By Helen Lee
I have a confession: I often feel out of place in this world because the things I enjoy doing are contrary to that of many women I know. For example, my husband once bought me an expensive set of services at a local day spa for my birthday. Years went by and I never used that card--it ended up becoming worthless because the business closed its doors. There's more. I have to force myself to go clothes shopping because doing so feels like torture. And my introverted self would much rather be home alone than on a girls' night out. Over the years I have wondered, "Is something wrong with me? Why don't I pursue friendships like most other women I know?"
I wasn't always this way. Back when I was in college, I was the quintessential "cruise director" of the dorms I lived in. I was the one who knocked on every door to meet every person in the building. I was the one who said hello to every person I walked by and knew each resident's name. I was busy. I was active. I had numerous groups of friends. But what I learned from my college years is that merely doing things with people is no guarantee of a lasting friendship.
As I've gotten older and more cognizant of the limits of my time and energy, I have realized that meaningful friendships look very different from when I was young. I am not so interested in just hanging out and getting my nails done with other women--although I know that can be a point of true bonding for many. What I am interested in is connecting with other women who want to know my hopes and dreams for the future, who understand that I want to make a difference in the world, and who support and encourage those aspirations. An anti-clothes-shopping introvert I may be, but I also know that just as our triumvirate God lives in a community of three Persons, so are we created not to go it alone.
Friendship can take many forms. It can be strengthened in common experiences and activities, over a cup of coffee, in the mall, at the spa. But for some of us, friendships will emerge from dreaming big dreams together, from a common place of dissatisfaction with the status quo, from a shared desire to change the world and not merely subsist in it. If you are like me, seek relationships with those for whom this picture of friendship resonates. You may not have as many moments of "girl time" with them, but your heart, mind, and soul will be nourished by the presence of these women in your life. It's a different picture of friendship, but one no less worthwhile and meaningful.