If you’re anything like me, finding true friendship doesn’t come very easily. This isn’t because I’m not friendly but because I really struggle with trust. This struggle is a result of personal experience in my past (and a little in my present!), lack of trust in my Savior, and the pure fact that it’s just plain ole’ hard to trust others!
For me, opening up has always been hard but it’s been especially hard to open up to women. Over the years I’ve learned some things about being a friend. I learned about what not to do from my experiences of hurt, I’ve learned how to push friends away due to my lack of trust, and I’ve most definitely learned the art of skillfully avoiding the situations where there might be the possibility of hurt! For me, it was easier to just not have friends, to not have a support system than to open myself up and get hurt…again.
BUT God does not call us to a community of believers so we can push them away. He doesn’t present us with a model church in Acts so we can look at it and say, “Oh, that’s cool. Wouldn’t that be a nice thing!” No, He calls us to be a community of believers so we can DO life together. So we can encourage each other and grow together and keep one another accountable.
Once I opened my heart up to this idea of community I began to learn a lot more about friendship and all that I might be missing because I was so closed off.
Here are the six truths I’ve learned about what true Christ-centered friendships should look like:
1 – True friendship is deeper than small talk. True friends walk through ALL seasons of life. They are your people! You talk to them about everything not just when you need to vent. True friendships revolve around much more than just the latest drama in your life.
2 – True friendship walks with you through hard times not just the good times. Want to find out who’s your true friend? Pay attention to who’s still around when you’re going through a trial. It’s so easy to see a friend in a difficult time in life and just let them walk alone because it might be a hassle to be there. It’s the friends that stick around and hold you up during the hard times that are valuable!
3. True friendship sharpens you, encourages you to be better and DO better. True friends are the friends that tell you the hard things, the things you don’t want to hear about yourself. And in return they allow you to tell them the hard things. “Iron sharpens iron” right? Who isn’t afraid to ask you the hard questions? Or to tell you things you NEED to hear? THAT is the person to hold on to! That is the friend trying to make you better and bring you closer to Christ.
4. True friendship keeps you accountable. A true friend will know your weaknesses and struggles and will keep you in check. They will ask you how you’re doing and send you scriptures or pray with you. As friends we should be honest with one another about what we need to work on in our lives and then allow ourselves to be held accountable.
5. True friendship is full of earned trust. To be honest about our weaknesses we need to trust. Some people are more easily trusting than others, for me it takes some time. Either way we should be cautious with who we tell our deepest darkest secrets. They should earn our trust and we should earn theirs. Proving to each other that we are safe with each other.
6. True friendship is empathetic. Friends that rejoice with you in your happiness (without comparing their happiness to yours) and mourn with you in your sadness. Does your heart break when your best friends are hurting? Are you overwhelmed with joy when she is? These are the friends that truly get it, that truly know the value in friendship and sharing life!
Friendship, community, besties…whatever term you use, these relationships have the power to break you or lift you up and change you. Take a look around at the people closest to you. Do they have these qualities? Would your friends say that YOU have these qualities?
In order to really enjoy friendship the way that Christ intended we should BE this friend to those around us. Our “inner circle” should be those who look like Christ and encourage you to look more like Him every day.
I am still working on opening up and learning how to trust. I am still praying for an “inner circle”. I am still working on being this friend to others. One thing I am really excited to see in our little corner of the internet is for this community to grow and be that support for some. I’m excited to see a community of women lifting each other up!
Will you join me in this season of growth? Will you pray that Christ molds you and I to be better friends and to sift through the friends that might be discouraging us and to find the few that might BE Christ in our lives?