I’m sitting out on my balcony this very moment, admiring God’s creation. The tranquil water. Trees laced with morning dew. White flowers blooming atop the lily pads. Birds delighting in the sunshine. (I’m just going to ignore the wasp that is uncomfortably close. Haha.) I see all this goodness God has created. A divine reminder that He is powerful, in control, and sovereign. Nature is my favorite form of worship.
Life has been full of lessons lately. The process of learning has been painful, but the wealth of perspective I have taken with me is valuable. It makes the hard roads traversed so very worth it.
I always enjoy hearing what people are learning in their journey, so I figured I’d share my latest life lessons, in hopes of inspiring you all.
Here’s what I’ve been learning about friendship.
- A true friend uplifts and encourages.
- A true friend is honest and convicting.
- A true friend shows kindness and love.
- A true friend respects and admires your differences.
- A true friend is a joy.
- A true friendship is edifying.
- A true friendship is built on mutual love and respect.
Here’s the thing–no one is perfect. We will all fail at the above list at times. (And that’s where grace comes in.) But our heart should strive to be these things for our friends. When we do fail, it is the perfect opportunity to humble ourselves and make it right. In fact, it is these situations of failing and humbling ourselves that makes friendships grow stronger. Deeper.
Love and respect is a vital ingredient in a fruitful friendship. We often hear of respecting our elders or our parents, but little is talked about in regards to respecting our equals. A friendship built on love and respect will be able to weather difficult times.
Conflict will happen. Perhaps you will be confronted by a friend when they are hurt. Our first instinct is to be defensive. That is natural. But it is all about, how do we let it play out after that? Take James 1:19 for example:
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,
How can we respond in a peace-loving way? How can we empathize with our friends? How can we love them through their love language?
Sometimes, people lack concern for how they’ve hurt you. Sometimes, despite your efforts to bring understanding, they simply don’t want to. That is out of your control. You can’t make people respond kindly. And in such cases, you can’t allow yourself to be mistreated.
Here’s what you can do: forgive.
A couple weeks ago, our pastor was preaching from Matthew 18. One of his statements really stood out to me. He said,
Reconciliation and forgiveness are two different things.
Woah. Never thought of it that way. But so true. Here are reconciliation and forgiveness defined:
Reconciliation: the restoration of friendly relations
Forgiveness: canceling a debt; to let go of anger or resentment
Forgiveness is freeing. It untangles you from the bondage of hurt. It is a deliberate choice. Sometimes we have to simply let go. We should always try to reconcile, but if it is not wanted mutually, all you can do is forgive and move forward. Take the situation as a bounty of lessons and perspective.
Then, move forward in faith. Pray. Be in the Word. Something I’ve been astounded by lately is how personally God shows His love to us. He keeps showing up in my life in big ways lately. God-hug after God-hug. Gentle reminders He is there. That He cares for my weary heart. Comfort in every hour.
In summary, let’s strive to be women who encourage other women. Let’s be peacemakers. Let’s forgive and bask in the freedom and joy that comes from the Lord. Let’s look to Jesus as the ultimate friend. Let’s build all our relationships on love and respect. Let’s ooze warmth and kindness. Let’s radiate light to everyone we encounter. Let’s be contagiously joyful! Let’s be obvious for Jesus! Let’s keep trying, even when we fail. Praise the Lord we serve a God who never will!
Love, light, and joy to you all,