I have found myself overthinking friendships at times. Who will understand the hardships of ministry? Who is less likely to leave the church, thus leaving me high and dry? Who won’t probe me for “insider information”? While asking these questions can be wise, there’s a point where I can put too much pressure on friendships.
God created us for relationships. We can relax in that knowledge!
Scripture is filled with verses about friendship (1 Samuel 18:1-3; Ecclesiastes 4:9-10; Proverbs 27:5, 6, 9, 17; John 15:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:11). There are over 40 “one another’s” in the Bible, showing that God intends for us to live in community. Here are ten:
- Comfort one another (1 Thessalonians 4:18)
- Forgive one another (Colossians 3:13)
- Build one another up (Romans 15:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:11)
- Serve one another (Galatians 5:13)
- Bear one another's burdens (Galatians 6:2)
- Encourage one another (Hebrews 10:25)
- Meet with one another (Hebrews 10:25)
- Be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving toward one another (Ephesians 4:32; Romans 12:10)
- Care for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25)
- Pray for one another (James 5:16)
We also see our innate design for earthly relationships in our ability to communicate, express emotion, and desire to get to know others. There is no doubt that we were created to have relationships!
How should a ministry wife think about friendships when she is prone to overthink relationships or not see a need for them? Here are six thoughts about relaxing and pursuing friends.
- RELAX. Friendships are an intentional part of the human experience. You were created for friendships. Don’t overthink it! Find some godly women that enjoy being around and pursue them. This doesn’t have to be complicated and the ladies don’t necessarily have to check off all of your boxes. You may be surprised at who God brings your way.
- RELAX. Your best friends don’t always have to be other ministry leaders’ wives. It’s okay for you to enjoy the company of those who are not involved in leadership. If you make a decision that you can only have other leaders’ wives as your closest friends, you are cutting off the majority of ladies who could be incredible friends to you. Open up your circle of potential friends and you’ll be blessed.
- RELAX. It’s okay if your besties aren’t ministry wives, but do attempt to invest in friendships with the other leaders’ wives in your local body. This contributes to the unity of the church. When there is a coldness between leaders’ wives, disunity in the body is sure follow. As others watch their leaders’ wives spending time together, they will see an example of how we are to live in community together.
You will find that you naturally have things in common with these ladies as you experience the ups and downs of ministry. Supporting each other is essential. You’ve all given your time, energy, and emotions to similar passions. Because of this, you already have a point of connection and a need for each other.
- RELAX. Don’t try to do life on your own, even if you are tired and busy. Friendships take sacrifice, but they are worth it. You weren’t created to live the Christian life without the support of good friends even if you feel you don’t have time for them. Brainstorm with your husband about how you can make time to invest in relationships with others. Perhaps he can take over the household duties one night each week so you can meet someone for coffee. Find “friend time” in your schedule that won’t add stress.
- RELAX. Friendships are a risk. Some of your friends will leave the church. Some may get angry at your husband. Some won’t stick. But some will stick. Some friends will walk with you through your hardest days and invite you to do the same with them. These friendships make the risk worth it.
- RELAX. You can be realistic about friendships. We’re all sinners. We’re going to hurt each other’s feelings sometimes. We’re going to feel insecure sometimes. We’re going to need to apologize to each other often. We’re all going to need grace. This is the reality of community. You’ll find that your commitment to be in community despite the bad parts will create genuine, lasting friendships.
We’re all humans. Wanting and needing friendships is part of God’s good design for us. At times, it can be hard to admit that we need others. It can be difficult to make time for friendships. We can even think that the risk of friendships isn’t worth it. Let’s take a deep breath and relax as we moved towards new friendships. After all, this is how we were created to live.
Nikki Daniel is a pastor’s wife from Augusta, Georgia (www.crawfordavenue.org) . Nikki and her husband, Bert, have two sons (Noah, 9 and Isaiah, 7) and one daughter (Tatom, 3). She enjoys homeschooling, writing, and playing intense games of Settlers of Catan. Nikki holds degrees from the University of Houston and Southern Seminary.