Cliques (They’re Not Just for High School)

Ok, so now we can agree that we all feel lonely at times, that Satan wants us to feel lonely and does so by creating relationship killers through our insecurities, and that God can change that.

Whew! We’ve covered a lot!

The last thing I wanted to talk about on this topic was cliques. The reason I have for this is that I don’t believe cliques ended with high school. They just have different names now.

No longer are we navigating the land of jocks, nerds, slackers, preps and goths. Now I find myself categorized by the decisions I’ve made in my life; the roles I assume:

Wife.

Stay at Home Mom.

Christian.

Blogger.

Thirty-something.

Those are just a few, but you get my point.

For some reason, we tend to assume that the people in the same category as us are the ones we should associate with. Those are the people we’ll have the most in common with and that’s our sphere. The problem with this is that I begin to judge people by their category, instead of as individuals.

I can dismiss relationships that God may be placing in my path because they don’t seem to fit the mold. Also, I become small and narrow-minded, because I only associate with people exactly like myself.

One of my best friends is single, with no children. She and I live in different states, and we don’t keep in touch that well (a problem I’ve already confessed to). However, when I get the opportunity to spend time with her, it’s like no time has passed. Our lives are completely different, but our affection for each other has remained the same.

I am covered in baby spit up, fishing cars out of my purse and making sure everyone is Purelled. She has a fabulous apartment overlooking the Puget Sound and she always looks so stylish and put together. Honestly, when I first became a mom I thought that our relationship wouldn’t last. I thought that she would look at my life and think it was boring. I didn’t think I had anything of value to offer her, because why would she want to come sit at my house and watch my child roll around on the floor when she could go out on a Saturday night?

I underestimated her. I thought we were only friends as long as our categories matched. I’m so glad I was wrong, because she is able to speak into my life in a way that someone who’s in the same situation as me cannot.

God knew I needed her in my life and wouldn’t allow me to push her away.

::

The challenge, then, is this:

Don’t dismiss people from your life just because you don’t think they will fit into your pretty little box of friends.

My children have an art supplies box.

Inside of it is a jumble of sidewalk chalk, markers, watercolor paints, crayons (some new, some wrapper-ripped) and colored pencils. When I first purchased these items I was so careful to make sure that all of the art supplies ended up back in the appropriate container. Everything had its place and it was neat and tidy. This type of organization does not last long with toddlers. Caps were misplaced, packaging was torn, and crayons were broken in half.

My Type A, organized-self felt frustrated by the mess, but then God showed me the beauty in it. No longer where they confined to one medium; pictures were drawn with chalk, pencil, marker and crayon. Art was still created.

Our lives begin as an empty canvas. We allow, or block, people from leaving their imprint. We can choose to only allow this medium or that to build on the picture of our lives. Or we can open it up, allow God to design, and see the splendor that appears.

Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Colossians 3:14

Thank you for joining me in this look at loneliness and relationships this week. I know that God has really spoken to me through it and through your comments. I also know from the comments that He’s spoken to you. I have read each one, and prayed over the things you’ve said, and I will continue to pray for you in these areas. Thank you for being willing to be open and honest with me.

Miss Part 1Part 2Part 3 or Part 4 in the series? Check them out!

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18 Comments

  1. loved this post… been feeling the same lately. thanks for sharing and encouraging me to keep allowing God to work his masterpiece in my life especially when it comes to friendships.

    1. Melissa says:

      I’m glad it was an encouragement to you Charissa. :) Have a great weekend!

  2. craig says:

    But Melissa, the mediums aren’t supposed to mix! Goodness. Soon you’ll have watercolors slopping over the charcoal, and muddying up the oils, until they hit the waxy crayon markings, and ooze all over the dainty white linen table cloth!

    If we all did that we’d have neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free person, neither male or female; and we’d all be one in Christ Jesus!

    There would be hands jumbled together with arms and eyes and all sorts of different body parts all thrown together to make up the body of Christ! We can’t have that can we?! That would be

    would be

    well

    Christian.

    Oh wait a minute…hmmmm

    God Bless

    1. Melissa says:

      Now why didn’t I think about that verse?! That fits perfectly. Thanks for adding those in, Craig. Great additions!

