Lovejoy, who writes for Flourish - Community for Ministry Wives, gives us a story relevant to this age of social media and leaves us with action steps that give hope: She Un-friended Me. The other story is from Focus on the Family - Clergy Care Network. This pastor's wife, using a fictitious name, shares her reasons for not having friends within the church and a perspective on dealing with the needy woman in the church who want to be my friend: Moments with Marlene…a Pastor's Wife.
I am certain that God knows and cares about my heart's desire to have friends, and I do believe He is working on my behalf all the time. But sometimes I make it all about me. It becomes a selfish thing and it blinds me to the possibilities. The more I think about it, God's desire for me to be a friend is probably the more important point. I think I'm going to put a game plan into action and stop waiting and whining!
Would love to hear from you! What do you think about these ladies' comments? Do you have some tips that would be helpful to the rest of us?
Lisa Harris helps in the office of the Refresh Ministry Women Department of the SoMo District Council AG. She is a pastor's wife, mother and grandma, and a new transplant to Springfield MO. She is actively pursuing new friendships and welcomes any opportunities to connect with the pastor's wives of SoMo District AG.