HOW TO HELP A FRIEND WHEN SHE HAS LOST HERSELF
I could tell she had been crying.
"I'm sorry to call you so late, but I needed to talk to someone."
The woman on the other line of the phone was a friend who has been going through a particularly busy season of her life. To say that she was "under pressure" was an understatement.
" I just feel..." her voice began to crack as her throat choked back the tears, "I just feel like I have lost myself."
My intelligent, creative, and beautiful friend was drowning in a special kind of despair that only "busyness" can bring. She was asking me to throw her a life preserver.
Women today are busy. We just are. If we are working full-time, we are busy. If we are at home with kids, we are busy. You would be hard pressed to find a lazy, lounging woman hanging around doing nothing.
In addition, women can experience several severe "Season of Life" changes. In one year a woman can go from being high-powered CEO to a stay-at-home mommy with an infant. In the same way, within months a woman can go from schlepping teenage children around to their soccer practices to having an empty nest. Women are the ones that typically care for their aging parents. There are a lot of life changes women experience and it's easy for one to lose herself along they way.
So, how can YOU help?
Does your friend seem distant from the things she once to loved to do? Has she stopped writing music, baking macarons, running marathons, arranging floral pieces, or anything else that once brought her joy and excitement? There is a difference between being busy and being disconnected. Busyness depletes time. Disconnectedness depletes joy.
It is easy to lose ourselves when we are constantly giving ourselves to others (work, motherhood, parents, church, etc.) A good friend will remind us of who we are and what are good at. Recently, a friend wrote an email to her boss and she asked me to proofread it. She is an exceptional writer and although it was a work email, I was prompted to remind her that she is a talented writer and gifted with communicating hard things with soft words. It is our job as friends to be the excellent detectives in uncovering the evidence of who are friends are. If a friend saying, "I don't know who I am anymore," we can be the voice that reminds of the song the use to sing.
If our friend is feeling lost, it may be our cue to interrupt her daily pattern with an activity that will reset her soul. If she loves music, take her to a concert. If she is a foodie, take her to the new restaurant in town. If she is inspired by art, kidnap her and bring her to a museum. She needs you to be the one that interrupts her thoughts of "lostness" by bringing her to a place that will give her soul space to breathe. The truth she is, she most likely will not give herself the permission to reset her soul. She needs you to do that for her. I would like to add that sometimes, a simple activity that connects a friend to one of her central joys can be the most spiritual acts of service we can do for her. We need to recognize that God has created her with passions, personality, and desires. If she is feeling lost, we can help pave the way back to herself and ultimately, Him.
Who is the female friend in your life who seems frazzled and disconnected from who she once was? Who seems like she is lost herself in a season of life that is drained her of joy? Do not be tempted to "mind your own business" but instead, move towards her with empathy and encouragement. Take up the holy responsibility of pointing out to her who she is and what she is good at. Interrupt her thoughts of "losing herself" by bringing her to a place where can connect to her central joy again. Be willing to pay the bill, make the plans, drive to the destination, and create space for her to remember her joy.
This is what we do for our friends. We don't let feel like their alone but rather, we tighten our cords of friendship and once again say,