A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
I love my friends. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been very social and friendships have meant the world to me. My mother swears she put me in preschool and went to work because I cried every day when we passed the school. I longed to be with the other kids.
I am blessed to have a some very close friends and a great sister whom I adore. I’ve known some of the girls in these pics for more than 30 years! We have laughed together, cried together, celebrated birthdays, thrown showers for each other, attended funerals, and held each other’s hands when words were futile. We’ve been mad at each other, sad at each other, but we’ve forgiven and moved on. Our friendships have weathered the storms of life – divorces, miscarriages, illnesses, job losses and moving out-of-state. Each woman brings out a unique characteristic in me — the big sister, the sister in Christ, the fashionista, the jokester, the foodie and wine lover, the adventurer, the yogi… I pray that I have added to the lives of those around me as they have added to mine.
One of my favorite 80’s rock songs is What You Give by Tesla. Part of the lyrics say, “It’s not whatcha got, it’s what you give; It ain’t the life you choose, it’s the life you live.” (see the video on the right tab) There is some wisdom in those lines. We don’t know what our journey will bring us; it’s certainly not always what we would choose.
It’s so difficult to watch a friend or loved one walk through a trying season, such as an illness or divorce, especially if that person doesn’t fully open up. I try to give good advice when asked, and I’m sure I’ve unintentionally overstepped my bounds at times, but it’s always in love. We all have to remember that each person has his or her own journey to walk. Although we can walk alongside them, love them and support them, we can’t walk it for them. The journey is theirs and theirs alone to complete. We can make ourselves crazy trying to fix other people’s messes. This is where we have to step back and trust God daily or sometimes moment by moment.
James 1:5 says that we are to ask God for wisdom and He will give it to us. Sometimes the answer is not what we want. Periodically it’s time to walk away from a friend who wants your support, but who is travelling down a road that you know is going to end in disaster, and they don’t want to hear the truth. At times we have friends who come in our lives for a season to perhaps fill a certain purpose, and then they are gone. As Madea says, “you gotta let those people go; don’t go running after ’em!”
Just like we spring clean our closets and declutter our homes, there are times when we need to take inventory and ask ourselves if a friendship is healthy. A healthy friendship is one in which you add to each other’s lives. A toxic relationship full of drama is exhausting and steals energy and joy that you can share with someone deserving. If someone is a gossip, they will eventually talk about you. If someone lies to others, they’ll lie to you. If someone struggles with envy and is full of strife, it will soon be aimed at you! Learning to set boundaries is important to your mental and physical well-being, so choose wisely. Proverbs 22:24-25 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.
It’s also important to be open to new friendships and to open your home to others. I’ve made “accidental” friends with ladies in some very unexpected situations, like yoga class, my son’s golf lessons and a plant sale in college. If you are fortunate enough to have great friends, try to remember what it feels like to be the new girl in a group or in town. I moved a year ago, and it is hard to be the new girl on the block. It’s been a lesson to me to be more aware of others who are searching for a connection and longing to be a part of a community.
I cherish these women and look forward to many more adventures with my crazy friends, old and new!
Corinthians 13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.