I am not a fighter. I’m a peacemaker by nature; a keeper of secrets; a respecter of privacy. I ruffle few feathers. Diplomatic, that’s me. My awareness of boundaries and personal privacy sometimes keeps people at a distance — not too close — even friends. Yes, sadly, even friends.
But in good friendships, like good marriages, disagreements happen. There’s a saying: If two people agree on everything, one of them is unnecessary. I don’t want friendships that wither, stifled by a distaste for conflict, where one of us feels unnecessary, where opposing positions aren’t discussed.
Some women possess a gift for encouraging others to open up more than they would otherwise. Sometimes you have to gently probe to take a relationship beyond shallow waters. I want to be the girl who’s not afraid to ask hard questions; who digs deeper; leans in close and listens long to words heart-spoken; inspires trust; encourages truth and honesty.
Differences in opinion can divide, but friendship is worth the effort. Friendship is worth fighting for.
Some relationships are ready-made: your kids play for the same team, you attend the same Bible study, you take your little ones to the same playgroup. Others require work, when distance and schedules separate rather than connect.
Will you make the effort to maintain a friendship? To actively pursue it? It might be as simple as a timely text, a card in the mail, a phone call while running errands. Be the one to initiate a girls night out. Just don’t fail to express the simple but powerful message: I’m thinking of you.
Some of you may be in a season where friendships seem scarce. Maybe you’re new to your area, tangled in toddlers, or working long hours outside the home. Maybe you’re self-sufficient and tend to keep to yourself. Even the most independent — and certainly the most isolated — among us need community.
We worship a relational God who calls us to serve one another. He endows us with gifts — encouragement, hospitality, giving, wisdom — which can be expressed fully within the bonds of friendship.
While building long-term friendships is always a goal, I recognize that sometimes God places the right people in our paths for an hour or a day. Recently a woman waved me to her table in a crowded mall food court when she saw I couldn’t find a place to sit. I enjoyed 45 minutes of conversation with her and her friend. We talked about motherhood, education, and how we celebrate Christmas. I heard words that I needed to hear and shared a lovely lunch with two ladies I’ll probably never see again. God moved in the middle, aware that I needed connection more than solitude.
Are you in a season rich with community or is it time to buckle down and build or maintain relationships? The effort is worthy. Friendship is worth the fight.
By Dawn Camp, from the (in)courage archives