Friendship without fear

I am so awkward in friendships.

Thank God for the few good friends He’s blessed me with who have stayed through the years and endured my quirkiness!

It’s probably because of childhood experiences that I tend to expect the worse from new friends. I am inept at reading in between the lines. Living in Canada has worsened this because Canadians are so polite and will just avoid you instead of telling you outright that they don’t want to be friends.

To complicate things further, the word “friend” has different meanings these days since the onset of social media, and can vary by culture. So, unless a new friend comes right out and says “Hey, I want to be friends!”, I tend to assume the opposite. Even their attempts at being friendly – reaching out with an email or text, or a casual invite to get together sometime – are met with my questioning their true intentions and assuming the interest is not genuine.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m quite friendly with people I don’t know well, however I’m very awkward when it comes to taking the next steps in growing a friendship relationship. I’ve been praying about this frequently in the last year and God has blessed me with some insight that I want to talk about today.

Yesterday, I finished a study by DaySpring’s (in)courage community called Women of Courage – Friendship on Purpose which was great! It opened my eyes to the cause of my awkwardness in friendship. And it’s this – fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of being judged or misunderstood. Even fear of unintentionally hurting another myself. The study also opened my eyes to Christ’s model for friendship and the freedom there is in being a true friend like He demonstrated. Here are some of the truths I gleaned.

Friendship is a gift from God, so let’s treat it as such.

Our friends are in our lives for a specific purpose – His purpose. So, let’s ask Him what that is and be intentional about doing it. We have responsibilities in our friendships. We are to be open. Sharing our stories of struggle and success helps others to understand how God can work in their lives also. We are to be available. We have to tend our relationships; giving it the time and attention it requires to flourish. We also need to have loads of grace because we live in a busy culture.

Our friends are people entrusted to us.

While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

John 17:12

Jesus guarded his friends. Like Christ, we are to protect ours and encourage them in truth and go to the Father on their behalf.

All that we are blessed with are so that we can bless others.

Our gifts, abilities, passions and material possessions… They are not for our own comfort or to further ourselves or compete with our friends. We are working towards the same goal of furthering the kingdom of God. Help a sister out!

God is our only true BFF.

We are not to go searching for that one person who “gets us”. Who fulfills our need for connection, acceptance and understanding. He does! And He alone is perfect in friendship. He is constant. Our God understands what we need and, satisfied in Him, we see friends as people He’s given us to love, for His glory.

Rooted in God and walking as Christ did, there is such freedom to simply be!

Let’s be people who are firmly planted in God’s perfect love.

And fueled by his love, let’s be faithful friends who love others without fear.

Music is a huge part of my faith walk. I’ll leave you with this song that has been ministering to my heart lately. Until next time…

Joy & Peace, Sister!

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