8 reasons it’s important to have a core group of girlfriends

girlfriends

I used to dread being in a room with all girls. It would mean the inevitable opening of the tear duct floodgates and there never seemed to be enough tissues in the room.

Years later, I can’t wait for a girls’ night watching our favorite television show or praying and encouraging one another. While I appreciate and love my male friendships, there are significant benefits to having girlfriends in spite of the inevitable snot-sleeve occurrences:

1. Intentionality

Every friendship starts with initial effort and flourishes with continual effort. While any relationship takes work, having intentional girlfriends is both a give and a take. Your girlfriends are the ones that you’ll want to check up on and the ones you’ll want to take the time to be with. And in turn, they’ll do the same for you.

2. Accountability

As much as I would like to think I do everything right every hour of every day—I don’t. That’s where my girlfriends come in. Whether it’s suddenly fashioning index and middle fingers into a pound sign and yelling “hashtag inapprop!” when I say something inappropriate or sending a text to see how my writing goal is coming along, I need some checkups. Often. Allowing girlfriends to become an intimate part of your life helps you from straying off the path towards a host of temptations and problems. Whether it’s trying to eat healthier, maintaining boundaries in a dating relationship, or refraining from gossip, it’s better with a girlfriend walking alongside you.

3. Vulnerability

There’s a reason I buy bulk tissues now. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m an emotional being. Girls don’t bond by playing video games and drinking beer; we bond by drinking hot coco, watching a romantic comedy, and sharing our thoughts and feelings. Sure, it’s every kind of cheese in the dairy aisle, but that’s who we are. And we need a safe space with steadfast friends in which to share our thoughts, goals, dreams, and desires without judgment.

4. Encouragement

Think of your girlfriends like those posters in elementary school that had a fluffy puppy on it and read: “You can do it!” Only don’t tell them they look like a dog or that could be taken the wrong way. Sometimes you just need a boost of encouragement from a girlfriend to keep on plugging. Whether you’re frustrated at work, struggling in a relationship, or not sleeping because the baby won’t stop crying, you need a friend who will send you flowers, give you a call late at night, and show up unexpected with the sole intention of giving you a hug.

5. Support

After my parents, my girlfriends are my 911. If I need some wise counsel, a shoulder to cry on, or simply a ride to the airport, I can turn to my girlfriends to be there for me. Having a core group of girlfriends is like having a huge family of sisters from another mother and father—you know you’re never alone.

6. Growth

While my growth spurt ended when I was twelve, my character growth continues to develop. Having girlfriends affords a great opportunity to learn from one another as each girl has her own host of life lessons learned. As a single girl, you learn about marriage from married friends. As a newlywed, you learn about children from married friends with kids. I’ve learned more about life, love, contentment, travel, and careers from my girlfriends than any textbook.

7. Joy-giving moments

Hanging out with the girls doesn’t have to mean all seriousness and prayer time. Hanging out with the girls should also mean creating joy-giving moments. Laughter, silliness, happiness—these are all things to pursue daily and girlfriends can help you create moments where these things will occur. Girlfriends that know who you are and how you tick will help create these moments for you, especially when you are in need of them.

8. An excuse to have baked goods

Food and girlfriends go together like peanut butter and chocolate. Enough said.

God has blessed me with a core group of amazing girlfriends and sisters in Christ. Without them, I wouldn’t be spurred on to growth or enjoyed half the fun-loving moments I’ve experienced these past few years. I also wouldn’t have gained a few extra pounds from all the cookies, but I digress.

If you don’t have a core group of girlfriends, pray for opportunities to meet some and be intentional on developing those friendships once you do. Your spiritual and emotional well-being and stomach won’t regret it.

ON HAVING A HAPPY NEW YEAR

new year

photo: timescity.com

G:

I’m assuming your laugh is a hearty one—one that shakes the clouds, maybe even causes small earthquakes in California (just the ones that make your glass of water wobble, of course).

I’m sure you laughed when my good friend and I were sitting on the couch in my apartment this time last year. We were both 100% sure that 2013 was going to be a great year.

It wasn’t.

2013 was a year marked with heartache from broken relationships, loss of beloved family members, inopportune illness, and chronic stress.

Six months in, my friend and I agreed:

2013 sucked.

A year later we’re sitting on the same seats, on the same couch, having the same conversation about 2014. Except this time there’s hot chocolate. And I got new socks. I’m biting my lip as if to hold back any positive adjectives that want to jump out of my mouth to describe 2014. As if “happy” or “great” or “exciting” are death sentences before the year even begins. RIP 2014—you’ve flat lined before the clock even had a chance to strike midnight on New Year’s Eve.

I’m just about to take out any adjectives whatsoever and remark, “well it will be a year!” when I realize that maybe, just maybe, 2013 wasn’t so bad after all. My friend expresses the thoughts I’m feeling and suddenly clarity occurs like someone finally found the light switch after fumbling around a dark room.

“And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). This past year was full of trials and stress and utter exhaustion, but we learned that through it all You work for the good. Because we love You. Because we turned to You every day for the past twelve months.

In the heartache of broken relationships, there came healing. In the loss of loved ones, there came comfort. In illness, there came health. In chronic stress, there came rest.

Because just like my mom, you have a way of pointing out “character building experiences” (Romans 5:3-5). In these experiences I became closer to You. In these experiences You refined me.

Because what if having a “happy” new year doesn’t mean “happy” in the conventional sense—in the sense of rainbows and butterflies and new jobs with higher salaries and romantic engagements with huge diamond rings that weigh down your left hand and luxurious trips around the world on a cruise line that doesn’t lose power or have someone murdered on it—what if having a “happy” new year meant letting You work your magic of creating good from all things. After all, you are The Heavenly Alchemist, making something of worth out of something unworthy.

As long as I turn to You in all things, You’ll make good from all things. ALL things.

You make happy new years from seemingly sucky new years.

Looking back, maybe you weren’t laughing at all when my friend and I were chatting on my couch. Maybe you were agreeing with us.

I’m 100% sure that 2014 is going to be great year, too.

Your child,

m