Category Archives: Relationships

A Letter From a Reader: moving from fear and into freedom

writing letter

Today’s post comes to you from a new friend of mine. Erin has been reading here since my series on friendships between men and women. Earlier this week, I asked her if she’d be interested in sharing her reaction to the series, and I’m happy she’s willing to share her words in my space today.

Dear Natalie,

Thank you for your series about friendships between men and women. Your words helped me take another step on a very long journey of leaving behind the lies of my youth.

I grew up in a home school community where boys and girls were not supposed to be friends. I was encouraged by my stepfather to be “aloof” around boys, and he also told me that when I talked to boys too much, they saw it as flirting. I look back at journal entries where I was extremely confused and conflicted. How could I be aloof and kind? How could I be a Good Girl and a Good Friend? I was afraid to Interact with the young men around me, but eventually I chose Good Friend over the aloof Good Girl. Reading your post helped me to realize that I wasn’t crazy then for questioning this standard, and that I’m not crazy now for wanting better for my children.

 

I married a man from this same background, but we both are looking for something better than our past. I know that there must be a better way to deal with relationships than the constant fear and uncertainty that I was presented with. You helped me to see that that there is a better way to experience relationships of all kinds, and that I can enjoy that freedom.

 

Since I got married, I have been questioning many of the rules I was raised with, including the idea that men and women cannot be “just friends.” I know a woman who has a close male friend with whom she spends a good deal of time. When my mom found out about this friendship, she immediately assumed that this woman’s marriage was in trouble. She cannot understand why a woman would be friends with a man other than her husband. Your blog helped me to realize that there is freedom and security in knowing that my husband does not have to fill my every need for friendship.

 

Finally, because of your posts, (and a few others I stumbled upon around the same time) I was able to acknowledge that the reasoning behind many of the decisions my parents made for me was rooted in fear. I know that fear is a terrible basis for making decisions, and I pray that God will help my decisions be based in truth and love.

 

There is so much more that I could say, but mostly I want to say thank you for helping me take another step on my journey toward wholeness. Your words are an encouragement to me.

Love,

Erin

{Thanks for reading Erin’s words today. You can find her on Twitter @erinoneal91. Can you relate to what she’s said here? Walking away from a life lived out of fear is a little bit easier when we make these choices in community. Please share a bit of your own story, if you’d like.}