This morning I was talking with a dear friend. It is rare that we get more than a minute or two to talk, but each time we do our conversation goes deep and is filled with encouragement, challenges, laughter and sisterhood. Our common connection? A deep love and pursuit of our Lord.
In our conversation she brought up Proverbs 20:5 and I have been reflecting on it ever since, along with verse 6. It reads; Though good advice lies deep within a person's heart, the wise will draw it out. Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is really faithful?(NLT)
God has been teaching me much over the last few years about relationships.
I have learned…
There are women who have never experienced the warm, loving embrace of a mother. They were never been taught how to have healthy relationships. They have grown up believing they are not worthy of love, so they build walls of protection. They learn to put on a facade, a false front hoping that no one will see the real woman inside.
There are women who have experienced wonderful childhoods, with loving mothers, but somewhere along the way she has been hurt deeply by other women and her friendships with them. She too learns to build a wall of protection and put on a mask. She, along with many, have learned how to be a friend without giving away too much of herself.
There is often a little of both of the above women in us and we fear being hurt and rejected – so the deepest part of who we are remain hidden and few are willing to go beyond the surface to know the real woman inside.
to be honest…
If I go seeking the deep parts of you, then I must also expose the deep parts of me that I have tried so desperately to hide. I have learned to keep those things that really and truly drive me on a daily basis far from reach, making it difficult to discern who I really am. I often try so hard to fit in that I forget to just be myself. I am often afraid you will see the real me and I will be rejected.
But a true friend, a faithful friend, realizes that what she often sees on the surface is not the real me. She will be patient with and works with me to draw out who I really am. She will nurture me along the way, correcting me if necessary. As a friend I will do the same for her, it’s not one sided, but together we plunge the depths of who we are and who God is creating us to be. We will work together to become the women we know that God intends us to be.
God honoring, healthy friends do not always take what we say or do at face value, but truly understand the inner conflict that goes on within all of us. They are willing to see beyond what we were, who we are and see who God is creating us to be. True friendship thrives when, before God, each one is willing to be real, honest, and open about their lives.
Please don't misunderstand. The only way I can be a truly faithful friend, one who seeks the very best God has to offer for my friend, is if I have first developed a deep intimate friendship with my Lord Jesus Christ. He must be lord of my life and lord over the relationship, otherwise there isn't any chance of it being healthy the way He intended.
If God has given you a reliable, faithful friend, and surely he has, hold them close to your heart. Each one is a rare treasure. God is honored in relationships that put Him in the center, and as "iron sharpens iron" they help one another become more Christ-like.