Journey to True Friendship- Stepping off the island

I hid behind my leadership role.  I made excuses and put on my armor, fulfilling my role at the church without showing my humanness, without being vulnerable.  The smile never faded, the spring never left my step.  I was the quintessential “good Christian girl”: good at my job, good at mommyhood, good at praying aloud, good at being the encourager.

It all fit so neatly into my desire to be perfect, because then at least everyone thought I really was.  The mask fit so well, I began to believe the features truly were mine.  The mask was comfortable, but I was lonely.

Though I couldn’t have articulated it at the time, I was living as if it was more important to not make mistakes, than it was to make true friends.

Six years I lived like this, not letting anyone in.  I had experienced true friendship.  I had a few friends who knew me inside and out, and who loved me regardless of my faults, but most of them were hundreds of miles away.  It felt like thousands.  I was sure that eventually I would make friends like that in this new place, but little did I know that as the months and years went by, I was steadily building up a wall, brick by brick, that would end up isolating me from all I desired in relationships.  I was making myself an island.

“When people think we are perfect, without insecurities or faults, it works against connection.  Vulnerability creates connection faster than almost anything.”
Lisa Whelchel, “Friendship for Grown-Ups”

How do you go from this place of isolation, no matter how you’ve achieved it, to a place of vulnerability and trust?  How do you take that first step?
For me it was the realization that God wanted me in a place of abundance.  That He created me for community, and that community meant allowing myself to be broken and laid bare before other women. With that realization, came a choice:

to obey and reach out, or deny His waiting gifts. 

I opened my heart to Him in prayer and acknowledged the void that I had created.  I knew that the choice to obey would not bear fruit immediately, and that it carried the risks of being uncomfortable, and even wounded.

But it meant that I would be taking the first steps toward getting off of my island.

So I picked up the paddle, and set off.

Have you ever been on an island emotionally?  What brought you there and how did you leave it?  If you haven’t left, are you ready to take that first step?

I am sharing this act of journeying with five wonderful women, 
also writing about the travels of their hearts:

Heather~ Journey Toward a Prayerful Life
Kris~ Journey Out of Fear
Erika~ Journey Into the Word
Emily~ Journey Toward Rest
Nicole~ Journey of Providence