It had been months since I had seen these dear friends. The weekend was jam packed with girl-bonding activities; including hiking, a coffee shop crawl and late-night chats. I’d known these women for a significant portion of my life, and they provided so much joy, strength, and spiritual guidance. So, this time with friends was meant to fill and sustain me until the next time we were together.

The weekend was perfect, except one thing—I was still empty.

The epic girls weekend was over, and I wondered if this emptiness meant there was something wrong with me. Why did I feel lonely? Why didn’t I feel fully known? Were we not genuinely connecting? I felt like I had failed my friends, but the truth was these friendships would never meet the deep need for fellowship that only God could satisfy.

Friendship is good for our souls. Truly, friends can know us, care for us, laugh with us, and fight for us. I am the first to get up on my soapbox and shout with enthusiasm, “Prioritize friendships! They make life better! They matter!” Yet, for so long, I had allowed my friends to be the well I drew my identity and strength from.

So, no wonder I was disappointed when the weekend didn’t produce the fruit of fellowship that I wanted. Friends are imperfect. They are incapable of giving me everything I need. I was depending on them to give me value when they clearly were not designed for that purpose.

God is our true and absolute source of fellowship. Connecting with Him fills our deepest desires to be known, loved, and complete. Instead of relying on our friends to provide our worth, we turn to God who is fully enough.

Our fellowship with God and the knowledge of Jesus’ saving sacrifice gives us the foundation for healthy friendships. When we walk in the light, “as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7-8 ESV).  Wow! I just felt a huge wave of freedom in my friendships. They no longer are responsible for my source of friendship—just an extension of God’s already grace-filled communion with me.

God gifts us with friends, but we enjoy them most when we are already satisfied in Him.

These days I am learning to place a healthy amount of expectation on my friendships, while choosing God as the fulfillment of my community-driven needs.