February 13, 2017

The Greatest Hindrance to Friendship (and Announcing Preorder Goodies!)

Do you long for deep and lasting friendships? Do you crave connection and vulnerable relationships with other women?

Instead of experiencing deep friendship, however, do you often feel alone, insecure around other women, and uncertain if you're getting this whole friendship thing right?

If you have both the longing and the difficulty, you're not alone. I have certainly experienced these things in my adult life, and in my conversations with women who are in all different ages and stages, I've discovered that most women crave relationships but also find friendship unexpectedly complex and confusing.
Through those conversations, I've also discovered something else: I think we have a wish-dream about friendship. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his book Life Together, describes this wish-dream as, "a very definite idea of what Christian life together should be," and a persistent attempt at realizing it.

Even now that I am all too aware of my tendency toward idealizing friendship and what I think it should be, my wish-dreams resurrect themselves: I want to keep friendships static; I don't want people to move or change or make decisions that hinder us from getting together. I am a mother hen, trying desperately to gather my friends in a little cozy cage and keep them there forever. Lovingly, of course.

I want the sugary-sweet, easy-come community where we flit into one another's homes without knocking, laugh deep into the night, know each other and are known without effort, and never exchange a cross or challenging word. I typically envision dinner parties and game nights, vacationing together and talking on the phone every day, which is strange because I don't even like talking on the phone.

It seems this is a common idea of what friendship should be. And this idealistic wish-dream is by far the greatest hindrance to the very thing we want. The dream fuels bitterness toward God and others, isolation, insecurity, and dissatisfaction with the people God has purposefully placed in our lives as potential friends.

Bonhoeffer seems to be saying to us that friendship is a good and right desire, but it is only able to be given and received as God intended it to be given and received--and He deals in reality rather than a dream world. We aren't asked to give up our desire for friendship, only the immature version of it--that all will be hippy-skippy perfect, that relationships will be forever fun and easy, that we can sit back and wait for others to come toward us, and that all of our needs will be met through other people.

We need to let our wish-dreams die and, in its place, take up a fresh, biblical vision for friendship, one that makes room for imperfection and bearing with one another and, yes, even conflict.

That's what my forthcoming book, Messy Beautiful Friendship, is about: a new vision for friendship, one based on God's Word and reality, not some idealistic wish-dream or picture-perfect Instagram picture.

In the book, I address the wish-dream, explore the common threats to friendship, and then I offer practical ways you can develop friendship, be a friend to other women, and receive friendship shown toward you. My goal in writing was both to challenge you to release the wish-dream and to give you helpful, biblical perspectives and tools for nurturing your friendships.

Are you ready to go on this journey with me? Preorder your book today so that it's in your hands on release day! And for those who preorder before April 11, I'm offering some super fun goodies meant to enhance the message of the book. Check out what you get:

So, to summarize, you get to start reading the book right away, and you get to hear Jen Wilkin answer questions about what she thinks are the biggest mistakes women make regarding friendship, what her biggest mistake has been, and if there are times when certain friendships must come to an end. In addition, watch a video where I ask my husband Kyle about helping our husbands develop friendships with other men, and a video with some of my real-life friends. Of course, there are other fun digital goodies as well.

Don't miss out! To claim your goodies, here's what you need to do:

  • Preorder the book from any online bookseller, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christianbook.com, or Target
  • Head to the Messy Beautiful Friendship book page and enter in your information (including your bookseller receipt number) on the preorder form. If you've preordered the book prior to today, no problem. You're in! Simply find your receipt and follow these steps.
  • After you enter your information, I'll send you an email with links to all of your goodies!

If you desire deep friendship, you're who I wrote this book for--Christian women who need a fresh perspective on friendship, who need to know they're not alone in the wrestling, and who want to know how to navigate relationships in a way that honors God.

Do you know others who crave friendship like you do? I'd love it if you shared this post with them and invited them to read Messy Beautiful Friendship along with you.

Together, let's discover how friendship is messy, but even in its messiness can be beautiful indeed!

P.S. I will soon be releasing information about a Messy, Beautiful Friendship launch team. Subscribe to my blog by email or follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to be the first to know the details.