Friendships

9 Feb

Hey ladies!  I’m going to tackle the big topic of FRIENDSHIPS today from a couple of angles.  I’m really excited about this post and hope it’ll be educating, encouraging, and ring true across the board for all of us.

Every girl needs friends.  And it starts at a YOUNG age, the battle for attention and friendship.  Girls don’t start being “catty” with each other over boys (they eventually get to that) but they actually start that nasty habit over jealousy between friendships with other girls.  When a girl thinks she’s got a best friend, and someone else swoops in there to invite that friend to a sleep over, tell a secret to, or WORST of all, she betrays your trust and tells another girl YOUR secret… the feelings are crushed, the claws come out, and the fur starts flying!

Some of you reading this have a best friend right now.  For some of you, you’re lucky enough to have a GREAT best friend.  For others of you, as we talk some more, you might end up feeling a little different about that friendship by the end of this post.

Some of you use to have a best friend, but because of situations, circumstances, or whatever – the friendship has dissolved (or at least is no longer what it once was) and you’re feeling lonely.

Some of you have never had a best friend really ever, and the hurt and disappointment from that is very real, and it doesn’t go away with age.

There are friendships in our lives that are seasonal.  And that is OK!!  Please, this is very important, do not read this post with the mindset that if all your friendships don’t align and fall into a checklist of sorts that we’ll put together, that you should feel depressed or end all your friendships.  That is NOT where we’re headed.

I didn’t really understand this very well growing up because I was always the little girl who had a best friend, and then would end up feeling “ditched” when the more popular girls were around or life circumstances changed.  So, in an effort to find a best friend, I became very transparent, loved with my whole heart, put GREAT effort into being a really good friend, and then suffered a lot of heart ache when those friendships turned out to be disappointing and not reciprocated in the same way with the same effort.

I know it seems like everyone out there has a BFF – but believe me, MORE women are out there who are lonely, or who have MANY friendships but none of those women REALLY know the woman at all.  They are surface or skin deep for protection.

I have finally reached a place in my life where I have a network of best friends.  It took me a LONG, lonely, painful time to get here.  But some of the struggle was simply letting go of my expectations and realizing that friendships can look really different and still be fulfilling!

For example, here’s my network.

I have acquaintances.  Some I see in person but some are strictly social-media connections that are fun to keep up on major things in each others life, like Facebook statuses, and maybe even chat about old memories.

I have a lot of friends that I hardly ever see or ever (some never) talk to on the phone.  We have different schedules, different priorities, some a large distance to travel between us, and we just can’t connect often.  But we have a great history together, and when an immediate need or prayer request is urgent, they are just a phone call, text message, email , or FB message away and we know we love each other.

I have other friends (which this is depth of where the MAJORITY of  friendships lie for everyone) that I see or talk to often enough, and we can catch up pretty easily, but we don’t have all the same convictions, beliefs, time, schedules, or some other thing that keeps us from being extremely intimate of friends who know every secret.

Then I have two girls that I don’t keep in daily contact with always, but for the most part, we’re always updating each other.  Our text messages, FB messages, and occasional phone calls  or play dates help us stay on top of all the big things and we’re always praying for each other.

And then there’s my best friend.  We talk almost daily.  (Do you have to talk daily to have a best friend – NO!!) But for us, we are so similar that we do very well to yap our jaws 100 miles an hour to each other to sort out our feelings, seek godly counsel/be held accountable, and prevent ourselves from huge disappointments of leaving ourselves with a deep need that our husbands (as men) can’t fill.

She posted this on my FB wall this week – and I love it!

Best FriendI was sick with the stomach flu the day she posted it, so I saw it later that day and wrote “love ya girl” but last night when I was scrolling down my page and saw it again, not only did I smile and feel such a love for this girl… but I noticed something else – so I wrote this back to her “You’re totally the one in the bikini because I would SO never wear anything like that.”  HA! (Let me clarify so you can laugh with us, she wouldn’t wear a bikini either… but truth be told, we both WISH we didn’t have all the hanging stomach skin and stretch marks from the kids that if we ever WANTED to even strictly wear one in the bedroom for our men only, we could.  But we don’t like to talk about that, so we’ll just leave it at, Bikini’s are evil and only prostitutes wear them! : )

The reasons my friendships with my three/four closest friends works so well are because of this check list:

1.) We are BOTH very real and transparent.

At no time will either of us ever put on a mask, pretend to be perfect, withhold relating for fear of how it might make us or our marriage look, or hide our real feelings.

2.) We are BOTH very honest.

Neither of us ever holds back or has fear of the other person.  A great number of friends have a level of fear in them that is unhealthy for keeping that person as a best friend.  It’s the fear that if you tell someone the truth about yourself, it’ll ruin the friendship.  Or that if you tell them the truth about something they’ve done to hurt you or someone else, that the friendship will suffer and you’ll lose them or be punished in some way.

