Jennie Allen #inRL2014

Sarah Henry sat on my bed and watched me pack for a trip. She was impatient that I was leaving. I was one of her only friends because she had recently moved to Austin. She wondered out loud if she would ever have friends like she had in college. I looked at her and said,

Quit waiting for people to pursue you. They won’t. Pursue them.”

Five years later outside of the ICU, while Sarah was facing death because of massive strokes, waiting rooms could not contain us all. Somewhere in the midst of three kids and a busy, full life over those years, she pursued. She asked great questions and risked vulnerable pieces of herself and spoke about her God to us. She loved well, and many, many people called Sarah friend.

Are you lonely?

It seems if the answer is yes – you are far from alone. Every one of us has people in our lives whom we need, and people who need us. Are we intentionally spending our time in those two categories? Or are we casually bumping up against each other with no real purpose to receive or give love?

If we are honest, it is costly to love people. So you know what we do instead of doing the difficult work of loving them? We piddle. We waste the precious time we have. In case you’re unfamiliar with the term:

Piddle (v.)

1. To waste time or spend one’s time idly or inefficiently

Jennie Allen #inRL -

It easier to survive this life on the surface, brushing up against people gently, rather than doing the mess of intentionally loving them. Love takes risk. Love takes forgiveness and grace. Love takes effort, time, and commitment. You commit not to bolt when it gets hard, because it will get hard.

And if this is the cost of deep relationship, we just don’t have capacity and space to go deep with everyone. So we have to become intentional.

We don’t just need people; we need the right people. Sometimes finding the right people takes discipline and effort. And then when we find them, we have to fight for them. We have to prioritize time and issue grace over and over, because even the best human on this earth will disappoint us. And when that happens, you love and fight for that person even harder.

Seek risks and uncomfortable things. You do not risk like a fool; you are wisely investing in the only two things that will not die: God and people’s souls.

But if we keep piddling, we will miss it all.

In the months that followed as many watched Sarah fight for her life and begin the long journey to walk and speak again – the most common thing I heard from onlookers was this…

“If something like this happened to me, I pray I would have as many friends around me as Sarah does.”

But Sarah isn’t “lucky” to have deep friends like this. Sarah intentionally loved and pursued each one of us. She can’t shake us, even now, a year later without her words yet.

(in)RL is an incredible opportunity to pursue – to take a risk, to not piddle. Will you join us this year as we gather together, intentionally?

Jennie Allen #inRL -

Head here to register free for (in)RL and then find – or start – a Meetup in your town. We need you – your story, your bravery, your willingness to pursue! And if you’re wondering what this (in)RL thing is all about and would love to meet some other ladies who are attending, join us tonight for a Twitter party at 9pm EST (there will be giveaways and a special announcement, just for you!).

#inRL Twitter Party - March 26th -

How to join in:

  1. If you don’t already have one, sign up for a free Twitter account
  2. Follow (in)courage on Twitter
  3. Invite friends: I’m hanging out with my friends at @incourage tonight at 9pm EST to chat about #inRL & you’re invited too! –> Click to Tweet
  4. Sites like TweetChat make it easy to follow along – just enter the hashtag #inRL
  5. And for a super helpful guide, read How To Successfully Navigate a Twitter Party

Can’t wait to see you there. Come just as you are.

9pm EST/8pm CST/ 6pm PST

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  • Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God

    I believe wholeheartedly in immersing ourselves in relationships vs. piddling. When I have dared to be vulnerable, I have gotten burned a few times, but in most instances I find that others are dealing with many of the same issues and struggles in life. I’d rather be remembered when I am gone as one who gave too much than as one who gave too little. Having said that, I could really use some prayers today as I have to tell my 21 year old son, for many reasons, that he has to move out. I did this once before and I let him come back home. This time I need to do it with no going back. I know I risk possibly losing the relationship, but I have prayed about it and I believe that sometimes tough love is what is needed. Thanks for your post this morning!

    • Beth WIlliams


      Prayers for you today. Sometimes, a lot of times, tough love is what’s needed for children today. I know it won’t be easy and he may resent you for a time, but
      eventually I believe he will come to understand and love you.

      Father God,

      Give Bev the words she needs to tell her son today. Shower her with courage and tenacity to say what you’d have her say and stick with it, Help her to know that this is the right thing to do & shower her with your love.


  • M

    I think something to keep in mind with this post is personality as well. I have a friend who this comes very naturally to…. She is so wonderful at pursuing and thinking of ways to pursue. She is constantly inviting people in her home and making them feel welcome. She is also very extroverted. I, on the other hand, am quite introverted and this does not come naturally whatsoever. I have to work at it daily and if I try to pursue too many people at once, I get extremely overwhelmed. But because of my introverted personality, I can really focus on the ones that I do pursue very intentionally. Different personalities are capable of different things.

    • smitty5

      I love the post and this comment about personalities too. I am several months new to the Dallas area and struggling to make friends here. Opportunities to pursue seem challenging with 3 kids and a husband who travels a lot.
      I want to, I think about inviting people to lunch all the time and I chicken out, telling myself “everyone’s too busy,” or “they have their own life already “.
      If I’m being honest, I resent sometimes having to “fight” to have a relationship with someone. Seems it should be much easier than that even in this broken world. Or, I even immaturely wonder why I just can’t be pursued for a change. Juvenille but true.
      I too, can be introverted and it does make it harder. But, your right, it just means we have to work harder at it and be more prayerful about it than some others do to whom it comes more natural.
      I don’t want to keep hiding behind these silly excuses, so today will be a prayer for courage, as I’ve been encouraged by this post.

