It’s no secret around here that I have struggled with friendships, struggled to find my inner circle. Sometimes it’s exhausting and frustrating to seek out and wait and pray for that group of women who will constantly point me towards Christ.
In my thirty years, I’ve had many friends. Friends that have made me laugh, cry, been good influences, and some that have been bad influences. Some that have stayed and some that were only around for a season.
I once heard someone say that some friends are only meant to be in your life for a season. That this is the point of their friendship, to get you through that season of life, to help you learn and grow and then to move on. And while I completely understand this logic, and agree to an extent, is it too much to ask that one stays for good? Really, though, just one! That’s not too much to ask, right?
I’ve always been someone to expect a lot of my friendships. I expect them to push me to be better, to be more kind and generous, and to encourage me in Christ. I expect this because this is what I try to give in my friendships. Granted I have failed time and time again. I have gone through seasons of being a bad friend and retreating away by myself. I’m an introvert by nature so it truly is hard for me to open up.
I’m aware that this makes it hard to produce deep, lasting friendships. And not too many years ago I realized that I needed to step out of my comfort zone, that God was calling me to be a part of deeper community. And so I began to reach out, to involve myself more. And I sure have made some amazing friends. Friends who I laugh with and celebrate with. Friends who are always fun to be around. Some that I can just hang with, have a lazy day with.
But can I tell you a secret?
I’m still struggling with friendship.
I’m struggling because I feel like friendship has become just about good times and hangouts. I’m struggling because when I need Biblical advice I get crickets. When I am in the trenches of life and need someone to speak life into me I can’t find anyone to help. When I am not in my Word I don’t have anyone keeping me accountable to spending time with Him.
I have yet to find that friend that tells me, “Hey you’re not being very Christ-like.” Or to tell me “I was praying for you and wanted you to know.” Or to even ask me, “How can I be in prayer for you today?”
There was a season just recently where I thought to myself “Maybe I’m being too hard on people. Maybe I need to lower my expectations. Maybe I need to chill out already!”. I began to think that maybe there aren’t friendships of the kind I’m thinking. Maybe I am delirious and just yearning for something that isn’t possible.
But time after time I am reminded of the kind of friendship God calls us to. The kind of community that He expects of us. And time and time again, I am reminded that I, too need to work on being that kind of friend, being that part community that we are called to.
I was reminded of this because I have a friend (a blogger friend) who was talking about her group of friends. She was saying that they get together once a month just for the purpose of coming together in vulnerability to pray and intercede for one another. They eat, laugh, have a good time, and then they get down to it. They share their struggles and victories and then they pray. They pray together. Outloud. Some of y’all just shuddered with the anticipation of awkward silences, right? Hearing about this inner circle she had encouraged me because I long for friendships like this. And it also challenged me.
When was the last time I did this with friends? When was the last time we prayed when we got together?
We are called to live in community with one another not only just to enjoy each other but to “stir up one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24) and to bear each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2).
We are called to friendships that “count the other more significant than ourselves” (Philippians 2:3) and to “outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:9-10).
We are called to a higher standard of friendships, y’all. Friendships that challenge each other in Christ. Friendships that are constantly and persistently encouraging each other in Christ. Friendships that go to each other and “confess their sins to each other” so that we can “pray for one another” (James 5:16). To lift each other up when the other falls (Ecc 4:9-10).
We are called to speak the truth in love so that our sisters in Christ might not stray or be mislead. And in turn, we need to be the friends that aren’t easily offended when another comes to us speaking truth to us. We should be open and humble ourselves to hear their loving words.
We are called to sharpen one another. If you look around at your inner circle, can you say they sharpen you? Or better yet, are you sharpening them?
This is the kind of friendship we are called to. This is the kind of friendship I am longing for. And I know I’m not alone in this. I can’t tell you how many times I have had a conversation with someone about their longing for this kind of friendship, you are not alone!
Somewhere in this “YOLO” culture we have lost sight of what the purpose of our friendships are. We have gone slack in our expectations. And I’m ready to step up. I’m ready for others to step up.
Christ-centered community has been on my heart for a long time. Not only because I am longing for that but because I need to be better at it as well. God has been working on me in this area. Because I can’t expect this from my sisters in Christ if I am not willing to step up and be this for them as well.
I’m working on stepping up. I am working on rising to the occasion so-to-speak. And I am so ready for the friends who are willing to rise up with me!
It’s time to get serious about our friendships. It’s time to get serious about the community God has called us to. We need to step it up, push each other, encourage each other, really live in Christ-centered community with each other. God allows us the joys of life, yes. We can have fun and enjoy each other. But we also need to have our focus on Christ. And to obey the type of community we are meant for.
Is this you? Has God been working on you regarding Godly friendships? Are you willing to step-up, to live in obedience to the kind of community God has called us to?