Y’all! Friendships are hard! And they take a crazy amount of work! I know. I know. I’m preaching to the choir. I know a great deal of people. Many I would consider friends. Some are newer and some I have known for decades. The older I get, the more I desire authentic and lasting friendships. But, people are people. We are flawed and imperfect. We make mistakes, hopefully ask for forgiveness, and try to do better the next time.
I have a friend that I have known for almost a decade. It has been a wild ride to say the least. We’ve seen valleys and mountain tops. We’ve laughed and cried. There have been births and deaths. For the most part, it’s been good. For the rest of it, it has been a bit exhausting. Super intense would be an understatement. I think I walk in grace for people and their struggles, but sometimes the weight of it can become overwhelming.
Earlier this spring, a really hard season hit our friendship. I’m not going to lie. My heart was broken. I felt hurt and forgotten.
I’m not sure if you’ve ever had a friendship where one person’s stuff was always heavy and you carried it just as though you were going through it yourself. That is our friendship. I told her I wasn’t sure if she knew the weight her life had on those around her. I told her I needed a break. I didn’t want a breakup. I consider her a sister. I want our friendship to last a lifetime. But, for the sake of my mental and emotional heath, I needed a little distance. Sometimes we forget that God cares about those parts of our lives just as much as our spiritual health.
At first, I felt bad about it. Then, I spoke with an older, trusted voice in my life and she agreed. She said that I needed a season of distance. She said that I could love her from a distance. And of course, I would still be praying for her.
Friendships take so much navigating. They are so complex and full of all manner of nuances, but in the end, they are a large part of how God wired us and what brings us joy.
God designed us for friendship.
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” (Genesis 2:18)
Lone ranger Christianity is not a thing. It is not and never has been a thing in the mind of God. Even in creation, God knew that Adam needed someone. He needed support and encouragement and companionship. This holds true today. The enemy wants us to be isolated so that we slowly only hear his voice. He wants to plant seeds of doubt and insecurity in our minds.
God speaks so many truths and reminds us of His promises within the context of community. I tend to have blind spots in my life that trusted friends and mentors graciously point out. But, they always do so in love and with encouragement.
Friendships require forgiveness.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. (Colossians 3:12-13)
I have to remind myself of this on those hard days when I want to give up on people and hide in my apartment and go into complete introvert mode. I have to remind myself of this when I have been hurt and offended and feel abandoned. I have to remind myself of this when I am drained and tired and overwhelmed.
Both the Holy Spirit and genuine community are great at reminding me that friendships require forgiveness. They require trust and grace and a fight. But, they are worth fighting for.
There is a great reward in friendship.
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)
There are many aspects of friendship that are valuable, but the idea of us sharpening each other really appeals to me. When I think of a blade, I know it grows dull and unable to function after much usage. Isn’t that us? We go through life. We feel. We experience. We carry burdens. We interact with difficult people. We sometimes are difficult people.
Then, our friends step in and speak truth, promises, destiny and purpose into our Spirits. They sharpen us. They speak life into weary places. They make us better and they help equip us to be light in the world around us.
There is an ebb and flow to any type of relationship complete with highs and lows, success and failures, delight and disappointments.
Some friendships become family. Some friendships are only for a season because people change and grow and sometimes it is in opposite directions. And that’s okay. We must be willing to hold them loosely and let the Lord have His way. Friendships in the end are not about us. They are about glorifying God and displaying the love of Christ to those around us.
Is there a friendship that you are finding it difficult to navigate? I’d love to pray for you!