Sunday, March 24, 2013


Disclaimer: Kris Vallotton is one of my favorite pastors and (if he knew me) would totally be disappointed in what I’m about to write because he’s all about community and not believing in lies about your identity but I’ll just write it anyway because this is just how my week has been.

I’m not a very social person. It’s just in my DNA, I don’t tend to make friends with everyone or go above and beyond to bond with everyone in a room. I talk to a lot of people and since I was a kid in kindergarten I’ve always been in the “popular crowd”, but mostly because I was friends with the most popular girl and they made me popular. But really at my core, I’m a loner, which is why it’s so weird now when I meet people from school they’re like, “I wanted to talk to you back then but you were always in that crowd and didn’t want to talk to me” when it’s me who felt like that.

That popularity gene started dying off in my 2ndyear of High School when I was friends with a popular girl and got BURNED! By then I’d kinda found my own niche and didn’t really feel the need to hang with so and so to feel good about myself. I enjoyed school a lot more after that although my extra-curricular activities still placed me in a position where I wasn’t too obscure.

Fast forward to today where...
to make friends I have to actively pursue it. These past years in college I’ve made some really good friends, but now as we’re leaving, I think the crowd is somewhat tapering off which is good in a way because there are some people who we just grew in different directions, but there are others who to be honest, this separation process is killing me.

Then there are the friendships that you try and make and try to bond with people but they just don’t seem interested in letting you in. I get that sometimes you’re kinda off in your own world, I’m like that sometimes, but it still hurts when someone isn’t receptive or returning the same courtesy when they don’t even know you – like, they aren’t interested in what you have to offer or they just don’t like you for whatever reason.
This is why this hurts me when I’m the one calling and texting and initiating conversations and the other person isn’t – it devalues me. I know this is where Kris V would say, your identity is in Christ, you have value because it’s God who assigns value.

It hurts me because I am a good friend, I care about people, I include people. Like now being in worship team, some people might perceive me as joining a “restricted clique” but I’m always quick to dismiss that and ask for their number to tell them when auditions come up. When someone looks like they don’t fit in, I go up grab their hand and include them. When my friends go through stuff, I care about them like it’s my problem. When it’s my friends’ birthday, I’ll throw them a party. I go above and beyond looking for gifts that’ll make that other person get that surprised-oh-my- gosh-I-can’t-believe-you-care-that-much-about-me-face. I LOVE that face!

All I’m asking is when will it be my turn.

I hate this excuse people give, “If they want to hang out with me, they should tell me.” I had a youth pastor who said the same thing, “If you want me to mentor you or advise you, you have to tell me I won’t look for you.” This same pastor did nothing to seek me out when my dad died. It’s a little extreme of an example but based on that premise, can I propose that it’s easier to open the door for someone on the outside from the inside than to have that person knock on the door standing out in the cold.

At youth group when I finally made it into “a circle” or when I passed my audition for worship team, I said in a couple of meetings, “Now that we’re here and we’ve made it, let’s make it easier for those who’ll come after us and include them and not make them feel like they’re stuck in the outside group when we’re in this other group.” 

I try to live by that, to live by caring for others and trying to care for them the way I’d like to be cared for, reaching beyond my comfort zone so they can feel free to reach beyond theirs. I’m hurt, I’ve been hurt this week because I feel like all that energy is flowing out of me, but none is flowing in. I get that God replenishes what we pour out for Him, but I need Him to do it through my friends.

God, I need friends who are family to me. I need to be surrounded by people who feel like I feel and do like I do, like you do. The biggest messes I’m in, I’m in because I didn’t have such friendships in my life or because I made dumb choices on who I allowed to be my friends. God, I need strength to keep putting myself out there even when I get knocked down because I just can’t and at this point I’d rather save my energy and not bother. Yes, this week has also been about fear but now I realize my biggest fears are about being disappointed in this area of community. The fear that you just don’t have the motivation to put me in enriching relationships and friendships; the fear that you don’t think I’m worth the ride or die friends. You see my dreams and visions are based somewhat on these connections and I just don’t think you’ll do it. So I’ve been afraid and I want(ed) to quit, but I won’t. You’ve made me see all this for a reason and I’ve just got to trust you and lean into that.

There’s a line between you saying, “Joanne trust me, I am not a human that I should lie or change my mind, have I ever spoken and failed to act or promised anything and not carried it through? I am all you need, put your trust in me,” and, “there are many parts in one body, seek out other parts.” (Numbers 23:19 and 1 Corinthians 12:12) So yeah, you might be teaching me how to walk this line, but as you are, please also pay attention to how I feel right now. My heart is just tired. I long for authenticity and pursuit not for any other reason, but simply because someone sees in me what you see in me and gives me a chance.


God Bless, 

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