Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Thank You For Being A Friend (Your Friendship Matters)

Been led to share this coming on the heels of our Women’s Tea, where our topic was “Friendships Matter.” 

God has spoken and He still is speaking a lot about friends, revealing hearts, what is in mine, and what is in others.  Or more so what I perceive to be in others.  Certainly everyone is not meant to be your friend and just because we might consider them as such, does not mean that they are.  But as discussed at the Tea, if we allow Him to and if we are open to hear, God will reveal who your friends are and where in your life they belong, which will not only give you peace but them as well.  God will also remove people from your life the way He deems.  We would save ourselves a lot of grief if we would allow God to do so and stop trying to do it ourselves.

Anyway, friends...  Some are just like us.  Some are completely opposite.  Some are in your life for a reason.  Some are in your life for a season.  Some friends stretch us and help to mold us. Some friends we are supposed to stretch.    Some friends show us what not to do, which actually help us to become better people.  Some friends we pray with, some friends we hang out with, while there are some we just sit and chill with.  But one thing is certain every friend should allow you to be you.  And when you feel as though you don’t have that space to be who you are, it may be time to reevaluate.  Not necessarily getting rid of the friend, but just knowing where they belong at any particular period in your life.

At the Women’s Tea, a new friend of mine and each one of the Favoured Women of God, (the name of our Women’s Ministry) spoke from a different sub-topic.    Needing A Friend, How to Pick Your Friends, Dealing with Expectations, Recognizing False Friends, Categorizing Friends, Being A Friend and Knowing How/When/IF to Walk Away.  And each one of the topics crossed over to another topic in some way.  But God has been dealing with me specifically on Needing A Friend and Dealing with Expectations.

As I shared there, I have never been more aware in my life of needing a friend than I am now.  Following the death of my son, Joseph I have found myself more in need of friendship than ever before.  For months leading to this and up until this day, I have dealt with a host of emotions, seemingly from friends, including, betrayal, separation, loneliness, and unforgiveness.  And my first reaction to all of this was simply to pull away.  To be by myself.  And I struggle often with that, but God yet keeps bringing me back to what it means to be a friend.   And I can’t be a friend or have one even if I insist on being by myself.  So with that in mind, I want to share some thoughts about friends that God has shared with me.

Sometimes friendship is a bit uneven.  One friend will often carry the weight of another, or seemingly do more than the other.  It does not mean one is not a friend.  If we find ourselves questioning why they don’t do such and such, then we are the ones who are not being friends.  Friendship comes from the heart.  You don’t do something for a friend and then expect that friend to do those things with you or for you.  That’s what you do.  That’s who you are.  It’s not what they are.  You do you.   Don’t expect your friend to do you, too.  They can (and will) only do themselves.

A friend is someone who assesses the needs of another and wants to meet that need without requiring the same.  Don’t pick up the heavy load and then ask your friend why are you not helping me.  Pick it up and be willing to carry it (without proclaiming you are carrying it) for as long as you need to UNTIL your friend has the strength to carry it with you, even if it is her load.

A friend is someone who is there when you pick up the phone.  One they can lean on for support.  They are ready to step in (when and if they can) and help you even if it means their own plans will suffer.    

A friend is someone you want to spend time with even if the time you spend together you are not necessarily doing anything.  One of the best measurements of friendship is that you are comfortable with the uncomfortable.  You don’t have to force yourself to talk when there is silence.   I love that about my husband and even with my children, that we don’t have to talk, sometimes it is just the being there.  TOGETHER.   I often have conversations on the phone with my daughter, and I don’t hear anything except her breathing.  We don’t feel like we HAVE to say anything.
God said, “Friends are consistent, persistent, but never insistent.” 

Friends are consistent... they are unchanging over a period of time. 

Friends are persistent… they continue firmly, without wavering, in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.  Friends endure. 

Friends are never insistent.  They do not insist or demand something (especially which one cannot give).  They do not simply refuse on the basis of just because.

A friend does not insist on having her own way.  And in learning this, I am learning that I cannot demand things from my friends.   Especially if they are just not capable of giving it.  A hard lesson, but one I have come to accept.

Isn’t that what love is?  1 Corinthians 13:4-8, NLT it says, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. (Remember that the next time you keep count of how many times you do something for a friend?)  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”   

God also said, “Friends do not feel obligated, they feel obliged.”

Obligation comes from you.  It’s a demand you put on someone else.  To be obliged comes from them.  It’s a demand they put on themselves. 

Your friends should not feel like they are obligated to do something and you should not have to compel them to do anything.  Friends do it simply because they want to.  They oblige.  They give in (and of) themselves freely without question. 

And a friend loves at all times.  At ALL times.  Even when friends are not lovable.  And here is where God flipped the script on me, because He showed me, ME.  Even when I did not feel like loving or allowing myself to be loved, if I am to be a friend or call myself one, I am supposed to love.  AT ALL TIMES.  Which sometimes might mean picking up the phone when I’d rather not.

That’s what a friend is.  That’s what friendships are made of.  And that’s why friendships matter.  Because God does and He is love.  And His love never fails.

So in whatever category you may fall, I thank you for being a friend.  My friend.  Your friendship matters.

A servant (and friend) of the Lord,

Sis. E

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