      1. craig says:

        Hey, it was your insightful analogy that made my brain click. Without what you wrote, I wouldn’t have even thought of what I wrote. I got to go where I went, because you went where you did. Well done :)

        1. Melissa says:

          Which is why we’re supposed to be in community. :)

  3. Melissa says:

    I had to laugh at Craig’s post.

    I think one of the reasons I have or do feel lonely is BECAUSE I don’t have a clique. Do you that the first thing I said this morning? “I wish I had a clique.” Haha! How funny to read your blog and find this!

    I am clearly desiring the wrong thing.

    The other night I was talking with my girlfriend. As an outsider I was looking in on a group, describing it at a “clique”. She said she felt the same way, BUT nobody in this group actually knows each other.

    I am clearly not seeing clearly!

    Wrong motives and bad perceptions bring on envy that shouldn’t even have a place in my heart.

    And right now, I am blessed that we are speaking at our dear friend’s 25th wedding anniversary tomorrow. They got married when I was in HIGH SCHOOL and yet, they are one of our dearest friends.

    So yay, out of the boxness!

    1. Melissa says:

      That’s hilarious! I totally know what you mean though. It’s nice to have a tight knit group of people who know us and accept us. That’s so exciting about your friends anniversary. Quite a feat these days! Yay for out of the boxness. :) Have a great time!

  4. Haley says:

    I LOVE the art supplies illustration!! What a perfect challenge for me as an organized perfectionist, myself! …And an artist. I recently had a tiny tinge of a desire to mix mediums and quickly dismissed it. I wonder what amazing creativity could/would have come out of an openness to try new things.

    I also LOVE your description of your relationship with your dear friend. I have often thought what a unique individual she is for having the ability to maintain that relationship across the role barriers. This has been a challenge in my life as well, and it is not one that has gone as smoothly with one of my friends. So sad.

    Thank you for this series. I appreciate your willingness to be open and honest. I also appreciate your bravery in attacking a subject that is emotionally charged for you (and for me).

    A success!

    1. Melissa says:

      We’re too alike, you and me, Haley. :) But it does help to be able to explain something without actually having to explain it. I like that we speak the same language. Haha! Thanks for your encouragement. This was difficult for me to write, but after our conversation last week I felt like it would be good. You’ve inspired me. :) Have a great weekend and I can’t wait to see that baby girl…not much longer!

  5. Jason says:

    GREAT post. Cliques in Christian culture sometimes I think is worse than in secular culture. After all, isn’t the “church” where everyone is supposed to be accepted? Instead, we get shoved into little boxes and someone of us are more “cool” than others, etc.

    Since I moved to Nashville, I’ve been dismissed more than I had been in the last five years combined…by cliques that don’t know they’re cliques. :)

    1. Melissa says:

      I’m writing a post about that on Monday. :) It’s funny you mention Nashville. From being on Twitter I see all you Nashtonians (that’s what you’re called, right) and think, “I wish I lived there. Everyone’s so cool.” :) Of course I think everyone knows each other and you all get together for parties.

  6. jasonS says:

    Melissa, you’re shocking me right now! Cliques? Outside high school and even in the church? Sorry, didn’t mean to drip sarcasm all over your blog there. :)

    I love diversity. I love it in friendships and life. It’s definitely a little harder to navigate but it’s so worth it! One of the ‘core values’ of our church is to see 3 generations living and working and standing together. It’s so cool that my father-in-law who was the pastor before me and still part of our church is one of my best friends. God does amazing things when we are open to it! Thanks Melissa.

    1. Melissa says:

      Haha! Sarcasm noted. :) What a great value to hold. And then to model it in your own life for your congregation & children. We could all benefit from having someone more mature than is to lead us forward and someone behind us to show the way to.

  7. Dana says:

    Loved this whole series Melissa. It spoke volumes to what I am dealing with in my own life right now.

    1. Melissa says:

      I hesitate to say I’m glad to hear that, because I don’t want you to be dealing with loneliness. We’re all walking through it together, though, and God’s leading us. :) Love you friend!

  8. Carly Turner says:

    I love you Melissa Rae! You are such a blessing to me! This whole series you are doing is so beautiful. I know it’s weird to say that, because it’s hard and sometimes ugly to rake through such a dark issue, but it’s very strong of you to put yourself out there with such honesty and humility. You made me cry at work today (again).

    1. Melissa says:

      I don’t want you to cry. :) Love you. Thank you for being my Carly Joe. :)

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