Seasons come and go, and friendships form and end, but they also change. These last few months, I’m reminded of how important friendships are. Growing up, two friends who lived up the street from me were practically the air I breathed. I couldn’t go very long without talking to them, otherwise it felt like something was not right in my life. Over time, we grew apart as I left for college. When I left, we cried. Like, hard ugly cry. You know when you cry so hard that your vision is blurry? To be honest, it’s possible I was the only one crying. With such strong emotions, I’m easily reminded that friends are a gift. Yet, how do we treat our gifts? Do I check in or ignore how the friendship is evolving? Most of us want healthy friendships, and there are a few ways we can maintain those connections that are near and dear to the heart.
We all need friends for various reasons and seasons:
We are blind to our mistakes (Psalm 19:12):
Talking difficult situations over after reflecting on them shines a bright light on the negative feelings, reactions, or character flaws that we may avoid. Only when we are aware of our true situation by talking with friends can we take action on the areas we need to work on as human beings.
But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults.Psalm 19:12
2. Friendships can last, but it takes work (Matthew 26:56, 58):
Even Jesus’ friends deserted him! When we’re scared, it’s too easy to go into fight flight or freeze mode. We stand from afar, looking but not engaging with our dear friend. When Jesus was arrested, his friends fled. They were terrified for their own lives. One of Jesus’s closest friends, Peter, watched from afar:
But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome.Matthew 26:58
In times of isolation and abandonment, we have a choice. We can leave the friendship, or draw closer to the brokenness.
3. Friendships happen with the unlikeliness of people (John 15:15):
When we meet someone and enjoy their company, what is it that attracts you to them? Jesus called his disciples, who were outcasts with no prestige, friends. They followed him wherever he went, serving where he served, eating what he ate, and learning from him. Yet, Jesus – God incarnate – did not call them his servants, but friends. We thrive when we have friends who are vastly different than us.
Seasons come and go, but friendships can stay when we are willing to do the work, stand against our fears, and be with people who are not carbon copies of ourselves.