      • Gina

        I can relate to what you said, as we are relatively new to the Orlando area, and I’m an introvert too. I also get tired of always having to initiate. It’s hard when you’re already dealing with the business of transitioning! But the thing I keep reminding myself is that what I see isn’t the whole picture – it may look like others are too busy, or have other friends already, but in my experience, most women are much more lonely than we know. Often people deal with the loneliness by being busier, and they just need someone to shake them out of that pattern by asking. Keep trying!

  • Hope

    Unfortunately we are traveling and I can’t join in. But this post is really encouraging. I would have liked to jump in, take a risk and pursue and host.

    My husband and I are thinking to move and to me that is the scariest thing. We want to live closer to our community, to our church but I have never really had community. Even though it scares me I know it is the right thing to do, it is healthy. And after my big move across the ocean I have to start a new. Making new friends when you are not in college is just not the same. It is harder and takes intention. My biggest ‘thing’ is that I want to be pursued. I always pursue everything in life that for once I want to be pursued. But after reading this I realize I do need to pursue. And I have with some great results here and there.

  • Jennifer

    I’m really looking forward to #inRL this year. It is so inspiring to see other women reach out. Too many stay silent because they feel their story isn’t big enough or worth enough to share. I think this is a great way to welcome those who feel small. I LOVE it!

  • Kris

    Love this, Jennie! Relationships can be hard and scary, but we miss too much by holding back–piddling around and waiting for things to come our way. Excited to participate in inRL this year!!

  • Lisa-Jo

    The challenge not to “piddle” our lives away? I could NOT love this more. For reals. Thank you for modeling generous community to so many of us. What a gift you are!

  • Karen

    YES…a hundred times YES! And to quote my grandmother… “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again!”

  • Jamie Rohrbaugh

    Yes, Jennie, yes!!! You’re making me cry. Awesome! People are lonely and desperate for friendship and WE can be the one friend that will change their life if only we will pursue them!

  • Holly Barrett

    Love this post, Jennie! And it’s so timely for me. I’m in a new place for the last five months and finding a new community is hard. But you are so right about my own responsibility to actively pursue and to risk being open and vulnerable. Relationships haven’t just happened in the past, so I don’t know why I should expect them to now! Thanks so much.

  • Caroline @ Anchored In His Grace

    This is wonderful! I have the same thoughts for myself when I feel lonely thinking everyone is too busy for me. The fact is, I need to pursue people in my own life instead of waiting on them. After all, isn’t that what Christ did/does for us?

    I often hear the bemoaning from many others as well, and the same thoughts rise up as I question, “what are you willing to do about it?” Thanks for sharing this!

  • Sara

    Your advice to pursue people is gold.
    LIke my mother said, “If you want a friend, it’s always your turn.”
    Your turn to pick up the phone.
    Your turn to listen.
    Your turn to extend the invitation.

    Thanks for lovely advice,
    My most recent blog post:
    One thing you need to do today

  • Jennifer Camp

    Oh, wow, yes, to all of this. No excuses, right? Stepping out bravely is the only way to step. I just have to remind myself I am not alone in my pursuing these friendships. Jesus is guiding me. He knows what/who I need and I need to trust Him. Piddling is not what He wants me to do! Thank you, Jennie.

  • karyn

    I love to just do nothing. Nothing at all. All my life I’ve been like this. Just talk to the LORD.

  • Simone

    Sometimes finding the right people takes discipline and effort. And then when we find them, we have to fight for them.” This screams, “yes” for me. When I moved to Oregon, I experienced extreme loneliness. I longed for friends. It was a deep longing because friendship inspires me to reach even higher and to be courageous. I prayed this prayer, “God, you care much about the little things and maybe me having a friend or two is a little thing but for me, it’s huge!!!” While having our very first livingroom group in our home, a friend of my heart walked in. From the moment I met her, I knew we’d be friends for a long, long time. Our conversations were littered with, “me too!” We also teared up at the same time, laughed and found an instant bond. But, soon after, other women found out just how wonderful my friend is (and she really is) and before long, I was the one being left out. I have become reticent in my friendship with her now, not knowing whether to fight for the friendship or let go.I realize that friendship is a gift and God knows our deepest desires to be a part of friendships/community. Would you pray with me to seek God in the people that he brings into my life as friends? Thank you for sharing, Jennie!!

  • Beth WIlliams


    I love this post! Making friends is hard work–very intentional. That is what God designed for us-community. He wants us to live full lives investing in other people.

    One way to make friends is to do things for others. For instance if someone new moves into your community then make a batch of cookies or brownies & take them over. Offer to help them move in or do small things for them.. If someone I know is in the hospital then I pray for them and the family. I also make a meal for the family and call to check on them. That is my way not “Piddling” and investing in people.

    Blessings :)

  • Dawn Camp

    Jennie, your words—”and then when we find them, we have to fight for them”—ring so true for me right now. I’m in an awkward place with some close friendships right now and this is what I needed to hear. Thank you!

  • Maylee

    I understand completely. I do need to put more effort in pursuing others. Sometimes we do get busy in our lives that we as women forget that we need other women to lift us up and to give us encouragement. I continue to pray that I will become a woman who will find the time for others and to get out of my comfort zone and open my life, ready to serve our awesome God.