Do you want to know a secret? Since kindergarten, I have had an intense fear of being left out of groups. It started in Kindergarten when I was the only one in our group of friends not invited to my friend's house for her Birthday. I could not understand what was happening, and it felt like the rug had been pulled out from me. . . and I was 5.
This feeling has haunted me ever since. It has manifested itself in different ways, but it always follows a pattern. In the past, when I have been included in a group of 3 to 4 friends, after a period of a couple months, I will remove myself from the group creating distance with these friends. My rationale is, "if I walk away, it is on my terms. There is no rejection, there is no pain. You cannot reject me because I am willingly leaving before I am deemed not cool enough to be in this group."
This is basically what I did in college with a few girlfriends I had at the time. Although I did transfer colleges, I also emotionally severed ties. I did the same thing again when I was training with other teachers in China. It is not that they did not want me in their group. The fact is, I distanced myself from them, preferring the company of the older retired teachers instead. In hindsight, how much of this was also simply a way to protect myself from the fear of rejection.
Now, I am in a group with 3 other girls. We meet every other week to pray and hold one another accountable. It has been life-giving, and deeply encouraging to my soul. At the same time, I feel scared. I know my tendency, and I feel ready to jump ship. At what point am I suddenly not invited to that party, that meeting? And yet, I have stayed. I have committed in my soul not to run away simply because I am scared.
I want to get to a point where this fear no longer haunts me. Where I can see friendship as God designed it to be. Where I am not accepted or rejected based on my wisdom or what I can bring to the table. But rather where I am accepted because He has called me "chosen," and He has called me "friend." I am not there yet, however, I am letting the work be done in me so that I can be there soon.
What fears do you struggle with in friendships? Has anyone else ever discarded good relationships out of fear?