A Friend In Need
Disclaimer/Warning: This is a self-reflective post, which I am sharing because I don’t think I’m alone in working out these questions and feelings. If you’re looking for answers full of wisdom and authority on the topic of friendship, I am not your girl. If, however, you’re looking for someone who is figuring out exactly what friendship means and has meant throughout her life, and how she’s journeying through being a friend, and how all this relates to her relationship with God, then you might want to read on.
Such a benign word is overwhelming for me to write about, so I have been turning things over in my overthinking way mind and processing through what friendship is and what it means in my life. I’ve been pondering the following questions:
Does my chubby-girl-never-picked-for-teams-in-school baggage impact the way I view friendship? (Spoiler alert: yes)
- Does it make me more needy to both make and be accepted by friends? If so, why?
- When do I give up that baggage from the little girl who was hurt?
- Why is it so easy for some of us to have that group of ride-or-die friends, while others of us feel like the also-rans and side-liners of the group?
- If I don’t have a “Lucy and Ethel” or “Monica-Joey-Phoebe-Rachel-Ross-and-Chandler” group of friends, is there something wrong with me?
God calls me friend if I accept and believe in Him. That’s such a one-sided friendship. I mean, what can I give God? Which makes me consider:
- Should we be friends with those who can’t ‘give’ us anything, where we feel like the relationship is primarily a serving one and possibly even a draining one, rather than a fun one? I know the answer is yes, but that changes the definition, at least in my mind, of what a friend is. And yes, give is definitely key; there are tangibles and intangibles in giving, and I know both are valuable. For example, I may give my time and treasure to someone, and s/he may never reciprocate in kind. However, the fact that s/he gives me an opportunity to serve is gift in itself. But I gotta say, it sure is a lot more fun to be friends with someone who doesn’t need something from me all the time, or who gives me an opportunity to relax and recharge.
- Do we put too much pressure on our friends to be everything to us, leaving little space for a friendship between ourselves and God?
As I muse through these questions, I find that while I probably am overthinking the idea of friendship and friends, clearly, I have some wounds which I have not yet walked through in victory of the Holy Spirit. It’s ironic that if you were to ask most people I love, they would tell you I have no problems making friends, being in friendships, and that I have m.a.n.y. friends. I always think, no…no I don’t have that many friends. The ones I have I am exceedingly grateful for, loyal to, and give to them my very best, but, somehow, I think I have been longing for more. Why?
Well, I do believe that the girl who didn’t get picked does still have some worthiness baggage that she didn’t know she had. I also think (and this is very true, regardless of how silly it sounds) I was raised with so much TV that sometimes my mind refers to THOSE images (God help me), especially those seen as a child and young adult, as models of how much of life should look. So, if I don’t have a friend with whom I share extreme proximity (e.g. Lucy and Ethel), similar stage, life goal, etc. that I see daily, maybe my friendship is lesser. Maybe somehow, I’ve missed out and should try to be more.
HOW STINKING FAULTY IS THIS THINKING?!
God loves me. He makes me worthy. No matter how closely I walk in relationship with others, that is the core truth. The enemy wants me to think I’m less than. The enemy provides such a breeding ground for discontent because of his lies. If I were to continue believing his lies, I might eventually turn against the friends I have because of an imaginary framework of how a friendship should look. Tragic!
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. ~1 John 2:15 (NIV)
Those TV relationships and even those of people around me who have the “ideal” friendship situation are not my reality; their situation may not even be real. And if it is real, then good for them. This is my life. My life will look differently than their life because it’s mine. If I am on the outside looking in, then I need to look to God at what’s around me and look to what He has in store for me.
Theodore Roosevelt has been quoted as saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I don’t know about you, but I want to guard my heart against comparing anything I have or do with others, because I think he was exactly right. The friends I have are amazing, and among God’s biggest gifts to me. Why would I even want to have what someone else has when I have the goodness and grace of God in those He puts in my life to love on me. Anything other than utter gratitude would be silly.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. ~1 Timothy 6:6 (NIV)
Do we put too much pressure on our friends to be everything to us, leaving little space for a friendship between ourselves and God? Well, I don’t know if “we” do, but I certainly have. How many posts will I read and write about situations in my life which simply require more of God and less of me? I have high expectations of myself, of others, and of God. How much better would my life flow if I let those expectations go and let God guide my heart and mind? Easy to say. Difficult to do. Thankful for the grace for today to work that through.
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Lastly, I do think it is important to be a friend to those who need us more than we “need” them because it reminds us that God really doesn’t need us, but he loves us. And I don’t know about you, but I am so needy for Him. Jesus called people “friend” as a greeting. He gave of himself to whoever would believe and take up his/her cross while putting aside themselves. I also think this is important because WE NEVER KNOW the curveballs life will throw! We may well find ourselves the “needy” one in a future relationship if we haven’t already. It is good to remember that the poor and the poor in spirit are blessed indeed by Jesus. If I want to walk His walk and in His will, I will bless them, too.
- A Friend In Need - August 31, 2018
- Breakin’ It Down - July 23, 2018
- Lean on Me - May 18, 2018
I am so needy for Him, too. Your angst over friendships is relatable to this former dysfunctional friend, and I’ve learned so much from being loved by people I felt I didn’t deserve to have as friends. Unconditional love is healing. Freeing. Glad we are in this together.
“Do we put too much pressure on our friends to be everything to us, leaving little space for a friendship between ourselves and God?” Um, yes. And my spouse. Something I try to remember when I feel pouty because he’s not doing what I think he should be doing. *sigh*
Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your heart, Gretchen. Lot’s of timely nuggets in this post.
Wonderful reminder to be generous with friendship, too. We’ve been talking about it at school as we start a new year. Maybe not always easy, but free and possible nonetheless 😃