Usually, this blog alternates authors: one post by Patsy, one post by Megan. This time, we'll be writing together, highlighting two perspectives on a single issue. This is the first in a new series about what it means to be a Sunday Woman who works (or doesn’t) outside the home. Today's focus: friendship.
Of the 4000+ people at my workplace, very few claim to be evangelical Christians. Only four of them attend my church. We never see each other at work.
My work friends get me out of the church "bubble" so that I am aware of cultural trends and able to understand a different mind-set. Some of what I observe is very sobering, but it does help me to bring the Gospel to bear.
At work, I am free of the expectations put on a ministry woman. For example, I am not required to know everything that is going on or to articulate the supervisor's position. I can befriend one person and not another.
Friendship with a non-Christian co-worker can never achieve the depth of fellowship that Christians have. Shared hobbies and having children of the same age can bind us, but they can't take the place of unity in Christ or His transforming power that helps us love one another.
When I am surrounded by gossip, negative attitudes and godless behavior every day, I am subtly drawn into the group's thinking. Lack of time to develop edifying Christian relationships outside of work may add to a downward spiritual spiral.
I am the only Christian my co-worker knows. And, she has lots of stereotypes and biases. It is a ministry and privilege to let Christ shine through me, but representing Christianity to 4,000 people is a big responsibility. When I fail, I am reminded of God's only sinless Representative to mankind. I am wholly dependent on Him.
Since I have become a stay-at-home mom, the Lord has blessed me with some of the godliest friends of my life. Mostly, they are other mommies, and we gather around the shared blessing of children—in the pool, at the playground, in rooms filled with Legos and train sets and Matchbox cars. We cut the crusts off peanut butter sandwiches while we talk theology and the price of organic veggies.
So what’s my struggle?
Almost none of these mommy-friends are in my church. It’s simple: my church is filled with working women. Kids Towne at 10AM on Tuesday is not doable for them. And I feel guilty asking them for Saturday or 6PM or spring break, when we should both be focusing on family.
Solutions? Not exactly. But a few friendship lessons in progress:
(1) Church people first. Early in the week, I try to fill my calendar with women in my own church. The empty slots go to outside friends. (This isn’t just a pastor’s wife thing, I believe all church members should prioritize this way.)
(2) Befriend widows. Their day-time schedules are as flexible as mine, and they have timeless wisdom to share.
(3) Don’t forget single moms. When I’m home alone, I try to think of others who are alone long-term. Session meeting night is a great time for a pajama party!
(4) Seek gospel opportunities. The world is full of kids and mommies who need Christ. And there’s nothing like splashing in the neighborhood pool to break the ice.
What's your experience?