SO MANY WORDS COME TO MIND WHEN I THINK OF THAT WORD. FUN. MESSY. LIFE-GIVING. TRYING. INTIMATE. LASTING. COMMITMENT. REFINING. GIVING. TAKING. LAUGHTER. UNDERSTANDING. SUPPORT.
The older I get, the more I value my girlfriends. The more I see the need for them. The more I love them! And as I listen to those around me, I see that so many women and men DON’T have deep relationships in their lives. We NEED friends. Not mere acquaintances. Deep, lasting, committed friends. I’m talking the kind of friend that you can rely on. The kind of friend that will walk with you through ANYTHING.
My friends have seen the deepest, darkest, silliest, most annoying, parts of me. They have also experienced some of my best moments with me.
I have 3 friends that I would refer to as “LIFE-LONG” friends. By life-long, I don’t mean that I’ve known them all of my life. I mean that they will be in my life for the REST of my life. Of the three, I’ve actually had verbal conversations with two of them where we’ve committed to be friends for life. No matter what, forever, weather the storms kind of relationships. No relationship on this earth will rival that of the marriage covenant, but the commitment I have to these friends would at least shadow the covenant I have with my husband. Two of my life-long friends lived next door to me at LSU. The third, I got to know after joining staff with Cru.
THE FOLLOWING THINGS ARE TRUE OF ALL OR AT LEAST ONE OF MY LIFE-LONG FRIENDS. THEY HAVE:
▪ been with me in loneliness
▪ known the intricacies of my relationship with Christ
▪ prayed with me and for me (on their knees at times)
▪ stood in my wedding
▪ traveled overseas with me
▪ asked me hard questions to hold me accountable
▪ laughed so hard with me that we’ve peed our pants
▪ known that I accidentally peed in the bathtub while bathing (give me some grace, I was 9 months pregnant and just forgot what I was doing)
▪ slammed the door on me
▪ studied God’s word with me
▪ asked for forgiveness
▪ granted forgiveness
▪ given me a good reason to end the friendship
▪ has been given a good reason (by something I’ve done) to end the friendship
▪ cried to me over a miscarriage
▪ had me cry to them over a miscarriage
▪ called me out
▪ been angry at me (let’s be honest…ALL of them have had reason for this one)
▪ confided in me that their hearts are full of hate toward someone
▪ rejoiced with me in my marriage (even when they are lonely)
▪ rejoiced with me over a pregnancy (even when they long for children)
▪ made fun of my question-asking, never satisfied with the answer personality
▪ confessed to me that they are so jealous of someone that they can’t see straight
▪ encouraged me to remain faithful to the Lord
▪ stood up for me
▪ stood by me
I can truly say that I have three friends that know me and have been known by me. Our friendships have ebbed and flowed. I’m closer to each of them during different seasons. They each bring something very different to the table in our relationships.
I’ve learned that we grow with one another. We have to, because if we don’t allow room for one another to grow and change, we will grow apart. We honor one another by honoring what God is doing in one another’s lives.
As I’ve thought about my friends (and the fact that so many people I meet don’t seem to have deep friendships), I’ve come up with some tips, some things that seem valuable.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN A POTENTIAL LIFE-LONG FRIEND, AS WELL AS THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR FRIENDS TO CONTINUE TO DEEPEN THE RELATIONSHIP:
▪ look for someone who can accept your weaknesses and idiosyncrasies yet is still willing to help you grow
▪ look for someone who you can laugh with
▪ look for someone who shares your same values
▪ look for someone who will keep their word
▪ look for someone who has capacity to listen and not just talk
▪ allow one another to change; the friend you start with should not look the same as the friend you end with years down the road
▪ encourage each other to have other friends
▪ pray together and for one another
▪ be intentional to spend time together
That’s my 2 cents, but I don’t know that much. But, I know of someone who knew much about true friendship. The beloved Jonathan, son of King Saul of Israel. Jonathan and David had a beautiful friendship. And I believe much of what made it so special was Jonathan’s ability to look beyond himself and his circumstances and embrace God’s plan. Ever thought about the fact that Jonathan SHOULD have been the next in line for the throne? And yet God himself chooses his best bud to have that high seat. Ouch. Ouch times a bunch.
Isn’t that reality? Friendship can put us in some sticky spots. When you’re BFF gets asked out by the guy you’ve been crushing on….when your friend gets engaged first even thought you’ve been dating your boyfriend for WAY longer….when you are really struggling financially and your friend gets a killer job making a bizillion dollars….when you struggle with your weight and your bestie is as stunning as a supermodel…..
I’m well aware that these are all female issues! But I’m not a man, so insert something equally as gut-wrenching and manly and you guys can get the picture. There will ALWAYS be things we long for that our friends get and we don’t. But rather than allowing jealousy and entitlement ruin the friendship, Jonathan remains faithful to the covenant he made to David. He stands by him. He serves him. He allows room for David to become who he needs to be. And even at the end of their story, David shows his honor for his friend Jonathan by extending great kindness to dear friend’s family.
My encouragement would be to overcome the fear of rejection and go there. Invest well in your friends.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
-Written by Jessica Vaughn for the CruPress Green blog. To read more from CruPress Green, go to http://crupress.campuscrusadeforchrist.com/green/index.php/blog/
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