“You are a part of the puzzle that is needed. “This is one of the wisdom nuggets I’ve held on to since this weekend from one of my sister-friends, Shantel Farrow. I always enjoy speaking with Shantel because she causes me to reflect purposefully. As she described how a puzzle has single pieces that come together to form a unified image, the insight was worth repeating to you.  Although we have been quoting for decades that “no man is an island” we can sometimes live a solitary life.

We justify our isolation by saying things such as:

-Relationship building is too hard.

-I’m okay by myself.

-The last time I tried to build a friendship…

-I don’t have time for…

-I don’t form relationships with other women because..

We find a way to justify our fear or frustration with connecting with other women. In the same breath, we also contradict ourselves by saying things such as:

-No one cares about me.

-I am lonely.

-I wish I had someone to talk with.

-I can’t do this by myself (we usually say this one internally).

What if we began to see our sister-friend relationships as a necessity?  What if we were more intentional about building genuine friendships that not only helped us to grow but challenged us to be more vulnerable and open? When we develop real relationships, they unmask us from the image we present to everyone else. They challenge us to be ourselves and also provide a safe place for us to share what is really going on so we can experience healing.

There are strengths that I have, but there are also areas I’m not so good at. For me, that would be in having people I can confide in. I’m the one who loves giving encouragement and support, but I struggle with asking for it. Based on some not so good sister-friend relationships, I began to judge all of my relationships from a few isolated incidents. I started to think that me being a solo puzzle piece was much more beneficial than trying to connect with anyone else. This was far from the truth because God built us for relationships. I’ve learned and now have some excellent sister-friend relationships.

Another way to think of the need to connect with others comes from Romans 12:4-6:

In this way, we are like the various parts of the human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t (MSG).

Think of the human body and how each part works together and has a function. Your brain makes sure communication goes to the rest of your body. Your heart beats, pumping blood which will go throughout the body. Your lungs take in oxygen-rich air and releases carbon dioxide. What if your lungs tried to do the job of your brain? What if your heart decided to function as a foot? It wouldn’t work.

In our sister-friend relationships, we must realize that we don’t make up the full body. We are not equipped to handle everything alone. When we try, we are like the heart that is trying to do the job of the arm. We aren’t functioning correctly, or in the way God intended us to function in life.

I challenge you to begin to ask the tough questions:

Have you avoided relationships with other sister friends because it is too “risky” or you have been hurt?

Have you been trying to do life alone?

It is my role as a sister-friend to remind you that there is beauty in relationships. As God heals your heart, you will be able to embrace that you are a vital piece to the puzzle. Your journey can help someone else who is just beginning to navigate a new experience. By recognizing that you are a part and that you are needed, I hope you will see that we need you to come out of hiding. You are a part of the puzzle sister-friend!

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