Being a Somebody
Ever feel like God is knocking you in the heart with something over and over again because, well, He really wants you to tell you something?
Recently that’s how I’ve felt. My husband and I moved to Alaska in July, and while we are both thrilled to be living in this adventure-filled place with mountains everywhere we look, there is also a twang of homesickness in my stomach. I’ve always loved to explore new places and meet new people, but I have also always loved the comfort of home, where I know everyone well, my mom makes me soup & baked goods, and I can get anywhere without a GPS app.
My absolute favorite thing about home is being a “somebody”, as I like to call it.
You’re a “somebody” to various people. You’re surrounded by people you love and who love you back. You have multiple people you could call at the drop of a hat to grab coffee, or go to a movie, or even just ask to come over for an hour to relax.
While moving to Alaska was a dream of mine, I was missing that “somebody” feeling. Who was I a “somebody” to up here, 2,686 miles away from where I used to call home? So a little ache in my heart started to grow.
Then I started reading this book, called Nourished, by Becky Freeman and Rachel Randolph. And when I say “started” I really mean that I had started reading it two years ago and got to about page 32 until I let it sit open, upside down on page 32 until that crease in the binding starts to form because it hasn’t been touched in so long. Anyways, I’m far past page 32 now, and I recently got to the chapter that talks about finding adult friends and nourishing our adult friendships. And I thought to myself, “BAM, this is what I need!” That was my first heart knock from God.
Right after I had read that chapter, I attended our Alaska Women’s Retreat in Fairbanks. And low and behold, what was our retreat all about? Of course, getting together with other sisters in Christ, other encouraging women, and growing deep, lasting friendships! (Or in my words, becoming a “somebody” to someone!) There it was for the second time, BAM, God heart-knocking me again.
Let’s be real honest with each other now, just raw and ruthless for a hot second. Because, truthfully, we can’t all sit here in our little cozy chairs, scrolling through our phones, or our computers by ourselves all the time and expect everything to just fall into place. The truth of the matter is, making friends, real friends, as an adult is hard. Becoming a “somebody” to someone is no longer sharing our goldfish at snack time with the pigtailed girl sitting next to us at lunch. We don’t find our BFFs on the playground when they ask us if they can swing next to us. It’s not a few late-night slumber parties and ‘boom’ automatic best friends. It takes work, effort and time. And where are we going to find that in the midst of our already blacked out planners, work schedules, family time, and self-care moments (if we’re lucky)?
As I sat at the women’s retreat and listened to our very own Amanda and Mel speak about the blessing God has given us in friendship, and as I felt that knocking on my heart yet again, I couldn’t help but feel that ache to be a “somebody” start to throb.
Now if you haven’t heard Amanda or Mel speak before, number one: you’re missing out, number two: they come at a subject from totally different angles, number three: they know how to captivate a room so well. So make sure you’re there for the next Holy Hen House event. During our sessions we dug into many of the reasons why it can be so hard for women who are well-past their preschool days to create a bond with other women. And as we wrestled with that, I kept going back in time to those “easier” years, specifically my 4 year old year. Maybe it’s because I teach 4 year old’s now, but that’s beside the point.
Friendships at the ripe age of 4 are wonderful. I still remember my very first best friend who I met in preschool, who will always hold that special place in my heart. I remember how easy it was for me to just be her friend. We were placed in a classroom together and basically told to make friends as we learned our letters, and colors, etc. But I also remember the jealousy I felt when someone else would be playing with MY best friend. I remember the heartbreak when she’d choose to talk with someone else at recess, or when she gave her goldfish to someone other than me. Even at a young age, the struggles of friendship hurt. But those struggles were usually short lived, and we were back to being BFFs in no time. She was my “somebody” and I was hers.
Now last year, I had the privilege of being the Health teacher to some wonderful sophomore students. And man, did I learn a lot! I’m still not sure if they got anything out of it, but that’s for another story. One of the most fascinating things I got to dive into with them was the development of the brain: how our brains develop from back to front. And this might shock you (or you might already be way smarter than I was) but our brains don’t fully develop until ages 25-27, women earlier than men! Sorry boys; we still love you though. So that part of your brain right behind your forehead isn’t fully functioning until your mid-twenties. This frontal lobe is basically the control panel for your personality and decision making. It helps you ask the question, “Is this a good idea?” It helps you think through things. It helps display emotions and participate in higher order thinking, etc. So before that frontal lobe is fully developed we aren’t very good at thinking through things properly, or making good rational decisions, which can be a blessing a curse. And I’ll tell you why.
At age 4, my brain was far from developed; my frontal lobe was nowhere near where it is now. So when I went to school or the park or the pool, I didn’t really think through who I wanted to talk to or play with or ask to be my friend. I just did it.
