August 6, 2012

9-5 Friends: Two Perspectives

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.

Patsy says:
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.

Bottom Line
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.

Megan says:
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?


  1. I happen to be between the two of you--I work at home (a paying job via internet) and I stay at home, so I'm with my children on a continual basis. In many ways, this is the best of both worlds, but the "struggle" area would be that I have little time to pursue relationships with others in church (or out) on a weekly basis. I try to make time to have a cup of coffee with different ladies as I can, or I often take a lady with me when I head into town for errands (we live about 45 minutes away from the nearest large town). I also participate in any church-related function that includes women...sometimes heading up an event. I'm not able to meet all needs or be everyone's close friend, but I do what I can in the current season of my life.

  2. Most of us struggle with balance. It sounds like you have some good ideas of how to work, care for your children and maintain relationships.

  3. I have worked outside the home and now work at home as a SAHM. When I worked outside I got a lot of shallow socialization with the women of my workplace. Now, I rarely get individual time with other women outside of the Lord's Day. I try to get my social time in after worship with women from church. They don't have time to be very social either, so they are doing the same. We always plan to invite folks to have lunch with us every Lord's Day and that helps. We also have made Friday nights an outreach night and I have found some time to socialize then with new people. We have a friend who invites his friends over to our house to eat with us and have family worship together. It was scary at first, but turned out to be a great deal of fun. We have met some great people this way. We also occasionally do things with a sister church a couple hours away as a family. It is so refreshing to find like-minded folks and is like a mini vacation just to go to a little gathering with them. I love having friends outside my own church. The friends outside help me keep some perspective when church politics get overwhelming. I have learned over the years since I came home to work how to fit socialization in where I can, cherish it there, and be content with nothing more. My season of life has no room for more.


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