Saturday, May 6, 2017

To Be A Friend

Friendship can be such a wonderful and yet such a challenging relationship. We can share such deep, intimate things and yet have such fun! Some of my best memories through the years have been with girlfriends.

Some of the hardest things through the years have also been with girlfriends. Have you ever been unfriended? Have you ever had someone walk away that you thought was a good friend? Sometimes it can be because of a bad argument or sometimes two people just grow apart. There are so many reasons this can happen, but regardless of why, it hurts, deeply.

I am in the beginning of a Bible study on friendship and it has caused me to reflect on friendships-- relationships of the past and present and my role in them. I am already learning a lot about friendship from a Biblical perspective and it has made me realize that I have a big part in deepening my present and future relationships. It begins with me!

Just like we drag past relationship baggage into our marriages, we also tend to do that with our friendships. Sure, our older than dirt relationships may be in great shape, the ones we have known forever have withstood the test of time and proven themselves. Think about it though, should others have to prove themselves for things that belong to other people? The answer is no. Trust issues are common because so many of us have been hurt. 

We live in a fallen world. The big mistake I have made is putting too much into people and not enough into my savior. We are all human, and we can't fill the holes in someone else nor can someone else fill our gaping holes. So maybe the answer is to go to our very best friend-our savior first, to get filled and then go to our friends. 

Becoming more, becoming whole though Jesus gives us so much more to give a relationship, and will make for a healthier one. When looking for answers about friendship in the Bible, one is hard pressed to find much about taking. What I have found is scripture about choosing well, being a team and giving.

In the book "Unfriended" by Lisa Jo Baker, Chapter One talks about friendship "PTSD." It was a revelation to me that so many others went through a lot with friendship like I did. I thought my problems were due to moving a lot and being different- like being a Northerner in the deep South or having chronic illness,  but apparently just being a woman qualifies! 

In Chapter Two, Lisa Jo talks about what it means to lay our lives down for our friends; being in it for the long haul. When one experiences a loss, a grieving that goes on for a long time, who is there to walk through it with you? I learned about this first hand a few times in my life, and while there were many there in the beginning, there were very few that stuck by me as time went on. That is the kind of friend we are called to be. Isn't that the kind of friend we want?

So the challenge is what kind of friend am I and are you going to be? It calls for us to be brave and to overcome the fear of being hurt and go the extra mile anyway-- like Jesus did. 

Jesus is the best friend we could ever ask for. He is always there, always reliable, always kind, gentle and comforting. He is a perfect example of the kind of friend I want to be.