Are you a Ya-Ya? God is so funny. I was sitting here contemplating on my next blog…and it boiled down to two topics…focus and friends. So I had a short discussion with Him and said, “show me a sign and that is what I will blog.” Sure enough He did! Just a few minutes later a dear, highly respected friend and mentor to many, placed this photo on social media and here you have it…Friends.
I look at friends as our chosen family. They love us because of who we are, not because we are family and they feel obligated. They have our backs. They laugh with us, cry with us, shop with us, eat with us…all the ‘with us’ you can think of! You can go weeks and months without talking to them and when you do catch up, it is as if you were just together yesterday.
Can we say that? Would you lay down your life for your friends? Or just one friend?
One of my favorite stories in the Bible reflecting this love is the friendship between Naomi and Ruth. Wow! Not only were they family, but the love that Ruth shows Naomi is like none other. It is expressed in Ruth 1:16,17 when Ruth says, “Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; For where you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die; and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If ANYTHING but death parts you and me.” Her love was not only given to Naomi because she was her mother-in-law, but as a friend who promises to never leave her.
Ruth was willing to leave everything to stay by the side of Naomi. That is a friendship beyond measure. It says that Ruth ‘clung’ to Naomi. In a book I read called “Grown-Up Girlfriends” by Erin Smalley and Carrie Oliver, it encourages us to pray for God’s purpose in each friendship we have. You never know how God is using you to bring comfort, encouragement and companionship to someone who is lonely, hurt or confused. This was the case for Naomi and Ruth. Ruth allowed God to use her, to leave all she knew, to give that support to Naomi at her time of loss. Even though Ruth was suffering the loss of her husband, Naomi’s son, the comfort she gave Naomi as a true friend, was allowing healing in herself as well. Who can you pray for today that God may use you to intercede?
What kind of friends do you have? New, old, best, spiritual, at work, in sports, through email? Do they challenge you or hold you back? Cheer you up or drag you down? How do you know? Where do they all fit in?
“Grown-Up Girlfriends” suggests this: Baskets. Place your friends in three baskets. Acquaintances (know by name, cashiers/waitress, share facts); Good friends (share common interests, share concerns); Know-it-Alls (share intimate conversations from your heart and soul, higher trust level, committed, closest) As you place them in a basket, realize that very few will end up in the Know-it-All basket. It’s usually limited to 1-4 individuals. (We are created to love everyone, but that does not mean that we share intimately with them all.) Also realize that they may not place you in the same basket as you would place them. Then ask yourself…am I a Know-it-All to anyone? If not, what can I do to become a better friend? I suggest you follow closely to what Jesus did…He is the best example of a true friend! (Hint: He is an excellent listener)
If you do question whether you are a good friend, ask yourself what can you do to be a better friend? Or make new friends? What has stopped you in the past from having good girlfriends? Are you hurting from a past relationship that caused you to just cut off every one of your friends? Was your trust compromised? Did gossip cause you to stop sharing intimately with anyone? (It is stated that 65% of social conversation is gossip!) There are so many reasons why you may not have many friends…only you can dig deep and find the answer. Find someone you can share with, someone you can trust, and start your way on a path of great lifelong friendships!
Where do you find these friends? Join a bible study, a book club, sports activities, become involved in school activities with the kids, volunteer, join a gym…there are many ways to get out and meet people. In the book, “If You Ever Needed Friends, It’s Now” by Leslie Parrott, she quotes that the average person comes in contact with 500-2500 people in ONE YEAR! There has got to be someone out there looking for a friend! Pray about it. God is just waiting to hear from you so He can bring your paths to cross!
I am so thankful for the many friends I have had throughout my life. I am still ‘good’ friends with many of the gals from my school days. (Thanks to social media it makes it a lot easier to stay in touch) I have several family members I would consider good friends, and a handful I would say are my Know-it-All friends. I have friends that fall into the category of ‘haven’t seen in over a year, but act like we just had lunch yesterday” when we finally do make time to share. I belong to a Leadership group that I have made many new friends with and we all share many of the same interests. I have great mentors that have taught me trust and mercy. I have friends through church. The list can go on and on. Being without friends is not healthy for our soul. It is said that not having close friends is as detrimental to your health as smoking! Women need good women companionship. Just ask God. He seen it from the start in the garden! He describes Adams role in terms of work, yet Eve is explained in terms of relationship! We were created to be friends!
I strongly encourage you to read the book, “Grown-Up Girlfriends”. It truly breaks down the importance of friendships and why God created us to be a friend and to have friends. His example of unconditional love is the key to true friendship. You can find the book on the following website: http://www.brendahatcheronlife.com (Click on books/friends) Enjoy the friendship journey! Grab some ladies and form a book club. Discover the art of friendship together!
Please take a minute and share in the comments below a friend you remember…and why did they impact your life the way they did. I can’t wait to read your responses!
Go be the best friend you can be to as many people as God brings into your life. Be a Ya-Ya!!!
Because of Him…