Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Diving into John 15:12-15 "Friendship"

John 15:12-15 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.


What a powerful verse.  Friendship has been on my mind for the last few days and I've come to learn that when God's laying something on my heart like this I need to study and share it. I was thinking about this verse today while I was sitting in the doctor's office. I pulled some muscles in my back and ended up having to go get some medicine to help. I picked up Blake from school and enjoyed listening to him talk incessantly about this friend and than friend and all the fun things he'd done with them today. I think we can all look back and remember our Junior High/High school years and wish that we had more friends, made different choices in friends or maybe we can all just wish our best "teenage" years would have been different. I can honestly say that I never allowed God to bring the right kind of friends into my life until I was an adult. The sad thing is that when I wanted the right kind of friends, I wasn't ready to be a friend back. I didn't know how to be a friend back. I lost some amazing women in my life because of that. About 8 years ago I sat down and prayed that God would show me how to be a friend. I asked him to break the cycle that had been ingrained into me from a young age about friendship. It didn't happen over night, but it did happen. I had to learn that to have those good close Christian friends you have to BE A FRIEND. To be a friend you have to be willing to become: 

  • constant
  • kind and caring
  • giving
  • emotionally, physically and mentally available
  • willing to get calls at 2 a.m. or 2 p.m.  
  • love your friends as Christ loves you
  • Forgiveness!!!!!
  • Acceptance
  • selflessness
I love that God says in that verse that a servant doesn't know what the master is doing, but a friend does. I don't divulge all my deep dark hurts and problems to a stranger. I don't do that even with a new friend. It usually takes time and patience to really become intimate enough with a friend to start opening up those areas that plague us doesn't it. The word "servant" also struck me in a weird way. In this verse I understand that word, but trying to apply it to friendships kind of left me speechless. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks.... Do we sometimes treat our friends like servants? Expecting them to 'KNOW" when we need them and then getting offended when they don't just "KNOW" it. Maybe we get offended when they have other friends and we aren't their ONLY commitment? As if we own them and they aren't allowed to work anywhere but here. Do we expect them to open up to us but we keep them at arms distance when it comes to our life? I'm honest enough to say that I've struggled with ALL of those areas. When God would bring someone into my life that I connected with I wanted to hang on to them so tightly. I wanted to be their ONLY friend and I wanted them to be available for me and ONLY me. I felt slighted when they wouldn't open up to me but I wasn't willing to open up to them. I wasn't willing to invest my ALL into our friendship but I expected them to. I had to learn a lesson the hard way once that God had brought someone into my life for THEIR need and not mine. I was meant to love on them, teach them, enjoy them and be a friend for THEM. It had nothing to do with me at all.  

I also learned that sometimes friendships have seasons. During those seasons things can change just as drastically as Summer changes into Winter. Sometimes I might be going through something and really need to rely on my friends to support me, love me unconditionally and really be okay to give their time and energy to me. Other times I need to be sensitive to their season. I have to be supportive, love unconditionally and open to give them my energy and time. Other seasons may bring a sunshine filled day with a beautiful spring breeze. Days of lunch dates and tea times. Lazy afternoons at the park letting the kids play and laughing together about "those darn hubby's and what they did this time". :) What I'm getting at is I had to learn that God didn't place people into my life to be my emotional slave. They aren't there to pick up my mess, listen to all my gripes and complaints or be worn down to nothing by my problems. We all need to GIVE more than we TAKE. We all have to understand that there may be a season that both your friend and yourself are going through something and it may be hard for you both to be emotionally available to the other. If that season should arise, I feel like God has instilled into each of us the strength to fight for the other one. Intercede for their needs.
I just love this verse:
       God comforts us whenever we suffer. That is why whenever other people suffer, we are able to 
         comfort them by using the same comfort we have received from God. (2 Corinthians 1:24)

God blesses us when we bless others. Even our friends. Especially our friends. Those who he's put into our lives for a purpose to bless us, we are responsible to bless them as well. It makes me sad to look back at those friendships in the past that I let die because I didn't know how to be a friend back. I've even sent out a few cards to those people expressing my honest apology and sincere gratitude toward them for putting up with me as long as they did. Apologies and forgiveness are almost as necessary in a friendship as love.
God has become my best friend, my daddy and my Lord over the years. He's always there for me, and I've learned to make time in my "busy" schedule to be there with Him too. Sometimes I find myself driving down the road just talking to Him. As if there is someone sitting in the passanger seat beside me and I'm sure other cars look at me and think I'm a complete weirdo. Learning how he is a friend to me has taught me how to be a friend to others. It has taught me how unconditional my time should be to them (within reason) and how supportive and loving my attitude should be. Learning how to continue being sensitive to the needs of my friends, love them for who they are, bless them however I can and thank them for being in my life. We should really stop to think sometimes about all it takes for someone else to deal with us. I know sometimes I tend to withdrawal, I am crabby and demanding, and at other times completely and totally loving and giving. My friends have to love me through all those times just as I have to love them. I think I owe my friends the biggest THANK YOU in life.

I have learned through many years of "being a friend first" that sometimes God will put people into your life for a season. During that season you may find that God has allowed them into your life to teach you a lesson. Maybe you need to learn patience, selflessness, giving WITHOUT receiving, or just to plain drive you nuts. But.... God has instructed us to LOVE at ALL times, and that's what we must do. Even when it's hard and we don't "feel" like it. I know I'm unlovable at times, and God continues to love me despite my worthiness.

So, I'll leave you all with this thought and one of my favorite verses about friendship:

Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

Thank you all for spending time at Jesus' Feet with me tonight. I hope that you take time to pray over your friends, share with them how grateful you are for them, and even do something special to just bless them this week. I'm sorry if it seemed I rambled on at times. Thank you all for being special friends in my life. I enjoy EVERYTHING that each of you bring in your own way. I love our friendship and the motivation, inspiration, direction and Christian influence that each of you give to me. Most of all I Thank you for loving me despite all my quirks, being there for me, and teaching me how to be a friend. I wouldn't trade any of our friendships for all the money in the world. You each bless me every single day and I know that I don't say it enough, but I love you all!!!!

Check back tomorrow as our Journey at Jesus' Feet leads us to study Psalm 28:7  "Trusting the Lord". 

Lots of Love,
Brook

3 comments:

  1. I'm going to enjoy and learn from this journey with you Brook! Your teaching on friendship is so important. Hard to do sometimes when we are so busy and wrapped up in our lives! Look forward to the next subject... 'Trust in the Lord'. xo

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  2. I agree my friend. Sometimes we tend to get wrapped up in "Life" and sometimes "Life" just slaps us upside the head when we least expect it. I think though when we are a true friend, our friends understand that and therefore we can rest in the knowledge that they are praying us through that patch of "LIFE". Thanks for joining me my sister. God's showing me so much doing these blogs and I sure hope that it brings us all to a new level of understanding what God can do when we sit at His feet and listen.
    I love you- xoxo

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  3. Brook, you are a beautiful person with an even more beautiful spirit. I have been gifted with getting to watch you grow and learn to love yourself as well as others. This blog proves it. I thank you for letting me watch some of your journey. We may be hundreds of miles away from each other, but you are on my mind daily with memories of your laughter and sharing. You have helped me be a better person and I can only hope that I have given you something in return. May you allow God to continue to mold and shape you into the masterpiece that is unique and priceless that is known only as Brook-Daughter of the One that is Most High!

    And, I mean it from my heart when I say this: "I love you!"

    Tari

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