If I’m being honest, looking back I’ve somewhat struggled in the area of friendship. There was a time where I actually didn’t really have any friends, except for my boyfriend, now husband, and my dog. Hard to believe, right? I mean not to toot my own horn or anything that how could I possibly not have any friends at one point?! but if you’ve read my salvation story, you’ll get a glimpse into why.
During this time period, I think I really learned a lot about the importance of friendship. Friendship is so much more than just hanging out on the weekends or calling when you don’t know what to wear. It means after all this time, all these struggles and all the crap that’s went down over the past however many years, you still give a darn. Friendship is being there and intentionally connecting with someone when they have absolutely nothing to give you.
Friendship is being there and intentionally connecting with someone when they have absolutely nothing to give you. Click To Tweet
I’ve moved a lot. Six times in the last four years to be exact. Yep, something I would wish upon no one. With all that moving, obviously came changes in location, a couple times a very large distance in location. Through it all I promised myself I’d stay in touch with my close friends, calling, texting, making a point to visit. As time went on, I realized it was much easier to stay in touch with a couple of my friends and then some others it seemed impossible to connect at all. Some of them I thought were my really close friends at one point, now are almost just acquaintances.
This really bothered me for a while. Why aren’t they getting back to me? Why do they keep cancelling? Why am I the only one who seems to want our friendship to continue? I’ve had to learn the hard lesson that friendship is hard. It takes work, on both ends, from both people. And that work has to be intentional. If it’s not intentional, it’s not going to happen.
Think about it. If you’re studying for a test, you don’t just set the book on your lap and assume your body and mind are going to automatically absorb all of the information and magically you’ll ace the test. No, you have to be intentional, you have to read the chapters, go to class, take notes, make flashcards, practice those flashcards while you run on the treadmill (anyone else study this way in college?!). Anyway, you have to do the work.
Same with being a friend. You have to text them, call and chat, ask how you can be praying, ask to get together for coffee, and obviously there’s so much more to do, but you get the point. You just have to genuinely care. Like take the time and care. If you don’t, well, then maybe you’ll technically still be friends, but how deep will that friendship really be? Surface stuff, like hey how are you? Good, how about you? Good.…and then what?
My friend Tessa told me I was a good friend this past weekend, and honestly from what I gathered the reason she was saying so, was because I was intentional with our relationship. Not that I’ve done anything crazy for this girl. I mean I’ve done the normal friendship-type stuff, but I am there for her, I’m present in our relationship and am consistent with it.
So there lesson 1 – be consistently intentional.
Next lesson. Show up and stick around when things are hard.
And I’m not talking like, oh she’s having a rough day – kind of hard. While that’s a good time to be there for a friend too, I’m talking about the oh she’s having a rough day, week, month, year, yearsssss – type of hard. I’m talking when you don’t even know what to say, you have absolutely no advice to give and you have no clue how to even relate to what they’re going through and pretty much all you can do is sit there and cry with them and just hold their hand through it – kind of hard.
This weekend I literally said to myself, oh man, we need to just stay away from now on, this stuff is just too much for us to handle. And then I heard another, much more wise, voice screaming, no, I’m staying and I’m fighting for my friend. Fighting in that, I’m not running away and I’m gonna be there for them whether I have something encouraging and life-giving to say or if simply my presence and me being there means that they aren’t alone.
Friend, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from the ups and downs of having friends and not having friends, having good friends and having some surfacey friends, it’s that you’re in this together, both of you. If the friendship is one sided and you’re the one doing the work, well unfortunately that might be one of your more surfacey friendships, and all I can say to do in that situation is keep showing up!
If party number two (your friend) is not really willing to do their part all you can do is sigh and continue to do yours. Continue to care, to text and to let them know you’re there and willing to be present if they want it. And if they do, great! If they don’t, well unfortunately it’s their loss that they can’t see what a great friend you are. And who knows, maybe one day they’ll need a good friend like you and will be so blessed that the door of your friendship was kept open and they know they can still count on you to care. The next step is for those that are willing to text back, pick up the phone when you call and make time for you, give those friends your all.
Give, give, give and even when they have nothing to give back, give some more.
I hope you’ll choose your friend over the easy way. I hope you’ll choose to connect with them when times are just dandy and when the times absolutely suck. Because in the end if you have the opportunity to give some encouragement and some life and Truth into that person, it’s never time wasted. We are all missionaries, we don’t have to go on some big, crazy mission trip to help someone in need. We are all called to minister to the people that are right in front of us. Go out there and live that call.
Love you, friend!
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