I’ve heard a lot of pastors’ wives receive the advice to be careful whom you trust in your congregations and where you make friends. I think it often makes us wary of those around us in the pews and sometimes hinders us from loving people freely.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Loving people in your congregation doesn’t mean (and shouldn’t necessarily mean) that they are all your friends.
But, you need to find your people – the ones you can rely on and who love you just for being you. A few years ago it was a popular saying to “find your tribe,” but that doesn’t always explain it in the way I’ve seen PWs do it, and the way I’ve found works for me.
I don’t have a group of friends who meets to go out to dinner or takes girl weekends. I don’t have a group text where I can pour out my heart. I’ve learned that it’s ok (and healthy) for me to have a friend here in this circle, and a friend over there in another circle. It’s good for my soul to have wide and varying interests and the friends to go along with them.
I love to run and workout, so I have my gym friends. I love reading and quirky pop culture things and it’s good for me to have that circle of friends. I love knitting and crafting and have a community where that is appreciated. I love Jesus and have my Christian and church friends. And I have those friends who are just there, accepting me with all those facets and loving me for me. Sometimes those circles overlap (a church and gym friend, a knitting friend who slips me a fiction novel she just finished), but it’s ok if they don’t.
For a long time I craved that someone would “get” me. I felt misunderstood and fragmented. I swirled with anxiety over this for years, stemming from rejection and hurt from a close friend. But as I walked through this, the Lord showed me that HE is the One who formed me and knew me before I was even born (Jer. 1:5).
I love what Ruth 1:16-17 says:
But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”
When I’m feeling disconnected or misunderstood for who I am, I turn to this. This is how God wants us to follow Him. He wants us to follow and sacrifice ourselves inside and out for His truth and gospel. He wants us to pay no mind to leaving our people or our location if He calls us away. Even though I have worked very diligently to have my people whom I can trust and go to, ultimately God is “my people.” His direction is the one I listen to and the one for which I lay down my life. I pray that you may find some comfort in friends here on earth, while also finding your ultimate comfort in the mission of Ruth – following God wherever He leads you.
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