We all want the type of friendships we see in the movies or on TV shows. You know the ones where the girls have been friends since elementary school, they know each other so well they can finish each other’s sentences, and they are fiercely loyal to one another. The type of friendships that, no matter the miles, months, or years apart, they always pick up right where they left off.
Yeah, me, too.
So what do the rest of us, who haven’t been blessed with a bestie from elementary school and who have had to weather a few “friendship storms” through the years, do?
First, realize you are not alone. No, nothing is wrong with you. God has made each of us with a longing to be known and loved. No wonder the TV series ‘Friends’ was so popular in the 90’s. The writers of the TV series tapped into our natural longing to have those desires of genuine life-giving friendships. Unfortunately, what we’ve watched on TV or in the movies is not what many of us have experienced in our lives.
Instead of looking to have our earthly friendships meet those needs, we need to learn to reach out to Jesus. The truth is, our earthly friendships will never fulfill the longing a relationship with Jesus will provide. And let me tell you another secret – all those girls-night out photos you see on Instagram, Facebook, or SnapChat? Don’t believe them, either. Sadly, we live in a photoshopped and filtered world and our faces aren’t the only thing being adjusted.
What if you don’t have a million best friends like all your other friends seem to have? Realize you haven’t been made to be best friends with everyone you meet. First, it is physically and emotionally impossible to be close to a large number of people and honestly, it’s not healthy. Remember, friendships take time and it is always better to have quality friendships than quantity in our friendships. Proverbs 12:26 reminds us of this truth.
I once heard that friendships are like gardens: They are best watered with love. I love that analogy because it shows how friendships, like any other relationship, need watering and tending in order for them to grow and blossom. Loving someone well, whether that is a friend, spouse, or child takes time, effort, and a whole lot of intentionality. In order to cultivate your friendships well, you must put Proverbs 12:26 in action in your life, learning to be cautious with who you allow in your inner circle, close to your heart, and your family.
Now, that doesn’t mean we aren’t welcoming, kind, and inclusive to others. It means our lives, our hearts, and our emotional bandwidth have God-made limits and boundaries we need to learn to live and love within. As Christians, we should always be loving and sharing Christ with those in our lives and those we come into contact with throughout our day. We are called to be a light in our increasingly dark world – we just need to learn to be careful who we allow so close to us that they don’t snuff our light out through discouragement, conflict, or jealousy.
So what do healthy friendships look like? Here is one example.
Healthy friendships want the best for you. They rejoice when you rejoice and they mourn with you when you mourn. Healthy friendships are a lot like what we read about in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. The healthiest friendships are ones that are patient and kind, always believing the best of you instead of the worst. Instead of being envious of your new job promotion or wedding announcement, they rejoice with you and are happy for you. These friendships don’t focus on themselves nor do they need to make themselves the center of the relationship.
These special friendships enjoy listening as much as sharing. They are brave enough to speak truth in love into your life because it is their love for you that motivates them. These friendships do not shy away from alerting you to potential danger they see in your life and stick by you as you weather your storms. They want the best for you, even if that means what they have to share, you might not like at first. Above all else, they want the best for you. These special friends are willing to put the work in, roll up their sleeves, and pray you through hard seasons in life.
While Jesus Christ is our ultimate best friend and only He alone can fill our deepest desires of a true, loving friendship, my prayer for you today is that God will bless you with a few godly friendships who will point you to Jesus, pray for you in your storms, and be there to love you on your good days and bad. And while we’re at it, I pray you can be that kind of friend to a few people, too.
Love God Greatly!
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