“It’s only 10:30 AM and I’ve already had a meltdown today.”
That was the text I got from a friend.
I already knew life had been overwhelming for her the last few months due to a variety of life-events, one on top of the other.
I texted back, “I can come over and help you right now.”
She had some appointments to get to, so it was decided to meet up in a few hours.
I pushed a little, knowing her desperate state. “I’m happy to come while you’re gone and get started…”
But she declined, saying… get this…
“I’m a little ashamed and a lot embarrassed. I’m going to have to open up and let you see behind the curtain.”
My next thought was immediate. “I can use the extra time to make dinner for her family.”
I love it when the Holy Spirit speaks to us, giving us specific ideas, leading us this way or that. Ideas that weren’t there until that very moment needed.
I’ve learned to trust that these promptings are from Him and to be obedient to them.
And, quite honestly, it’s really a delight to my soul to do this. I realize He knows the needs, and I love being a part of the process of meeting needs.
When I arrived, we sat for a while, talking and hearing about the pressures at hand. Then we got to work, cleaning and organizing, putting things away. I helped her think through the purpose of each room and how to best organize or display things for each room’s intended functionality.
But, today’s message isn’t about cleaning or organizing…
It’s about friendship.
And the need for women to be vulnerable…
To let each other see behind the curtain.
She and I have a very safe friendship… and with each “secret shared,” landing on safe soil, it grows deeper.
I’d like to use this experience to share with you some thoughts to help you in cultivating intimate friendships:
1) She had to take a risk, to be willing to be vulnerable, to let me see struggles.
2) I needed to be a safe place, accepting her as she is, without judgment, completely realizing I have my own struggles.
3) I needed to respond. As soon as a specific idea comes to mind, I need to GO (and do) rather than say, “Let me know if I can help.” Please get this… Women want help! But if your kind offer requires them being the asker, it ain’t happenin’.
4) I needed to trust that the Lord would fully equip me to do the ideas He put on my heart. This is only accomplished when our mind is off of self and abiding in Him with the focus on the other person. Do these wrong-thoughts sound familiar? “Will I actually be helpful? Will I be in the way? Will I embarrass her? I don’t know how to help.” (me, me, me)
5) She had to receive. She had to let me help, to welcome thoughts, suggestions, or at least allow me to lighten her load without feeling ashamed or apologetic.
6) I needed to be sensitive in recognizing what the situation called for. Productivity or pausing to sit and listen. People over things. Always remember that.
7) I needed to be a safe friend who keeps confidences – with her having no doubts, not wondering if I will go and tell anyone of her insecurities or weaknesses. None of this, “Hey, I just helped X clean her house…” That comes across either as a cut to her or as bragging rights for me. That’s not a trustworthy bond.
The incredible thing is that I LOVED HELPING HER. It was such a blessing to me. I’m glad she let me see behind the curtain and allowed me into her heart.
This friend okayed this blog post. Why?
Because we both want women to experience the freedom and deeper friendships that result from opening the curtain, being vulnerable, and letting in friends.
Does this picture take your breath away? Clutter can do that.
Clutter can bring us to the edge and paralyze us from doing the most mundane of tasks.
Do you let people in? Or do you want to appear to have it all together?
Why not look for a person gifted in the area in which you are weak…a safe person – one whom you know to be non-judgmental, confidential, and whose heart you safely trust. You can begin the process of opening the curtain, letting your wall down, sharing a secret (about you, not about someone else), and in so doing, have the beginning steps towards a beautiful, safe, deep friendship.
I’d love to read your thoughts on a safe friendship you have or a specific example of how you let someone in, opening the curtain to the struggles you have, and allowing someone to help.
Rhonda it’ssofreeingtoNOThavetobegoodateverything ellis