Girlfriends have never really been my thing.
Sure, I had a few close girlfriends during my formative years, but they were few and far between. Most of the time I hung out with the boys or in a big group of boys and girls. It was less complicated (at least back then) and so simple to figure out. You rode bikes, made forts, played in the sprinklers. Simple.
Girls were more complicated. They liked boys, they competed for attention, and sometimes they were just plain mean. Needless to say, I definitely was not a fan of having female friends. I didn’t see the positives. If I wasn’t the one being competed with, I was pulling up someone else, helping her along until she found herself and abandoned me for someone better.
So, when it came to my adult life — moving across the world 5000-plus miles, twice in four years — making new friends was important, but I was weary. Then I heard about this hugely-popular, Christian women’s conference. A conference where I would only be surrounded by girls and their drama? Mmm, not my thing.
Except that God really laid it on my heart to go. Little did I know the impact that, that first Colour conference would have on my life. In fact, 10 years later, I would post this Facebook status:
ONE WEEK and I will be back in Londontown for one of my MOST favorite times of every year. COLOUR! So expectant of what God will do across this company of women, gathering to praise Him, soak up His presence, find encouragement, wisdom and a whole lot of laughter. Can’t wait to see all my girls (can’t tag y’all) … let the international reunions begin.
Finding Your Girls
Because of that conference, I am a different person when it comes to female friendships. Now I’ll make plans to have dinner with girlfriends — who feel more like sisters — if I’m in their city for a business trip. I have even flown to another country for one day just to catch a friend in transit for 24 hours. I hold my girls close and wouldn’t replace them for the world. So what changed? Here are a few lessons I’ve learned about female friendship:
Find your identity in Christ. The fact is, girls, in any relationship, when we don’t know who we are, we hurt more than ourselves — we hurt each other. When my identity isn’t anchored in an unwavering source, emotions are higher, jealousy rages. Recently a friend asked me if I had lost myself for a bit. The answer was yes. I had wavered in my identity in Christ, and it had an impact on my friendships. Once I got back on track, I was able to appreciate my friends again and be a good friend.
Find your tribe. Find the girls in your life who will not only challenge you to be a better you, but who have the same vision for their lives. Instead of clinging to dead-end relationships, I looked for women around me who had similar goals and dreams — those who were “running the race” with me. Notice those women who seem to always be around you. Talk to them, grab a coffee and see what happens.
Find a purpose. This year, I picked “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten to be my song. It’s the song I wake up to every morning. At this year’s Colour, I sat with a global sisterhood of women as we united with this song as our theme. When we, as women, are united in prayer against all the confusion and evil going on in the world, we form a bond that is stronger than when we simply hang out at the mall.
Die to self. This is the hard one. There are going to be days that your girls are still envious, or rude, or maybe going through a really difficult situation. Sometimes those days will overlap with your own hard days, and you’ll need to just deal with it … in a mature, godly way. The thing is, in a good “girl gang,” you’ll each get your days of grace.
Super easy, eh? (Yeah, I’m part Canadian.) But it really is simple. When you find your “girls” you find something different from relationships with guys. Something that almost can’t be described. Something that has the potential to make a big difference in the world. Because, in my experience, there is very little that is more powerful than a group of women standing united for a cause.
Michelle Plett is a global citizen and communications expert by profession. She enjoys watching movies at the cinema, partaking of Chinese dumplings and visiting Paris.