Kirsten Watson is a mom of seven, host of a popular podcast, and wife of author and retired NFL player Benjamin Watson. She deeply understands our need to feel like what we do every day really matters…to be seen as women who live and love well. But can we all admit that sometimes we’re struggling? Kirsten reminds us that we’re not alone, and beautifully welcomes us to take this journey of life together. It’s a joy to welcome her to the farm’s table today…

Guest Post by Kirsten Watson

It can be tempting to think of scrolling through our social media feeds as a sort of friendship. We wish people a happy birthday on Facebook or like their most recent post, and it feels like a connection. Let’s do a gut-check on that, though. Is that really putting yourself out there as a friend?

Social media can be a good diversion, and it has some upsides. But is it fair to call the people who observe your life from a distance “friends”? People who see your social media know about one percent of what’s going on in your life. Even if I spend hours scrolling through my friends’ updates on social media, I see only a sliver of what’s going on in their lives—and all of it is curated so I just see the pretty parts, the notable moments. That’s not the whole story.

“Real friends do real life together”

In our culture, we’ve swallowed the lie that the more widely recognized someone is, the more valuable they are. Apps on our phones calculate value based on the number of followers and likes. But it’s all smoke and mirrors, y’all.

Real friends do real life together—no filter, no makeup. They take walks together, call and text each other, celebrate kids’ birthdays and milestones together, show care for each other. Do we all need to get off social media? Not necessarily. I’m just saying let’s be real. And let’s take off the rose-colored glasses and see each other for who we really are.

I’m quick to spot and admire women of excellence, yet I’m careful not to put anyone on a pedestal. God’s Word says that all of us are in need of salvation and fall short of God’s glory (see Romans 3:23). It’s not like anyone has it all figured out. When someone impresses me, I try to ask myself, “What is it I admire here? What can I learn from her?” Figuring out the answers matters for a couple of reasons:

1.   It’s intentional. This way we’re not just elevating someone to superhuman levels; we’re thinking through their actions so we can learn from them. So, for instance, if I say, “Wow, Nadia is so present when we’re together. She didn’t look at her phone one time during our lunch. That makes me feel honored and cared for,” I can take that thoughtfulness and bring it into my own life.

2.   Isolating the traits we appreciate in others helps us avoid the tendency to idealize the rest of their life. People are human. We’re all works in progress. In all of our lives—even in someone who seems to have it all together—there are aspects we struggle with and others we have down pat.

“We can’t have a true friendship with someone when they’re on a pedestal.”

We can’t have a true friendship with someone when they’re on a pedestal. But when we’re real with them—and when we invite them to be real with us—it can create the foundation for a mutually fulfilling friendship.

And why do we need these fulfilling friendships? It’s no good to do life alone. We were created for community, sister. Go back to the beginning, in the Garden. God breathed life into Adam, which meant Adam was walking around with God’s own breath in his lungs. That’s when God declared, “It’s not good for humans to be alone.” Even in a perfect world, we need each other.

“We were created for community, sister.”

Rarely in real life are the packs of friends like those fictional “friend groups” we see on TV and in movies. You know, there’s always a funny one, a smart one… It’s impossible for any one friend or friend group to meet every need. Only God can do that. When I find myself wishing a friend were everything I want her to be, I try to check myself and bring that desire to God.

Think about the women you’ve chosen to do life with. Each one is God’s “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Ephesians 2:10, esv). Each of us has something unique to give—and we may not even know what we’re bringing. One gift of friendship is learning the unique blessings and talents you have to offer.

But let’s be honest- it’s not always easy to make friends. It takes courage to be vulnerable, to put yourself out there. Friendship is not a passive thing, and I can’t promise you won’t be hurt. I know I have been. I know what it’s like to have friendships cut off because of misunderstandings, hurt feelings, or an inability to communicate. These broken relationships leave wounds of sadness and a desire to self-protect in the future.

But the risk of being known is worth the potential pain. I’ve tried to just say, “Thy will be done, God.” And I’ve learned to bounce back and be open. Isolation isn’t good for the soul.

“the risk of being known is worth the potential pain”

Don’t wait for the “right” anything—the right city, the right house, the right moment. God put you in the exact place you are for a reason. He has already picked out your next assignment, so put yourself out there. Follow God’s leading. You won’t regret it.

Remember, everything has a season. Some friendships may be vibrant for a time and then go on the back burner. And that’s okay. Does it mean anything’s wrong with you (or the other person)? No. It’s just time to see what God has next for you.

Whatever you do, breathe in the truth that God has already ordained the right friends to come alongside you in this season—and the next one.

Adapted from Sis, Take a Breath: Encouragement for the Woman Who’s Trying to Live and Love Well (but Secretly Just Wants to Take a Nap) by Kirsten Watson with Ami McConnell

Kirsten Watson is a mom of seven and wife of author & retired NFL player Benjamin Watson. After graduating from the University of Georgia with a Marketing and Spanish degree. Kirsten’s the CEO of a family of 9 and the Executive Editor of Mom Life Today. With Benjamin, she founded the One More Foundation and together they co-host “Why or Why Not With the Watsons“.

Kirsten’s new book, Sis, Take a Breath, provides encouragement for the women who are trying to live and love well in today’s frantic world (when we secretly just want to take a nap!). Kirsten guides us to lean in and understand that the Word of God gives us the breath we need to handle every situation because when we inhale God’ Word, we exhale peace. With practical life hacks, truth from Scripture, and relatable personal stories, you’ll discover a new way to exhale deeply and find hope to make it through. You got this!

[ Our humble thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for their partnership in today’s devotion. ]