Hope

Authentic Friendships Part 1-Ruth & Naomi

God created women to be highly emotional individuals with big feelings and a brain that never shuts off. It’s a thing. You cannot convince me otherwise. 

Because of this, I think we often have a miswired brain or past experiences that make it difficult to trust other women with our real selves. It takes a lot of intentional effort to learn how to trust ourselves let alone other females. I don’t know why this is, but I have theories. Lots of theories. 

Funny that God has the answers to all of the problems. He created us to be in community so as often as we attempt to shy away from it-hide from it even-He keeps reminding us that the only way to learn to trust is to trust. It can feel like jumping out of a plane with no parachute. 

If we cannot trust Him, then who can we trust? How can I not trust someone that gave His very life for me? Some days, simply because I am stubborn and afraid.

I think about authentic friendships in the Bible and who are some great examples of authentic friendships we can talk about.

Let’s talk about Ruth and Naomi for starters. There’s a lot to unpack in their relationship. The short version of their story is this: Ruth marries Naomi’s son, he dies, Naomi tells Ruth to go back to her people, Ruth says she wants to stay with Naomi, they build a relationship stronger than mother-in-law/daughter, and they help each other overcome challenges and celebrate each other’s good fortune. 

The short, but powerful, piece of the whole story most commonly known is probably Ruth 1:16. 

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”

From the story of Ruth and Naomi we can learn at least three big things.  

  1. True friendship is other-focused more than me-focused. Their entire friendship started off with grief. Through the grief, they bond and Ruth sacrifices her time and effort out of love and concern for Naomi. 
  2. True friendship breaks boundaries of all sorts of differences. These two women were of different ages, races and religions but somehow built an enduring friendship by setting their differences aside and supporting each other in good times and bad. 
  3. True friendship brings us closer to God. Naomi is having a rough go of it and she still shared the love of God with Ruth. She ultimately led Ruth to Him whether she intended to or not. 

So how does this apply to you and I today? It applies to the transparent, soul-bearing, praise-lifting friendships that God wants us to have with our selected few. Our tribe. Our people. 

Learning to trust each other means setting down our own insecurities and sometimes selfish wants and needs. Sometimes we just need a good friend to sit in the corner and hold us while we cry and complain and moan about whatever hard thing we are dealing with. Sometimes that takes sacrifice and time that we did not necessarily have carved into our calendar. It’s what we do! Kindness cultivates kindness. Snot crying cultivates snot crying. Praise-raising creates praise-raising. 

Authentic friendships require us setting down the differences in experiences and life choices to see each other as beloved daughters of the King. These women have been divinely placed in our lives to help in the transformational change that can happen when we choose to be in community. These sisters are in our lives for a reason!

Real friendships not only bring us closer to each other, but closer to God. The real-deal sisters in my life will snot cry with me, bring shovels or bail money if needed, and will celebrate with me when the chains of insecurity, broken heart, disappointment, self-loathing (INSERT YOUR BIG ISSUE HERE) are loosened and finally broken. How do I know? I decided to choose to learn to trust. I jumped without a parachute, and at moments I thought I was going to die, but here I am. 

My prayer for you is that you have at least a couple of quality, authentic, God-centered friendships that God intended for all of us to have. 

If you have them, celebrate them! Reach out and tell them you love them just because. If you have not experienced this yet, what or who is holding you back?

Authentic Friendships Part 2 in the works!

Imperfect flowers, just like imperfect people are still beautiful!
Hope, Keeping it Real

Daring to….

Anyone out there get older and more experienced in life and forget that it is okay to dream? I know I have. 

How about forgetting how to laugh and be silly and free? Yep, me too. 

I think as we learn to adult and handle more crap, that we sometimes forget that it is okay to be a whole person. To be a healthier person, as it turns out, requires us to be a whole person. One that is bold enough to dream, vulnerable enough to cry and be authentic without fear of judgement of our inappropriate thoughts or behaviors at times. Now, I am talking about harmless and silly behavior, not radically not okay behavior so don’t come at me. 

When was the last time you dared to dream? When was the last time you spent wasting time doing exactly whatever you wanted that brings you joy, laughter, levity and stories that will one day be told at your memorial service? What are the embarrassing but worth it moments that you and your people still laugh about today? 

What have you tried to do that you have always been afraid to do. What kind of food have you tried? What places have you visited that were always on your list of “some day” that you finally got to see or experience? 

I will tell you one of mine: I recently learned that I actually like green olives. Random, I know. But I would not have discovered it if I hadn’t chosen to spend time with my best friend over a nice dinner cooked at home in the middle-end-whatever it is quarantine. The first time I dared to go outside the rules and just live for a minute. Can I get an amen? 

With other close friends and the willingness to be brave and laugh with each other: I have learned that one dear friend invested in some sort of contraption that you roll on your legs to minimize cellulite. I don’t know if it works or not, but the laughter in that conversation sure made it worth the cost, I am sure. For both of us. 

We can laugh about eyebrow waxing disasters, the challenges of plucking hairs from your face that should not be there without being able to see what you are plucking, and all of the times we snorted, laughed and were afraid to share because we thought we would sound ridiculous. We can talk about food discoveries, travel discoveries, and dream discoveries, too. 

People, we know that there are all sorts of other more serious and emotionally-charged topics we can dare to dream about it or ponder and conversate on. For just a little minute, can we chat about laughter and silliness and things that make you giggle? 

Your turn! What are some of your silliest or funniest moments and memories connected to daring to dream and laugh and be whole? Care to share?