Welcome to week nine of the series, Women of Intention! We are just over halfway through and Maple Alps will continue to feature a woman every week who will talk about intentionality in specific areas in her life. So glad you've decided to stop by! For more information, and a list of topics, visit our introduction post HERE.
THIS WEEK'S INTENTIONAL WOMAN:
Today, we are going to meet Andrea of Empty Plate, Full Heart, a blog full of inspiring stories and the like!
Friendship may not always be something we think about intentionally, and that is exactly where Andrea comes in today! She has some great thoughts and experiences in having intentional friendships and has a lot to share!
After reading this post, be sure to check out her blog and share this post :)
Tell us a bit about yourself: What are your passions, work and interests?
My name is Andrea Stunz. I am the wife of one, mom of three, mother in law of two and grandmother of one (hoping for more!). I am originally from South Texas but have lived and traveled to the tune of a very fat passport. I love good food and good coffee and I find so much hope in every sunrise.
I feel like in all of the callings God has placed on my life, He has serendipitously worked many of them out through my role as a mom. Motherhood comes naturally. Marriage is a bit more challenging. That being said, my husband and I, through a lot of hard work and God’s amazing grace, have been married for over 27 years now.
As I approach the bi-centennial age bracket, I’m learning that a shared page in my story can encourage someone else to turn the page in theirs. This plays into my calling as a writer. As I am entering my empty nest years, I have asked myself the question more than once what I want to be when I grow up. God has clearly confirmed to me that I have words to be shared and that quite possibly, someone out there may need to read them.
I love capturing moments in time through the camera lens. My adventurous spirit comes from a deep desire to see, taste, hear, smell and touch everything that God has created. I simply can’t get enough of His creation story.
Would you say that being intentional in friendships is important? What are the benefits?
This is an interesting question for me. I’ve moved often throughout my life so cultivating friendships (finding them, keeping them and losing them) has always been a major part of who I am. Add to the mix that I am an introvert by any and all definitions so this is where relationships get tricky. Being intentional in making friends has always been important but keeping them is what becomes the challenge.
The benefits of being intentional in our friendships are immeasurable. The bottom line is that if you don’t want to be lonely, you simply must be intentional about making and keep friends. It might take a quick “I’m thinking about you!” text or an email or a long lunch together but putting the first foot forward is crucial. Always remember that we must be the kind of friend we want to have.
Were you always intentional in your friendships? If so, why? If not, what made that change?
I have not always been intentional in my friendships or most of my relationships, if I’m honest with you. As I mentioned before, I am an introvert. I like being alone. I am recharged by being alone. I guess the first time I remember being very purposeful about making friends was when we moved overseas. I knew that my bent would be to stay at home and live with my family in my known and safe environment. I also knew that this wouldn’t work for me. I wanted to have a life more than I wanted to be alone. I joined an American women’s organization with the sole purpose of exploring and learning new things. It would also prove to force me to be around other people. I didn’t necessarily make any great new friends through that but it was a good way for me to be intentional. It got me out of my cocoon.
Another time of change for me in being intentional in friendship was during a season of personal brokenness. I lost a few friends during that season because quite honestly, I wasn’t able to be a very good friend. I was in survival mode and there was very little margin for fluff relationships. It turned out to be a good weeding in my life and the friendships that stuck, those who were intentional in keeping me, taught me so much about how to be a better friend. The friends who stuck with me during that time and helped and encouraged and stayed, they mean the world to me. I long to mean the world to someone else in that same way, to be that kind of friend.
What would you say to encourage someone who is struggling with intentionality in this area of their life?
If you’re struggling to find friends or keep friends, take a look at the kind of friend you are. Be the kind of friend you want to have. Grasping this in my life was such a turning point. Take a look at the kind of people you are hanging around with. Someone once told me that we become like the 5 people we hang around with the most. Who do you want to become? Narrow your focus to finding those 5 people or those 5 types of people. If we are constantly looking for others to come to us, to fill us rather than the focus being on us filling others then we will likely live unfulfilled and disappointed. We should make the effort to become someone we would like if we expect others to like us too. Simply profound.
Be the friend you want to have. History has proven to me that in doing so, friends will find you!
What about you? What helps you be intentional in your friendships? Why don't you tell us about it in the comments, and connect with us on social media?
(Don't forget to use the hashtag #WomenOfIntention16 so no one misses it!)