You may not know it, but I’m an introvert. Most writers are introverts. Going to a party or public gathering sucks the life out of me. By the time I get home, I’m ready to crawl in a hole for a week, just to recharge my batteries.
I really only have one friend I interact with, plus a handful of acquaintances I chat with online. Making friends takes a long time. It’s not like I can decide to have a new friend by Friday. With that struggle weighing heavy on my heart, I nearly cried when I read this passage from Jennie Allen’s book, Restless: Because You Were Made for More.
Five years before Sarah Henry had her strokes, she sat on my bed and watched me pack for a trip. She was impatient that I was leaving. I was one of her only friends because she had recently moved to Austin. She wondered out loud if she would ever have friends like she had in college. I looked at her and said, “Quit waiting for people to pursue you. They won’t. Pursue them.”
Outside of the ICU while Sarah was facing death because of her strokes, waiting rooms could not contain us all. Somewhere in the midst of three kids and a busy, full life over those five years, she pursued. She asked great questions and risked vulnerable pieces of herself and spoke about her God to us. She loved well, and many, many people call Sarah friend.
Together, through our suffering and her loss, we are doing our best to give back what she has given us. As she heals, we pray. We pursue. We ask great questions she can’t answer with words just yet. We bare our souls while she listens with her whole body and all of her old Sarah personality, and then we give her back the God she gave us so well.
As the world has watched, we’ve all wondered . . . If it were us in that bed, have we loved deep enough to have friends like this?
Sarah, Joseph, and Jesus did not waste time trying to control their circumstances. They invested their time in strategically and unconditionally loving and serving people. It is the best investment of our lives.
–Jennie Allen, Restless, excerpt from Chapter 15: Threads of People.
That’s beautiful. Here’s an example of one woman who felt she couldn’t make friends. After being encouraged to pursue people and love them, she had countless friends eager to support her when she had an emergency. This amazing transformation took place in five years.
Jennie Allen makes it sound so easy, though, as if all we had to do is go pick someone and start loving them. In real life—in my life—it seems so much more complicated. I have to single out someone I’d like to befriend, start a conversation, persist on subsequent occasions, make time for time together, be loving and lovable, hope the other person finds me endearing enough, and so on.
If you’re an introvert, what part of building relationships do you find most challenging? If you’re an extrovert, do your best to offer introverts some gentle advice and encouragement.
I’d encourage you to pick up a copy of Jennie Allen’s book, Restless: Because You Were Made for More. It is available from Amazon in paperback, Kindle, Audible audio edition, and MP3 CD or from Christianbook.com in paperback or ePub.
|Restless: Because You Were Made for MoreBy Jennie Allen / W Publishing
Our lives are full. Full up to the brim with jobs, children, homes, family, friends, and church, to name a few. And yet, despite life’s fullness we often feel empty, bored, and restless. Our hearts yearn for more, to know that we’re fulfilling the purpose we’ve been put on this planet to accomplish.
Jennie Allen felt like her life was missing something too, and in Restless, she shares how God helped her discover and embrace her calling. In turn, she gives practical advice on how to identify your gifts and passions, even your suffering, to uncover the divinely placed threads in your story.
You and your heart were made for more. What if you began to live like you believed it?
|Restless: Because You Were Made for More – eBookBy Jennie Allen / Thomas Nelson|
This post is part of the Virtual Book Fair: Christian Authors A to Z. See the list of other authors featured in the Virtual Book Fair.