When Buddying Up Leads to Betrayal

I’ve been thinking a lot about The Buddy System and what it looks like for grown women trying to walk it out. The fact is that we’re all a little broken and it’s just a matter of time before we cut one another. Often it’s the person closest to us that gets hurt the most or, on the flip side, who hurts us the most.

If you’ve ever experienced the betrayal of a buddy, you’ve probably thought one (or more) of these things:

  1. I must have picked the wrong buddy.
  2. I must have been a bad buddy.
  3. I won’t buddy up ever again.

We always seem shocked when someone lets us down, don’t we? Perhaps, we had our expectations a little too high. We expect people to understand us completely and to always behave like we want them to behave.

As I was reading through the gospel of Luke, I came across the passage where Jesus selects His apostles. At this point in time, He had thousands of disciples. {A disciple is simply a follower.} Out of the mass of followers, Jesus was ready to pick his inner circle. He was ready to buddy up, so to speak.

I must have picked the wrong buddy.

The first thing Jesus did, prior to choosing His apostles, was to pray. In fact, Scripture tells us that He prayed “all night” (Luke 6:12.) After spending the entire night speaking to and listening to His Father, Jesus selects the twelve men who will be His closest confidants. What I’m trying to convey to you is that Christ did not pick the wrong people. He buddied up with the exact men that God wanted. And yet…

When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: 14 Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew,15 Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. (Luke 6:13-16) emphasis mine

Do you see it? Jesus prayed fervently and chose the men God told Him to choose and there, in the midst, was one who would betray. There are times when we buddy up with someone who will break our heart. We will invest in them and they will walk away. That doesn’t mean you chose the wrong buddy.

I must have been a bad buddy.

Can we all agree that Jesus was a perfect buddy? There was nothing He did to warrant Judas’ betrayal. Think about it. One night at dinner, Jesus announced that one of the apostles was going to betray Him.

And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” Matthew 26:21

Did they all give each other a knowing look and give the side eye to Judas? No, they all were shocked and asking the Lord if it was them! Why? Because Jesus treated Judas just like every other disciple. He loved Judas like the others; He broke bread with Judas like the others. He washed Judas’ feet like the others!

Someone’s betrayal is not a reflection on you. Christ was the perfect buddy and, in the end, Judas still chose to be a traitor.

I won’t buddy up ever again.

It’s happened to all of us. We’ve been wounded by another woman and we’ve promised ourselves it won’t happen again. We aren’t playing this game anymore; we’re taking our ball and going home. No one will get that close to us again. It seemed to be all pain and no gain. Peace out, ladies, the buddy system isn’t for me.

The apostles certainly could have chosen that route. They had walked side by side with Judas. They experienced trials and triumph together. They were the chosen few and he had played them. One man short, they could have just tightened the circle a little and refused to allow another possible traitor to join their ranks.

The apostles must have been paying attention because they did what they had seen Jesus do. They prayed about who should take Judas’ place. They sought God’s will on their next buddy. They selected two men who had been with them from the beginning – someone who had been faithfully on the fringe for Jesus’ entire ministry. They presented the two names before the Lord and waited.

And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen.” Acts 1:24 emphasis mine

They were brave enough to buddy up again. To risk betrayal again. To not place the sin of one man on every man that came after him.  They didn’t ask God for “a good buddy” this time. They simply wanted the one God had chosen.

Ministry is messy and there will be many who turn away. But those of us who are committed – we carry on. We link arms with another woman and keep moving. There is much work to be done.

You are loved!

 

Buddy Up, Buttercup!

The Buddy System

Whether we are walking to church, grocery shopping or playing at the park, our family has a hard and fast rule: always buddy up. This was a way of life even when we only had two children. If they were outside playing and one needed to use the restroom, then they both came in and used the restroom. If one wanted a drink, then they both got a drink. If one child was done playing outside, they were both done playing outside. You get the picture.

These days, we have five daughters; my husband and I are grossly outnumbered (and we love it.) It does present issues when out in public. Zoos, amusement parks and the like would be super stressful if I had to have a hand on each of them at all times. After all, I wouldn’t have a free hand to hold my frozen lemonade! The reality is that I could not physically protect all five at one time in the case of an emergency which is the whole point behind the Buddy System.

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. (Ecclesiastes 4:9 NLT)

 

A child walking alone is a far greater target than two or three children together. A lone child is also much easier to overpower and carry away. A child without a buddy has no one to help him in a time of need or to hold her accountable in a time of temptation.

Women would benefit greatly from the Buddy System approach. The enemy is prowling around like a lion seeking someone to devour (2 Peter 5:8.) What better target than a woman attempting to make her way all alone! While social media has created true camaraderie among many people, it has also given the illusion of community to others. A woman can have thousands of “friends” and “followers”, yet have no one to buddy up with in real life.

 

Nobody Walks Alone

The main rule of the Buddy System is that nobody walks alone. This may seem obvious but, trust me, I’ve had more than one two-year-old who thought she could be her own buddy. Just the other day, my husband attempted to hold our youngest daughter’s hand to which she replied, “No, thanks. I’ll hold my own hand.” And she proceeded to do just that.

