Written by Joyce Simmons
Who you choose to be your closest friends is one of the most important decisions you will make in the course of your life. You are the same today that you are going to be in five years except for two things: the people with whom you associate and the books you read. The Bible says that if you associate with wise friends you will become wise, but a companion of fools will be destroyed (Proverbs 13:20). You will become like those you associate with!
Why do we need friendships? Friendships include the desire to be known and know others, to give and be given to, to encourage and be encouraged, to have a others, to give and be given to, to encourage and be encouraged, to have an example or be an example and to have someone or be someone to admire and follow.
The ironic part is the very things that make us need these relationships are the same things that can keep us from making friends. We want to be known, but fear the transparency of having someone know us. We want to give, but we fear our giving might be rejected. We want models, but run the risk of them failing us. We want to encourage, but fear possible rejection. Maybe we are better off not taking the risks involved with having, making and keeping friends!
Let’s look at a few misconceptions about friendships:
1. I have family and my relationship with God. That’s all I need. God did not create us to live in isolation. Balanced friendships with other women can strengthen and bring more vitality back into your family rather than deter from it!
2. I don’t want to be a part of another clique. The clique is a clique because only certain individuals are a part of it. Chances are the majority of women feel the same way you do and don’t want or need the approval of a clique. They see past and beyond the peck order and on to real friendship.
3. I have been hurt by friends and I am not going to let that happen again. Any kind of relationship has risks. Well intentioned friends can hurt each other, break a trust or destroy a confidence. As easily as it may happen to you, you may do it to someone else. Hurt, losses from death and relocation are all hard things to bear, but friendships are worth it. On your journey you will find several people who are worth cultivating friendships and it is these you most remember.
4. I find women my age and background boring and negative. Seek friendships with women who are where you want to be. Be a leader not a follower. God may have surprise treasures hidden in the friendships of those you least expect. To find treasure you have to dig for it!
5. I have nothing to offer someone. Philippians 2:4 says, “Each of you should not look to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” You have gone through situations that could benefit others. Offer the little you think you have and God will multiply it.
Friends in your life are like pillars on your porch: Sometimes they hold you up, sometimes they lean on you; sometimes it’s just enough to know they are standing by.
Look at some different types of friends and see what category your friends fall into.
- Brainers stimulate your intellectual growth. If your friends have more knowledge of the latest soap operas than the book of Ephesians watch out.
- Trainers mentor, teach and train. A mentor encourages, strengthens, enlightens, corrects in love and offers help, time and energy to get you to your goal.
- Drainers are friends that sometimes ask too much. When a friend drains you of your emotional, physical and spiritual energy for too long a period watch out.
- Shamers make you feel ashamed because of their knowledge of some sin in your past. You continually seek their approval and determine to keep the relationship alive until you receive it which by the way never happens.
- Framers continually put forth an effort to build strength and character into your life. They are the friends who stick closer than a brother. Ben Johnson wrote, “True happiness consists not in the multitude of friends, but in the worth and choice.”Framers are friends who are loyal not as depicted in this story: Jill: “A journal.”
Linda: What’s in it?
Jill: “I can’t tell you that. A journal is a highly personal and confidential affair. It has important secret dreams and secret yearnings. It’s private. It’s not meant to be shared lightly with other people. And besides, this journal belongs to Jennifer.
Linda: “What’s that you’re reading?”
- Distainers are often the most illogical people that have crossed your path. What a wonderland of friendships awaits us if we just take the time to care and share.
Choose your friends wisely. Make sure they have the qualities, attitudes, goals and character that you wish for yourself.
“Iron sharpens iron; so a (wo)man sharpeneth the countenance of her friend.” Proverbs 27:17
Friendships are an amazing blessing in our lives. Friends should encourage, motivate and challenge you to grow beyond your boundaries. I pray you will find such blessing.