For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them (Matthew 18:20 NIV).
Friend to Friend
I’ve never been popular by the world’s standards. I’m not part of any “in” group; I’ve always felt more comfortable with a few close friends than with lots of acquaintances. And, for the most part, I’ve been content with this. Don’t get me wrong; junior high and high school were hard—that horrible but necessary season of life when everyone struggles to discover who they are and where they belong in this world. Except for that brief coming-of-age period, I’ve always been comfortable with myself. I’d even go so far as to claim Psalm 16:6: “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.”
However, even with my contented sensibilities, social media can take a toll on my feelings. Sometimes I come across pictures of “friends” getting together without me and feel the quick sting of rejection, and every now and then the sting stays with me for a few days. What’s more, everyone else online seems to have so many friends when I only have a few. That’s when I have to preach to my own heart what I know to be true: I don’t need everyone to like me, love me, or invite me.
As long as I am safe and secure in that most important, always-inclusive relationship with God through Christ, all other fellowship is merely icing on an already satisfying cake. Though I love frosting . . . this metaphorical cake doesn’t need a ton of it. I’m loved. And so are you.
Being rooted in that love relationship allows us to bloom securely, even when we’re tempted to feel insecure about our place in the virtual world. The truth is, we were never intended to be everyone’s BFF. When Jesus speaks to us about friendship, He uses simple math. No big numbers, no hard equations. In Matthew 18:20, He tells us that in order to enjoy His presence, we just need a couple of close friends to enjoy Him with: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
It’s okay to have surface-level relationships on-line and in real-life; not every post or conversation needs to be meaningful. The challenge is striking a balance. We live in a culture that values beautiful pictures but isn’t comfortable with beautiful brokenness. We post highlights for all to see while forsaking the friends with whom we can safely share the low-lights.
It’s alright if our social media stream reads more like a personal scrapbook of highlights. It’s an easy way to share the fun stuff with our extended family and friends. There’s no shame in that. There’s nothing wrong with a snapshot of our favorite food (#yum) and our date night (#lovehim) and trips to the park (#momlife). That said, we all need a few trusted girlfriends we can come to with our private prayer requests, our fresh diagnoses, our confessions, and our fears.
Just the other day I received a group text from my friend Emily. She sent it to four of us, wishing one of our dearest friends a happy birthday. For the next two hours we all joined in sending birthday wishes, sharing pictures and updates about our families, and going deep with private prayer requests. Emily capped things off by saying, “I love this text string so much and I want to continue it regularly. You ladies introduced me to our Lord and Savior nearly twenty years ago. You will always be my heart sisters.”
Heart sisters. For twenty years. In a world where we carry a thousand friends in our pockets and our purses, Emily has four she carries in her heart. Heart sisters.
We don’t need everyone to like us, love us, invite us, or include us. In God’s economy, two or three faithful friends make for great wealth. In the company of just a few, we get to experience the richness of His presence and the warmth of their sincere support.
You don’t need lots of girlfriends… just a few “Girlfriends in God.”
Dear Lord, Thank You for giving me a couple of real friends. Though this digital age tempts me to believe I need the whole world (wide web) to like me, I really only need You and the intimate group of family and friends You’ve blessed me with. Thank You for the few gold strands You’ve carefully braided into the tapestry of my life.
In Jesus’s Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
What is one way you can safeguard your heart from feeling left out or less than when looking at social media?
More from the Girlfriends
If the people you are following online have gotten between you and the only One who said “Follow Me,” consider taking a 40 Day Social Media Fast. Exchange your online distractions for real-life devotion—to Christ and the few special flesh-and-blood people He’s put right in front of you! Find out more at 40daysocialmediafast.com
© 2020 by Wendy Speake. All rights reserved.