It never even crossed my mind that it might sound weird if I ask them, “Will you be my friend?”
I never thought, “They might think I’m odd or not want to play with me.”
Even into elementary school my brain wasn’t developed enough to ask the question, “Is this a good idea to sit with them at lunch?” I just did.
I didn’t think through all the possible negative outcomes that could happen. And in no time at all, I was a “somebody” to many of my classmates.
Now you’re thinking, “Man, do I wish I was back in preschool again!” But no, you’re right where God wants you to be, I promise. Although you’re right; it was so much easier back then to make friends, to meet new people, to step out of our comfort zone; mostly because, well, we didn’t have one. Our brains weren’t developed enough to know what our comfort zone was. And I’m sure that is one of the reasons why God designed us like that. He didn’t want little, 4 year old Sarah worrying about making friends when I had bigger problems like learning how to count and tie my shoes.
As we age, I’ve noticed that my frontal lobe is a lot more active. (Especially now that I am finally 25!)
When I walk into the coffee shop, I wonder what people are thinking of me. “Do I look hip enough to be in such a stylish and modern cafe? What will they think if I just order a drip coffee… is that too plain?”
Or at the store, “How will that lady react if I tell her I like her earrings and ask her where she got them? Should I stand in line on my phone so that I don’t have to have an awkward conversation with the lady behind me?”
Even at church these thoughts run through my head, in the place where my God dwells, in my sanctuary, my safe place, the place God fills me up with his love and mercy. “She didn’t talk to me last week after church, maybe I offended her somehow. I won’t greet her today just in case.” Or maybe it’s, “I think it’s okay if I’m the first one to sit down during meet and greet time; I’m not very outgoing. People don’t want to talk to me anyways.” Maybe even, “If I greet that visitor, they might think I came on too strong and never come back again; I’ll leave it up to someone else to welcome them.” Or one of my all time favorites, “She looks so put together and already has her group of friends at church, I don’t want to intrude or awkwardly invite her into my messy life.”
Oh that frontal lobe! What have you done to me? You’re really hindering my efforts in becoming a “somebody!”
My higher order thinking and thought processing often leads me down the dreary, lonely path of “It’d be so much easier to just stay home with a warm cup of coffee than… [insert anything that has to do with socializing]. That way to don’t have to go through the awkward small talk, or worrying whether I look okay, or if they like the meal I made, etc.”
But wait! Who made my brain? Who created and loves all of His children? Who blessed me with people in my life to lean on, to encourage, to show love to? Oh that’s right, God did. I am a “somebody” to God himself. And my God, my great and glorious God, has called ME to make others feel like a “somebody” too.
John 15:12 states, “Love one another as I have loved you.” And then in verse 14, “You are my friends…” Wow, God calls me his friend. He doesn’t look at me and judge me for my outfit, or the type of coffee I order. He never sees my messy life and refuses to come on over. He doesn’t say, “Well, she has her friends already; she doesn’t need me.”
So… why do I say those things?
Why do I worry about and over analyze every potential new friendship?
God does not say, “Worry, my dear daughter. Yes, worry your life away. Stay cooped up in your cozy Alaskan home and just be alone.” Rather he knocks on my heart and reminds me that, “Two are better than one” (Ecclesiastes 4:9).
Don’t let your frontal lobe trick you with its whispering lies, “Stay in your comfort zone, they won’t accept you anyways. They’re judging you. Someone else can be their friend. You’re fine just where you are.” That is the devil with his twisted speech. He doesn’t want you to feel like a “somebody”, let alone have you make another person feel loved and cared for too.
My dear friend, my sister in Christ, you are stronger than those lies.
You are a redeemed child of God, holy, and deeply loved by your Maker. And you know what… that fully developed frontal lobe has its perks too. It knows love.
It can think and process the depth of love we find in a Christ-centered friendship.
It can ask the question, “Why would she be my friend even after I did that to her?” And it can answer, “Because she loves you and forgives you as Christ forgives us.” It can demonstrate emotions like no other part of your brain can.
Use that frontal lobe to God’s glory, to give a hug when you notice someone hurting, even if every other part of you is telling you it might be awkward or not well received.
Use it to speak Christ’s forgiveness to a brother or sister who is burdened by sin, even if you’re worried to talk to them about their sins.
Use it to smile at a stranger in the grocery store or the café, to ask them how they’re doing.
Use it so that others may see God’s love through you.
So maybe this is the first “BANG” of God’s heart-knocking for you. Maybe you’ve been feeling a little ache too, an ache to be a “somebody” again. Writing this was the third “BANG” for me.
And although not even my frontal lobe can fully grasp the love of my Heavenly Father, “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:18), I’m ready to show someone out there that they’re a “somebody” to me, because they’re already a “somebody” to Jesus and so am I.