"A man that hath friends must show himself friendly...." Proverbs 18:24
~~This might surprise some of you, but this is something that I struggle with greatly. It's not that I'm an unfriendly person, it's just that I'm not outgoing. I tend to be the quiet one; content in my little world of caring for my family and home.
~~One thing I love about God is that He convicts us in a soft and gentle way and I've been getting the message lately that my introverted ways aren't always a good thing.
~~If I look deep inside, I know where it all comes from. I've had a struggle with a lack of self-confidence since I was a young girl. I grew up in a wonderful, loving, supportive home and yet I continually fought feelings of not being "good enough." As an adult I've come to learn that it's a disposition I inherited. It's given me a little bit of relief to learn that I'm so much like my Grandma on my Mom's side. She's confided in me that she had the same struggles throughout the years, and yet she is one of the people who I most admire for her strong faith and wonderful heart. Seeing her gives me hope.
~~But because of this lack of confidence, I tend to shy away from reaching out to others, even those close to me. Only recently have I noticed how I unknowingly tend to sabotage other's attempts at friendliness. I put off returning a phone call or making an email. I never really understood why I do that. I think it's the fact that in order to truly be a friend you have to open yourself up, and that can be so hard for me.
~~Like I said, God is so good to show us our weaknesses. But He doesn't leave it at that. He offers to help us heal. I've been reading "Captivating" by John and Stasi Eldredge. Wow! Has it been speaking to me. For example:
"That self-protective way of relating to others has nothing to do with real loving, and nothing to do with deeply trusting God. It is our gut-level response to a dangerous world."
"We camp our hearts in self-doubt, condemning thoughts, our even shame because those emotions have become familiar and comfortable. We are faithlessly indulging rather than allowing our deep aches to draw us to God."
~~I had an experience once when I found out that someone dear to me thought I didn't like her.
I was shocked. Of course I liked her. I asked Dustin, "Why would she think that?" He calmly replied, "Well, you haven't called her in a while or done anything with her." Oh. He was so right.
~~As an artist, my quietness suits me well. I'm happy and content to stay home and paint. I don't like crowds or noise, and yet there's a part of me that really misses the closeness of friendship. A few weeks ago I took the girls to the park. I sat down by a tree and watched as they happily ran off. Sierra is my friendly, outgoing one. It wasn't very long before she had made a new friend and they were giggling and talking about their pets. I looked across the playground and saw a group of Moms at a picnic table, chatting while their kids played.
~~Life is short and uncertain. I don't want to take the chance that those dear to me won't know how much they mean. And I don't want to let my enemy cheat me out of the gift of friendship because of my own self-doubt. I know that I have dear friends who read these blogs. Some of you live near, some are far away, and some I've never met in person. I hope each of you know that you are important to me. And also know that I'm working on it. Stretching a little. Reaching out.
~~The end of the verse above is "...and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother."
That truly is the key; knowing that He is with you. That He will never leave you or reject you. I think that when I can truly let that sink into my heart, then I will be unafraid to open up to others.
I'm so glad you're here! "The Art of Life" is where I share my journey as an artist & Momma. It's a place where I hope to encourage other women that they are artists too. In this small little space I seek to share, document, and be reminded of God's wonderful grace, all around us. ....And I would be so happy to have you journey alongside me! So grab a cup of coffee and linger for a while. I hope you leave feeling refreshed.