I was talking to a woman the other day about friendships and why they are so important to us all when she made a comment that forced me to stop zipping the coat of my squirmy toddler and really focus.
“I am a horrible judge of character and I just don’t trust my taste in people,” she stated after sharing that she has very few girlfriends.
The emotion that stopped me dead in my tracks was sadness because it was evident that she was held in such bondage by past hurts and it was keeping her from experiencing relationship and community.
And then I reminded myself that not everyone had just finished working through Breaking Free by Beth Moore.
But perhaps we do need a little guidance when it comes to those we seek for friendship?
The Bible tells us that an iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17) but there are many prongs to who we are – one iron cannot possibly sharpen each one.
There are friends I call when I need a good laugh. Those I seek when I need to talk through an issue with a Biblical perspective. Friends who I can share a glass of wine with and ones I know I can depend upon in almost any situation.
But we can’t expect one person to fulfill each of those roles all of the time.
Sometimes we get lucky and find the rare hybrid of a pal that possesses each of these traits but more often than not, we depend on different friends for different reasons.
I recently read something somewhere (how’s that for clarity?) that when we elevate a person to a level that only God can attain, we immediately set the relationship up for failure. Therefore, it is healthy to have different friendships that fulfill different needs.
Merriam-Webster defines “friend” as “one attached to another by affection and esteem” while the word “friendship” is defined as the “state of being friends.”
We can then conclude that this mutually-benefiting relationship is actually the state of “being attached to another person by affection and esteem.”
In other words, love.
The state of loving someone for who they are right at this moment. The state of doing something for a friend without expectations of something in return. The state of having a difficult conversation because you care for them too much to simply let it go and pull-away from the friendship. The state of laughing, the state of tears, the state of just doing life with someone who “gets” you. The state of understanding, the state of grace, the state of knowing when to let it roll off your shoulders and when to intervene. The state of allowing one another to be human.
I have mentioned before that my daughter has a VERY close friend – they are five days apart and can finish each other’s sentences. I asked her what she loves so much about Hannah and she replied,
“She makes me smile and is kind to me when the bullies in our class aren’t nice. Plus, she likes to play puppies.”
Don’t we learn so early?
Friends make us laugh. They are kind to us. They defend us. And they like to play…
Maybe not necessarily “puppies”, but they like to play.
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
– Dr. Seuss
Joining in with the sisters at Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood hosted by Jen at Finding Heaven…