This is something I have been wanting to write about, but I wasn't sure I could pull it off. You see, besides you wonderful people, and a few people at my church, I really don't have any friends. In school, I had friends, but very few, and a bunch of people who found me amusing. So, I suppose you could say that I should be the last person writing anything about knowing anything about what friendships need. There are a few basic things that everyone (should) know that friendships need. Things like honesty, loyalty, caring, kindness. Very often when thinking of a person you consider a close or "best" friend, you think of someone who is always there for you. Some qualities are really high up there, that some consider needs, others just consider them very important. These could be things like common interests and beliefs, or empathy. There are a few things that I personally enjoy in others that I consider my friends, like being able to laugh together, or those who have really good insights and make good conversation. I doubt there is anyone out there that would disagree with me here, that all of these things are at least helpful to having a good friendship. I want to go back to when I was talking about someone who is always "there for you." How are these people there for you? Everyone has a million and one really great examples of how someone really fulfilled this behavior. Someone you can confide in, maybe. Maybe it's the someone who was your shoulder to cry on, maybe that someone who always said the right prayer. Maybe you think of the person who encouraged you with just the right words, or knew just the right verse or wisdom or insight for what you needed. Perhaps it is someone who stood by you when everyone else was rejecting you. You're special friend who is always "there for you" could be the one who meets practical needs for you, maybe by watching your kids at the drop of a hat, or drives you to doctor's appointments, or slips money into your hand as a gift just when you need it. Once again, I think that everyone on this planet either has this kind of friend, or wants someone to be that kind of friend to them. Here on CB, we are fortunate to know a Son who is all that and so much more to us. He is the ultimate example of what friendships is all about. Here is a thought though, the certain something that you may not have thought of when considering what is needed for a friendship. Or, maybe I'm the only weirdo who desires this. One thing that I need to really consider a relationship to be a friendship, to really feel close with the other person, is for them to LET me be there for them. You know what I mean. Those strong types, or those ones who have been hurt and so want to protect themselves. I know several of these types. This sort of thing runs rampant in my area, and also in Christian circles. They are so wonderful and giving. Very often, they are the ones that fit all descriptions of being honest, loyal, kind, caring, empathetic. They are the "there for you" types. However, they will not allow others to be the "there for you" type for them. I find this very very hard to get past. How many times have I wanted and offered to do things for these wonderful people? How many times have I been spurned when I stepped in to pray or to talk or to fill a need? How many times have I wondered what it is that is burdening them, but not being told what it is? This creates such a wall, such an uncrossable barrier between two people. I believe that one key thing that must be present for a relationship to flourish is true sharing. Back and forth support and care. But so many times it is one sided. People just not wanting to be supported, so they don't say anything about what they're going through, or they reject any attempts. This is unacceptable to me. Also, you may not realize that when you deny someone the opportunity to emulate Jesus and help you, you might be denying not just yourself a blessing, but the other person! I remember my mom telling me this once. We were in a very very bad way financially, and I was telling her about it. Of course, she offered to help, and suggested that either I bring it up in church or allow her to tell a few people. And, of course, I said no. I wanted to take care of it myself, I didn't want other people knowing about it, didn't want to be needy etc. Then she said to me that not only was I hurting myself, I was keeping others from blessing. She asked me to think of all the times I helped someone, and how it affected me. And I remembered that it almost seemed like I was "helping" myself more than the receiver! For whatever reason. It made me feel needed, useful, grateful, and just all around *yay* to help. And then I thought about how I was keeping others from that same thing. Not good. It is true, that if we have Christ we don't need anyone else. He is and can be our all in all. I would say though, that it is not unheard of for Jesus to work through the people walking around this earth to fulfill that. So. Are you missing this key to real friendship?
if I could figure out how to make a circle that would be a round of applause! I'm guilty, Guilty, GUILTY! of not being more open for God to bless me through relationships and divine appointments. Been burned through some friendships within the body... and you're right, we have to learn how to receive as well as how to give. we have to learn who to trust through the Holy Spirit to minister to us even as we minister to others.
my pastor just delivered a beautiful sermon last week on this very topic! divine appointments, friendships, relationships, is how God gets stuff done.
BEAUTIFUL, wb. (I'll be tracking this one myself... I need it!)
Good blog thanks whobelieve. Just what a 100 year old missionary taught me - give and it shall be given you. Dont rob someone of the blessing of giving.
You say so beautifully what I try to convey to the ladies at church, why they should be involved and active in the women's ministry. It might not be for YOU to minister to somebody, it may be allowing THEM the blessing of ministering to you. Or vice-versa.
We have a meals ministry where the ladies take turns delivering meals to a family where the wife/mom is sick, had surgery, had a baby, you know, stuff like that. I wish more people would just say, yes, please bring me a meal.
It works both ways.
I had someone say that to me as well when I once insisted I was fine...they didn't need to bother with doing something for me...until with a pained look in their eye they asked me why I didn't want to let them bless me.
Ironically enough, my closest friendships have actually developed after my diagnosis with cancer...when I made the decision that if I did not make myself vulnerable, I was never going to make it. I couldn't get through this alone. God brought some amazing people into my life when I did that and a number of them are right here!
I am not going to suggest that we need to be "vulnerable" with everyone. In fact there are people you definitely should not be vulnerable with. However, I think we need to get rid of the idea of "Just Me And God." While sometimes that may be a path God leads you on, we need to remember that God created us to be social. He didn't think it was good to be alone in the Garden and I don't believe it's generally what He wants now. Christianity is not about isolation. It's about "doing life with others as we do life with God."
It is often the case that pride and selfishness get in the way of blessings. Many a time people will hold their issues and not let anyone know about them in fear of judgement and public knowledge of it. We all should learn to be more willing to allow Jesus to work in our lives. How can we expect a blessing from for something if we refuse to let anyone know about it, that is like Jesus offering someone the anwer and us being to selfish of our ego and pride that we refuse it.
wb, you are my bestest friend after Jesus, shh don't tell alight. lol, thanks for this blog, I really needed it. You have no idea how many times you have blessed me with your prayers or thoughts. God has placed you in my life for a reason. I feel so comfortable with you that I am able to tell you about what I need you to pray for. You know more about me than people I have known for years.
Oh wow WB. I really needed this. Thanks for blessing me in the chat today :wink:
wb, I found this song this morning I thought about this blog that you wrote. It is from Mark 9:35 and you can put in sister in place of brother.
Brother, let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you. Pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant too.
We are pilgrims on a journey, we are brothers on the road; We are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load.
I will hold the Christ-light for you, in the high time of your fear; I will hold my hand out for you, speak the peace you long to hear.
I will weep when you are weeping, when you laugh, I'll laugh with you;I will share your joy and sorrow till we've seen this journey through.
When we sing to God in heaven, we shall find such harmony; Born of all we've known together of Christ's love and agony.
Brother, lwt me be your servant, let me be as christ to you; Pray that I might have the grace to let you be my servant too.
Be blessed, angel