3.) We hold each other accountable.

When we hear or see something that worries us that our friend might be flirting with sin, missing a big red flag, or just so caught up in their emotions that they can’t see things rationally or from someone else’s side, we tell them – and we do it right away.  None of these friendships would ever let me get away with out right sinning without calling me on it immediately. And I’d do the same for them.

4.) We allow for safe venting.

Sometimes we know that our feelings might be teetering a selfish line pretty closely, but we just need someone to listen and validate or justify our feelings.  That DOES NOT mean they justify my prideful actions and encourage selfish behavior, but they do give me a safe place to sort out my feelings and acknowledge that sometimes life is hard and things hurt, even though I need to choose a higher road.

5.) We are TOTALLY FOR each others marriages.

You are never going to hear the words come from any of our mouths – “He doesn’t deserve you.  You should leave his sorry butt.  Get out while you’re still young enough to get someone else.  His sins are unforgivable.  You can’t put up with that.”  That just doesn’t happen.  You might hear something like “Oh man, that probably really hurt your feelings.  I’m sorry.  Now let’s look at what he might have been feelings, or where you might have went wrong in the conversation to contribute to steering it that way.”  We ALWAYS want to show each other where our own sins are and how we can be better wives!

6.) We protect each other’s secrets and reputation.

We don’t go around behind each other’s backs blabbing secrets, stories, or slander their reputation in private.

7.) We pray for each other.

Let’s face it.  We’ve all said “I’ll pray for you” and then either just not done it, or seriously forgot about it.  In these friendships, that doesn’t happen.  When we say, we’re praying, we’re really praying.

8.) We don’t let each other get away with gossip.

This looks different all the time.  Remember from above, that I honestly do believe someone can vent to THE RIGHT PERSON to sort out their feelings without being in danger of gossip.  So much of it comes to the attitude of the heart.  If they are trying only to destroy the other person’s name or reputation, then we carefully point out the danger of what they’re doing, or gently change the subject.  If however, they are just trying to sort out their feelings and really figure out the godly way to move forward, then we patiently allow that to happen without making unnecessary judgements.

9.) We don’t judge each other.

We all struggle with different things at different times and there is no room for judging someone because temptation or sin is present.  None of us is above any sin and it isn’t about whose better or anything like that at all.

10.) We love each other deeply.

We’d do ANYTHING for each other.  We forgive quickly. We don’t dwell on mistakes. We offer a lot of mercy and grace.  And we genuinely love each other.

If you were reading through that check list and felt like some of your “best” friendships don’t fit, then maybe it is time to evaluate those friendships.  That doesn’t always mean you cut someone out of your life just because they aren’t your best friend!! But it does mean that you protect your heart from extending an offer at best friendship when a relationship is unequally yoked.

Just like in marriage, if one spouse is a believer and one is not, they are unequally yoked and they face a life of disagreements and different convictions.  The same is true of friendships.

And the truth is ladies, more women than you’d believe are out there praying for a best friend because most of us really don’t have one.

Most often, we need to learn how to be a good best friend ourselves, and then also finding someone who can be one back.

You’d be surprised – some of my closest prayer partners are ladies I just met over the internet 6-8 months ago!  They aren’t my very best friends, but we’re building genuine, honest, faithful friendships through emails and blogs.

Practical Application:

Start by evaluating your own friendships against the check list.  Maybe some friends are really a lot of drama & hurt feelings and need to be demoted in position a little (without some big verbal fall out!!)  Or maybe you have a good friend who you never realized WAS such a good friend and really needs bumped up in position.

Accept different levels of friendship. Maybe you’re like I was for years and you felt like either everyone needed to be a genuine best friend, or they were an acquaintance only.   It’s OK to have seasonal friends, or friends that are awesome to catch up with once a month, who don’t know every intimate detail because of some different priorities or convictions, and that can still be a very fulfilling relationship without having to put unnecessary expectations on the friendship that it can’t live up to, and then losing the friend completely.

Examine the kind of friend YOU are. If there is someone in your life whom you are afraid to be honest with for fear of a fall out, or you could never tell them what you really think about their attitude toward their co-worker,  or you gossip behind their back, or you tell them they’d be better without that loser husband… then you either have some serious work to do to be a good friend yourself, or you are trying to be a best friend with someone you are unequally yoked with and don’t really feel safe with.

Finally, take time to thank your best friends if you truly have them already.  Or spend some serious time in prayer (and fasting) for the Lord to bring this kind of friend into your life AND to help you be this kind of friend.

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “Friendships”

  1. Stephanie February 13, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

    I love this! And you! So there!

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