Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Who am I?" - A Friend


This week in our series, for the first time I'm answering the question with a role. First of all let me say that my identity or yours is not based on the roles we play, but understanding who we are helps us be who we were met to be. I honestly believe one of the roles God has given us each to fulfill is that of friend. Aside from our role as child and sibling this is one of the first roles we play and it's one that continues throughout our lifetime.

At times this role is fun and enjoyable - remembers those early friendships? I look at my 6 year old daughter and her fast found best friend - watching them truly is a joy! They always pick up right where they left off, they play for hours, they can visit like they are teens and they love one another. Friendships are a gift and something we were met to enjoy!

Then I look ahead a few years and observe junior high and high school girls - some friendships continue just like Joy and Chloe, but others are not as pleasant. Sure today they may be best friends, but who knows what tomorrow will bring - harsh words, gossip, lies believed - damage done that makes a good thing bad and painful. Take a minute and think back to those days from your teen years, remember what I'm saying?

I'd like to think as we mature, reach adulthood and leave childish ways behind that friendships would return to a thing of joy, a role that came naturally, but I don't believe that is the case. How about you? Perhaps it's not the teenage mentality that causes the trouble, but friendships do require work. But it's work that is worthwhile because connections are something we each crave.

Just this morning I read Renee Swope's devotion from Proverbs 31 titled, "Craving Connection" which really stirred up some thoughts about friendships and my role as a friend. (I'd highly recommend reading this for yourself and visiting Renee's blog as well!!) As I thought about her words in this devotion in relation to my own life more of Renee's words came to mind. I have had the honor of reading a pre-release copy of her new book, "A Confident Heart," and have been blessed!!

A few days ago I finished the chapter titled, "When Doubt Whispers, You Can't Stop Worrying" and one quote that stuck with me was, "Worry robs us of peace in our relationships." As I read it, I thought yeah that's true, but in the past few days God has shown me how true it is in my life. Let me explain...

In the devotional Renee shares how our busyness and technological connections have caused us to push our face to face connections aside. Not sure if that's true in your life, but I know I'd love to get together with friends more often than I do. But back to this quote, what does worry have to do with peace in my friendships?

In my mind when I don't connect with a friend I often find myself wondering "Why?" As I wonder I often find myself trying to answer the question which often results in thoughts like, "I must have done something wrong," "She's too busy for me," "I'm not worth her time" or "I'm not a friend, I'm a burden."

Really all these thoughts and the others that accompany them in a way are worries (a nagging concern or uneasiness). And a worry is something that does me, or my friendships, no good. Actually it does just the opposite - just like those teenage troubles from the past, worry can destroy friendships, it causes me to push away and close up, like Renee says it robs me of peace.

God did not create friendships to hurt us, but to help us (which don't get me wrong some times does involve pain) and really to teach us more about Him and our relationship with Christ. Remember Jesus is the friend who sticks closer than a brother!! (Prov. 18:24) And worry can damage that relationship as well!!

Our Father created friendships with purpose, Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (NIV) That craving for connection is there for a reason; because God created me to be a friend, that is part of who I am.

I look forward to the days ahead as God continues to give me answers to the question I will forever ask! As I define myself by His standards and find my identity in Him, He is opening my eyes to see things through His. And today this lesson dealt with friends and I'm reminded of words that were shared with me as a child and ones I've already passed on to my children, "If you want to have a friend, you need to be a friend."

So today rather than waiting for my friend to return my call, I'll dial her number again. Tomorrow rather than checking my email for a message that still isn't there, I'll send one out. And hopefully in the days ahead rather than worrying, I'll take a lesson from my best friend, Jesus, and be secure in who I am, His friend, and trust Him with the friendships He's given to me.

I encourage you to invest in your friendships today!! And I'd love for you to visit Renee's blog for an opportunity to win a Friendship Gift Pack including your own copy of "A Confident Heart!!"

3 comments:

  1. Hey Jill~ I'm probably that friend you redialed today. LOL! Thanks for always being a GREAT friend!! Keep posting...good stuff.

    Love you lots!

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  2. Thanks, Jill!! Again - just the right words of encouragement for me. Please keep it up!

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  3. I'm reading right here with ya, friend. Thank you for sharing your story. xoxo

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