Hope

Authentic Friendships Part 3-A Game Plan

It is crazy to me, that most of us don’t really understand deep, authentic friendships until much later in life. We think we are grown up, and have it all figured out, and then we find out we don’t. Am I right? 

To kind of put a wrap on this three-part series, I wanted to share some ideas on how to choose to trust by choosing to trust. We have to move our feet. There has to be a game plan or an action plan. We cannot just talk about it, pray for it and dream about it. When God gives us the opportunities, we have to take that next step. 

It’s pretty commonly known that women are wired with deep emotional capabilities. That’s how we were created anyway. God made us that way and then something caused us to hide. Whether it was Adam and Eve, or more on top of that down the road through experiences and circumstances we all tend to hide a little bit even in our truest, most safe friendships. 

It is also pretty commonly known that we struggle with insecurity based on comparison and snapshots of someone else’s “great life” that we don’t seem to have, or maybe it is insecurity based on wounds from another person who hurt us in some way

No matter how the hurt originally happened we can choose to change, heal, grow, and kick Satan in the teeth. 

Shannon Swenson

This is a list of the 5 practices to experience change, when it comes to learning to trust God and others with our whole, glorious, messy selves. 

  1. Choose. Choose to change! Drown out the voices in our heads that tell us we cannot or go against the truth of what God has to say and take every thought captive. 

 “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

  1. Connect. Choose to connect. Start serving somewhere, sign up for a Bible study with women, create a Bible study group for women, or meet for coffee.
  2. Confess. Choose to confess. Open up about how weird it feels and share maybe just a little bit from the deepest, most vulnerable part of your soul with a friend that you want to know better or maybe choose to go to a Celebrate Recovery meeting and get into an open share. If you are feeling really, bold (i.e. vulnerable) then go ahead and confess some of that sin and shame you are carrying around. Go ahead and talk about why you absolutely love to spend time with your closest people, but really need to have time to yourself, too. Go ahead and share with someone that you may not say yes, but it sure is nice to be included or invited anyway. It is perfectly okay, as a grown adult-ish woman to say things that help the little girl inside of you be brave!

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for each other that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James 5:16

  1. Commit. Choose to commit. Choose to keep repeating these steps towards change. Keep choosing to commit to yourself that you are going to walk into a community as part of God’s will and plan for your life and that you are going to stop slamming the door on those opportunities. 
  2. Change. Commit to change. While you are at it, go ahead and commit to the fact that God rarely makes it a straight path in learning to trust Him and others. It’s a dance that probably looks a lot like the cha-cha. It is not uncommon for it to be one step forward, and three steps back but commit to the change and commit to being changed from the inside out. 

Maybe it is old news to some of you reading this, but maybe we all need a reminder or a check-up once in a while. Okay, we do. We just do. Okay? Maybe this is something you really want to start praying about and you are ready to jump without that parachute we talked about in part 1 of this series and you are willing to trust the One who will catch us every time we fall. 

Hope

Authentic Friendships Part 2-Mary & Martha

A few days ago, we started talking about female friendships and began a conversation about authentic relationships with a brief look at the friendship of Ruth and Naomi. 

Today, let’s chat about Mary and Martha. I know that we look at this scripture and we compare the differences between the two sisters in how they handled themselves with Jesus in their presence. The end result being basically saying don’t get so wrapped up in the act of serving, instead maintain focus first and the One you are serving. You can read the whole encounter in Luke 10:38-42. 

In looking at these two women, we can see quite a bit about friendships and how easily the comparison game gets started. We can also see why God brings people that have different strengths and weaknesses together for a purpose. Which is exactly how female friendships operate so well, if we let them. 

Think big picture for a second. What Mary and Martha were doing was not bad. It is not wrong to worry and fret about the perfect Pinterest home or meal. Obviously, it is not wrong at all to sit at the feet of Jesus with your finest perfume. One of these things is good, and the other is better. The issue isn’t about the way we do it, it is about the why we do it and for whom we are doing it. 

So, let’s break this down. What are some of the the keys for authentic relationships?

  • True hospitality. Hospitality says, “Come on in the door is open,” when you have dust bunnies in the corners, dog hair on the furniture, and a week of dirty dishes in the sink. When we invite each other into our messy reality without worrying about it, we open the door for grace and the motive to be about the person-not the home the person lives in.
  • Hospitality from the heart says I love you as you are, not as you should be when we are emotionally or spiritually not in our best shape. 
  • Acceptance of each other’s different ways of coping. No judgment, no comparison. Just grace, gratitude and acceptance but too much love to let us camp out in our mess. Authentic friends speak the truth in love and tell us the things we don’t really want to hear, but need to hear. When that’s done, they invite you to stick around and make space for your messiness knowing that one day it will be their turn to receive the same.
  • Authentic friendships point us back to the source first. These friends will say things like, “Have you talked to God about that yet or are you just going to whine about it?” while they have a smile on their face, empathy in their eyes and arms wide open prepared for a hug.

Let’s talk about it: If this is something you are not experiencing, is it possible that the common denominator is you? Is it possible that instead of leaning into community, you are hiding from it in some way or seeing through a lens of comparison and insecurity?