My feet have walked confidently into so many rooms only to have my heart suddenly take on a toddler status, grab the door frame, and refuse to follow my feet. Because it looked scary in there. And overwhelming. The irony when this has happened is that usually the room is full of people. But the thing is, my heart can’t easily find an anchor. A face. A friend.
But I’m an extrovert, and my feet are fast, and my heart has no choice but to hang on for dear life. And that’s what it was looking for as we walked into this particular room one evening, passing by the chips and salsa. Dear life. No big deal. Just the feeling of being alive and safe and cared for and valued and enjoyed. Life.
The chocolates always look like they offer life so I beelined for the sweets. If I’m going to feel lonely, at least I’ll have chocolate as my companion. It’s always so delicious but equally so deficient. Chocolate has been a poor substitute for friendship over the years. But I keep coming back.
Just when I started to feel the weight of my loneliness and my poor heart was about to throw a raging tantrum and demand my feet make a run for it out of this terrible place, I see my friend. She waves me over. And my heart and feet sigh relief in tandem and go join her. She opens the circle she’s standing in and introduces me to everyone.
I was seen. I was invited. I was welcomed. No chocolate has ever done that.
This is why friendship is such a God-designed gift. You and I are in desperate need of being seen, invited, welcomed. Of feeling alive, safe, and valued. Of enjoying others and loving others and needing others. Of being full of life and pouring life out on others.
You were not designed to live alone with your heart fighting with your feet, wondering if a room has room for you. Or if a community can commune with you. You were designed to have circles widen for you, and to widen the circle. You were designed to see others, and to be seen by others. You were designed for anchoring others, and to be anchored by others. Because you were designed in God’s image: God is the one who sees, invites, and anchors us all.
Let’s be the friend who is aware of the room, aware of the greater heart postures walking around. The one who can’t wait to widen the circle and anchor a soul. The one who remembers the feeling of brave feet but weak hearts.
The one who knows chocolate pales in comparison to friendship.
Today, thank God for the friends who have widened the circle for you. Ask God to open your eyes to what friends need: a circle-widener.