Oh how I wish friendship came easy for me. It astounds me how much I long for close friendships and how difficult it can be for me to seek out and maintain lasting friendships. I am not an unfriendly person. I like to talk to people, ask questions, get to know people and even open up.
But I have found over time that when a friendship hits a certain point, I either….
push too hard, put up a wall, or retreat. Sometimes I do all of the above!
Friendship touches on a wounded part of my heart and until now I have not always had the tools or the deeper understanding for what to do when that wound becomes exposed. And why is it even so important for me to get this friendship thing figured out? I can be satisfied with busy, accomplishments, being a wife, being a mother, serving others…right? I mean, do I REALLY need close friends? Well, actually, yes, yes I do. How do I know this? In a new book, Never Unfriended by Lisa Jo Baker, I have learned that this need is built into my DNA. In the beginning, there was God, Elohim. Elohim is plural. God- the father, the son and the Holy Spirit.
They were always together and they created me with a need for this kind of unity, intimacy and community.
I have been on a journey over the past year, with the Holy Spirit (my greatest friend and counselor), guiding me to pursue a healthy, biblical understanding of friendship. I have been fascinated with the subject. It is on my mind all the time. I am thinking about it, praying about it and working on making intentional moves towards it with people in my life. It has been painful. It has been exciting. It has been freeing. The best thing it has been is an amazing opportunity to grow closer to my Lord. What I am learning, from my good friend Lisa Jo Baker, is that the only way to obtain and maintain lasting friendships, is to study the perfect friend and to get my most intimate needs for friendship met FIRST, in Him, in Jesus Christ.
As Lisa Jo states- Jesus “moved into the neighborhood”. He came face to face with people. Jesus sat with people for long periods of time. He looked into their eyes. He listened to them. He let them talk. Jesus celebrated with them, he mourned with them. Ultimately Jesus died for His friends. Greater love, there was no GREATER love, than the love Jesus demonstrated while on earth. So what does that have to do with me and my “friendship issues”?
I have to start with Him. He is my teacher. Jesus’s life shines so brightly and speaks so loudly- sending out a message- “I am your friend. I love you. I am showing up in your life. I am walking with you. I accept you right where you are. I am for you. I see you. I know you.”
Isn’t that what we want most? Is to be KNOWN, to be SEEN, to have someone who champions us, cheers us on, shows up, accepts us as we are?
One thing that is for sure- before we start to expect this kind of thing to show up in our friends, in our daily lives, we need to understand that no one can be this for us 100%, no one except Jesus Christ. So am I looking at Him? Am I face to face with my faithful friend Jesus? Am I showing up to sit at His feet? Am I drawing near to Him daily? Am I opening up my heart to Him? This FIRST. Face to Face with Jesus. As He pours into me, only then, can I be ready to pour into others and receive what they have to pour into me. So, that is where I am. I am sitting but I am also moving. As I sit with Jesus, I am moved towards others. He is the one who propels me towards others. Not my needs, not my motivations, not my interests or wants, but His love.
I am so excited about this journey. I am now looking at the women in my life not for what they can offer me, not to meet my needs, but what I can offer them, how I can show up for them, how I can love them in a way that means the most to them, how I can champion them and cheer them on in a way that they can hear. As I do this, I am beginning to understand and grasp the beauty and gift of biblical friendship. Biblical friendship is always about Christ. It is always about walking with your friend on their journey to glorify God, to grow in their faith and to show the world the Gospel. That is the purpose, that is the goal and that is the focus.
And when that is what we focus on, then the joy comes. The excitement comes. The feeling of closeness and sisterhood, and community.
In this day and age, of Facebook, Social Media, busyness, we have to fight for face to face. We have to fight for time to be face to face with each other. We need to look into each other’s eyes, we need to talk, we need to listen, we need to linger, we need to give TIME. It is the only way. For this naturally introverted, social media junkie, that has to be an intentional move on my part and it is my responsibility. I need to go first. I’m excited to blog more on this topic as time progresses. So here’s to opening my door, lingering outside to chat with neighbors, making time to meet for coffee, turning off my phone, checking out of Facebook from time to time, not rushing, asking more questions, waiting, pausing, BEING.
Can’t wait to share more!!!!