Friendship

friendship

I hosted  a Bible study at my house for a few weeks this summer and one thing emerged as a theme. Though we had a group of bright, warm and intelligent women assembled, I was surprised to hear that nearly all of us were still hungry for deep friendship in our lives. If you looked around the room you’d have seen pastor’s wives, women so “involved” it’d make your head spin, and people with hundreds of Facebook friends. You’d never guess that any one of those people would struggle with loneliness, feeling not a part of a group, or wishing for just one really great friend. As it turns out, appearances and assumptions can be deceiving.

In jr. high, friendship drama is par for the course. We had petty things that spurred fights and used little paper notes folded into elaborate designs (passed while your teacher wasn’t looking in 4th hour) that either verified or denied our loyalties to another. But we were all immature then, so it’s understandable why friendship was fraught with difficulties and hurt feelings.

As adults, we’ve grown more comfortable with ourselves and it seems like it’d be easy to put the right version of yourself out there and then friends would come flocking to you. But it doesn’t work that way. I distinctly remember the sinking feeling of loneliness after graduating from college and my “insta-community” was gone. Then getting married and thinking I’d never, ever be lonely again. Oh wait…that didn’t work either.

Why IS it so hard to have deep friendships at this point in our lives?As external conditions (like living further apart and contending with job and kid responsibilities) change, it becomes tougher to meet the three conditions that sociologists considere crucial to making close friends: proximity; repeated, unplanned interactions; and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other.”

All those things make sense and speak to some of the practical reasons so many adults are lonely. But a lot of our struggle  is basically because we’re flawed humans interacting with other flawed humans. Our sin causes us bring insecurity to our potential relationships because we try to get our confidence from externals– our acheivements, looks, or people’s approval instead of in Christ. We presume the worst in others because it’s easier than dealing with our own pride. We are too caught up in our own sorrows to reach out to hear the hurts of others.

Friendship, is hard because it takes true love.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Patient? Not envy? Not easily angered? Always hopes? Oh man. You mean like with other people? Consistently? When I was a child, I reasoned like a child… Maybe I still do sometimes.

Sweet adult friendships start with us not being too prideful, insecure or self-absorbed to seek each other out. Not making friendship all about us. Not assuming. (a.k.a. She’d never want to hang out with me.) And making time to be with other people face to face. And once you are interacting with others, realizing that people are sinners, but trying not to treat them like they are. Better than they deserve. We all need the ministry of Christ-like love in our lives- both as givers and takers; and you can only do that in relationship.

Heidi

 

Comments

  1. This is spot-on, Heidi! While we love our former and current Christian community, I feel that most moms/friends put “girls night out” or just random get togethers on the back burner. Yes, moms group and the occasional church social event were lovely, but it didn’t seem enough. I am always for cultivating friendships and finding the time to actually have a conversation separate from children, because as most parents know, it can be impossible to get a complete sentence in! And it’s refreshing to get out a bit! I don’t know. Maybe some moms feel it isn’t that important, feel guilty or are too scheduled? Part of serving God is to formulate healthy, close Christian friendships. After all, isn’t our Triune God all about relationship?! Thank you for bringing this topic to light. 🙂

    • So sorry it took me so long to get back to you Charise! I loved your words and felt encouraged to keep pursuing friendships, especially in the midst of the newborn world I’m in. The disconnectivity of life with young kids can be so hard. Let’s just keep being intentional in our situations because everyone else is longing for friendship too! XO, Heidi