Chances are that we all know a woman who wants to just hold her own hand. Perhaps, at times, we are that woman. God never intended for us to walk alone (Genesis 1:18.) and a woman attempting to do life that way is much weaker than one with a buddy at her side. The fact is that it is foolish to think that we can go it alone or that we can hold our own hand.

Are you feeling weak? Look around and find a buddy!

Are you strong in your faith? Scripture says it is your obligatioto come alongside another woman and shoulder some of the burdens!

It’s time to get serious, ladies. The enemy is seeking weak women (2 Timothy 3:6). Let’s buddy up and make sure no woman is left behind.

You are loved.

Don’t Look Away

Sometimes, when my child falls down, I pretend I don’t notice. Please don’t judge me. I’ve come to realize that, if they think I didn’t see, they often carry on with whatever they were doing prior to the fall. If I make eye contact, however, weeping and wailing may commence.

Sure, I’m watching out of the corner of my eye. But no eye contact – that’s the rule. This parenting tactic has served me well over the years. Here’s the thing, though:

This doesn’t apply to grownups.

You know what I’m talking about. You hear that someone is going through some stuff and you’re afraid of being uncomfortable, so you avoid her. You’re worried you may say the wrong thing, so you avoid her. You have enough of your own stuff to deal with, so you avoid her.

When we see another woman take a tumble, we don’t pretend like we didn’t notice! We don’t avoid eye contact hoping we can all just carry on like normal. Let’s just go ahead and face it: if your eyes connect, there may be some weeping and that’s okay.

If we love Jesus like we say we do: we will not look away. Jesus never looked away. Not from the leper or the lame. Not from the pharisee or the prostitute. Not from you or me.

But you, O Lord, know me; you see me… (Jeremiah 12:3)

Hurting women don’t need us to watch them out of the corner of our eyes. They need us to stare into their eyes, hug their necks, and shoulder their burdens with them.

It’s easy at first. We post a prayer request for them. We take up a donation for them. It happened to be a Saturday so, perhaps, we drop by and sit with them. <—These are all good things, by the way!

But it doesn’t stop there. They still need to be seen on Tuesday when the baby is crying and you’re trying to make tacos. They still need to be loved on as the weeks pass and everyone else’s life as returned to normal.

Don’t look away when it’s no longer convenient. Don’t look away when it’s uncomfortable. Don’t look away because you don’t know what to say.

It’s okay to say, “I don’t know what to say, but I see you and I won’t look away.

Don’t look away.

You are loved. ❤

 

When You Get Lost in the Lonely

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I’m lonely.

The words echo around the room. How is it even possible that, amid the kids and chaos, there could be loneliness? But, it is there and it can be overwhelming. A girl can lose herself in the lonely.

There are feelings and there are facts. They are both real, but they are not the same. It’s important to remember. I feel lonely. I am not alone. If we try to view our world through our feelings, everything becomes distorted. Suddenly, everything seems wrong and even God seems far away.  I love what Eugene Peterson says about feelings in his book, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.

My feelings are important for many things.  They are essential and valuable.  They keep me aware of much that is true and real.  But they tell me next to nothing about God or my relation to God.  My security comes from who God is, not from how I feel. 

When we feel ourselves getting lost in the lonely, we must speak truth to ourselves. Our feeling of loneliness is not an indication that God is far away. Also – loneliness is not the same as ungratefulness or discontentment. Sometimes, we are afraid to confess our loneliness for fear people think we are not grateful for where we are or what we have been given.

There are some questions we can ask ourselves when we are feeling lonely.

Have I isolated myself? This question came to mind as I studied Genesis 1-2. Think of all that Adam had: a beautiful (perfect!) home, work which gave purpose and pleasure, fellowship with the Lord, and a drama-free, stress-free existence. Yet, God looked at this seemingly perfect existence and declared it “not good.”

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. – Genesis 2:18

IMG_0140Even if we have beautiful homes and good jobs, it is not good for us to be alone. It is not the way we were created to live. As difficult as it can be for {ahem} some of us, that means we have to seek out fellowship. For an introverted homebody like me, it is easier to stay home. Easy, however, sometimes breeds lonely. 

Where is my focus? Paul wrote some of the most beautiful pieces of Scripture while sitting in a prison cell awaiting his death. He had to have fought feelings of loneliness. How did he do it? His love of Christ was greater than the lonely. Do not hear me say that, if you love Christ, you will never be lonely. My point is we must make a conscious decision to focus on Him and not ourselves.

I don’t have all of the answers. Here are just a few things I have found to help – from one (sometimes) lonely girl to another. 🙂

  • Keep a proper perspective. Sometimes, we convince ourselves that we are always lonely. When we do that, everything suddenly seems wrong with our lives. A praise journal goes a long way in correcting this.
  • Get out of the house! Seriously, a trip to Target will do you wonders. Take the kids to the park and soak in the sunshine. A change of scenery will do you good.
  • Spend time in the Word. This is not my attempt to be churchy or spiritual. It’s truth. When we neglect God’s Word, we are asking for Satan to plant seeds of discontentment or loneliness.
  • Reach out. There are women in your neighborhood, in your church, at your workplace, etc. who are also lost in the lonely. If we all sit around waiting for someone to reach out to us, it will not work. Someone has to be the first to step out. Quit looking around trying to determine who could be your next best friend. Instead, look around you and see who needs a friend. Then, be one.