I have been thinking a lot lately. I know that's a scary thing--but sometimes I am lucky and I think of something slightly intelligent--thought most of the time it's just random nothingness.
ANYWAY, my thoughts have been very focused on friendships and relationships. There's been a lot going on in my life lately concerning this subject. Even over the years, I have questioned what a true friend is. This probably stems from the fact that a lot of my friends end up leaving me. Not because of something I did--but more so for circumstances taking them other places. I read in a book once that a woman's biggest fear is abandonment--being left alone. I believe this is so true. In the book, it was talking about men abandoning women--in relationships and marriages. But I have come to think that women are afraid of any type of abandonment. From the men in their lives to their close girl-friends, even to their parents or their own children. We don't want to be left alone. Our hearts were created to be in close fellowship with the people around us. We are the ones who long to build relationships and open up our hearts to the people around us. When we do this, we are showing to the a world a part of God's heart. God opened himself so much.... He showed us his heart so completely--to the point of sending his son to the cross. God put that desire to open up and draw others in close into the hearts of women.But we become so vulnerable when we do this. That's where the Devil puts his hand to the plow.
Because of our desire for openness, we take a chance of being hurt. I know my life is easily manipulated because of my fear of being alone. Because of this fear, I have a very hard time opening up to others. I am afraid that, if someone sees my true self, all they will want to do is run away. I hide behind my shyness--thinking it's better to stay quiet than to say something and have it be rejected or having someone become mad at me because of what I say. How easy it is for me to hole up. I am pretty good at hiding behind my mask. But when you look me in the eye, you'll know something is not right.
There was a friend once, who could look at me, and just know something was wrong. When I was upset or mad or hurt, he'd look right at me--and it was like he could see through that shield I had, right into my pain and my suffering. I haven't decided yet if it was a gift or a curse to have someone who could get so near to my heart without me letting him in. But I do remember the joy I had in my life during that brief summer. Eventually I became comfortable with revealing more and more of my soul as the days went by. Overwhelmed with a happiness and a joy knowing I could open my heart to him and he wouldn't run. Unfortunately, later events took this friend away--and the pain I felt because of that was horrible.
Now why was it so horrible? I mean I had lost friends many times before. I had been betrayed and left alone many times. Why was it so hard losing that certain friendship? Because I had tasted what it was like to have an open heart with someone. It was so small and fleeting--like a vapor. But it left me thirsting for more. To this day, I wish that I had that again.
As I sit writing this, I wonder at why we can't have that type of relationship with everyone--Why is it so hard for us to open up? To share our true feelings? Opinions? Because it's what the Devil wants us to do. He wants us to sit and be quiet. He wants us to let things go unsaid--so that friendships are torn apart. He wants the world to be full of hurt and pain. He wants us to blame God for not giving us the right friends to open to. Ouch. How guilty am I of that! I look at others and scream at God--demanding to know why I can't have a best friend who will stick around. I get mad at him when I am hurt by others... by people that I love so much. Why can't they just see my heart? Do they not understand? Can they not see my actions are motivated by the care and love I have for them? Why do they abuse my friendship and loyalty to them? Why am I pushed off to the side when others are around? Do they not see how much I want to be there for them? Lately, I have been more encouraged by people here at work--whom I have only known a few months--than I am by friends I have known for years. That is so sad to me.
How I long for a friendship that is EQUAL. Where both people can open up and share thoughts and struggles. Where there is respect for opinions. Respect for decisions made. Somewhere where I can open up about EVERYTHING; not just what is fine and dandy.
I admit that I am jealous of those that have a best friend--a bosom friend, if you will. I wish I could have just one person who was there for me. Combined in several friends, I do have this. But to have one friend...who desires to open up and spend time with me as much as I want to with them... it would be a dream. I guess I am just tired of being used only when others need me, of being forgotten or pushed off to the side when something better comes up. I want to be appreciated and loved for being ME! I don't want to toot my own horn saying I am "such an amazing person. Everyone should want to be my friend. I am so good and sweet and kind....". I'm not. I'm a human. I am fleshly. I get mad. I get jealous. I even hate people sometimes. I am a selfish person. But aren't we all?
I have a desire to have better friendships...better relationships with the people in my life. It comes and goes, I must admit. Sometimes I just don't feel like trying. Some days the ghosts of pain and abandonment fill my mind and heart and I don't care anymore. I'd rather be alone. Today, I am feeling that way. Like suddenly I wish I had no friends period. And that feeling--a desire to be alone, scares me. so now, here I am, my true hearts desire concerning friends laid out before you. You may not feel this way, you may have no desire to pursue friendships like these. But I do. I like to deny it, but deep down inside I yearn for it.
So the point of all of this? I am not sure. It's just the things that roll around in my mind and heart. The bottom line is, I think, that I want to seek out what a FRIEND should be. What are we doing wrong? What can we do to better our friendships? To point each other to Christ? How can I truly help the people I care about? Do you not ask these questions of yourself sometimes? I know I do. Do you have a desire to become a better friend-- an encouraging friend--and open friend? I think we do deep inside--even though we would never admit to it. I believe we all need to:
Be honest--Openness with each other...even saying things others don't want to hear.
Encourage others--pointing others to God's promises in the darkest of times.
Pray for one another--lifting up others, interceding on behalf of others, giving praise and thanks to God for things he has done for us.
Support each other--being there to listen, even if it's about something you disagree with.
Exhort each other-to encourage or bring each other up to a higher standard; encourage to live a Godly life.
I believe there is so much more to this mere shadow we call friendship. And once we've dipped our toe in it, we'll realize what we have been missing our whole lives. Our friendships are to reflect our relationship with God--so shouldn't they be stronger? More Godly? If not, is there something hindering our relationships with our Savior?? We need to first examine ourselves-- Am I living a life for Christ? And if so, how can I reflect that in my relationships with others? And then examine our friendships. Are they Godly relationships? Are my friendships hindering my walk with God at all?
My friends, my dear friends--do you not yearn for something deeper? Something more than laughter and good times? More than inside jokes and funny memories? There have been three friendships in my life where my fondest memories of them were of us being radically used or blessed by God. It wasn't the jokes, or the trips, or the overnighters... Not that there weren't jokes and fun times.... but it was the times God stretched us that I remember. It was when we were used for HIS glory--together. It was when we poured out our hearts...and when we confessed our sins to each other and to God. It was the prayer in the bathroom, the worship leading together, it was the devotions, it was the missions trips, and the witnessing downtown.... Those three friends changed my life. There has been none like them.
There is something better for us--something better for me. Can you feel the pull on your heart now? The need... the craving for something more sustaining than just "hanging out"?