Last night, I returned home from a weekend in Atlanta, GA. Several ladies from Slidell got together and went to a Women of Faith (WOF) conference. I knew about half of the ladies really well and the other half, not quite as well. I was friends with all of them, though, which made the anticipation of the weekend that much more fun.
Last week was a busy week for all of us. If you read last week's blog, you know public school started in our area last week and many of the ladies who went to the conference with us have kids in public schools. Some have kids who will start this week. One had been out of town all week and met us up there. A few had just recently accepted the invitation when others who had previously prepared to go had to back out. Needless to say, there was a good bit of hustle and bustle last week trying to get ready to leave. It's rather ironic to start a trip fatigued. :)
Most of us met at our church on Friday morning and we left at 8am. We had a 7 1/2 hr trip ahead of us, and traveling to Atlanta, we lost an hour. For me, the time spent with my friends outside of the actual conference was just as enlightening as time spent at the conference and even more enjoyable. Don't get me wrong, the WOF conference was wonderful and in between time of wiping the tears from my face, I was scribbling notes on all the great points they were making. I'm not sure if I had more tears from crying or from laughing. But, if you have any good friends, you know that time with them is so special.
Do you remember your early friends? I remember my first friend. I didn't know at the time she was my first friend, but I remember her. I remember my first good friend in the neighborhood where I grew up. Then there's my childhood best friend, the close friends in jr high, the friends in high school. I can call them all by name - I remember many of their pets, their siblings and their parents. I remember the nicknames we had for each other, the laughter we shared, the sleepovers, the boyfriends. During that time and as I have grown older, friendships between girls changed. I began to see and feel the jealousy, the competition, the comparing, the gossip. Why is it that one of the most special relationships God gave us is so easily twisted into something that brings out the worst in us? Here are a few things that the Bible says about friendship - and there is SO MUCH more about it in there.
" Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul." - Proverbs 27:9
" Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down." - Romans 12:14
"If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if His love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care - then do me a favor; Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand." - Philippians 2:1-4
(All verses from The Message)
I don't see anywhere that it says, "be jealous of the life your friend has, compare yourself with her and try to keep up with all she has accumulated, talk about your friends when they are having challenges, jockey for friendship positions with those with whom you share mutual friends, belittle the accomplishments of your friends..." And, while we wouldn't want to admit it, don't those challenges like to creep up in our lives? Why do we insist on comparing ourselves with other women instead of recognizing we are all unique? Why is it so easy to find ourselves jealous over the good big and little things in the lives of our friends instead of being happy for them? Why do we have to share in the gossip? Compete in every way possible? WHY!?! God gave us friends! He created friendship! The Bible even talks about being friends with God. We read how God walked with Adam, His first human creation. God created us for relationship with Him and gave us relationships on earth.
Why can't we just be happy and thrive in our friendships?
I enjoyed my weekend so much! I loved spending time with them over lunch on the way up, hearing stories from their past. It was so much fun sitting on the floor of the hotel room eating a quick dinner (that was brought to us by friends who already lived in Atlanta). It was hilarious to be frantically searching for the brownies that some of them KNEW I was coming back to their room to get - only to find out they had hidden them from me...they only let me miss the brownies about 15 minutes before they confessed and we all had a good laugh...at my expense! :) Sharing worship in an arena, running to get refills on Sodas together and sharing the bottomless popcorn bucket together, laughing together, crying together, passing tissues and gum and pens. Then on the way home, laughing because the girl in the back couldn't understand the girl in the front and we all kept misunderstanding each other - "She doesn't like gummies?" "What?! Who was talking about gummies!!!" As I type, I smile at all we thought someone else said that was NOTHING EVEN REMOTELY CLOSE to what was said. hahaha!!
Be honest - don't you want a BFF?? Isn't it a great feeling when someone calls you her BFF? Let's make an effort to be the kind of friend we long to have. It is an effort...and that's ok. Friendship is worth it!
As Max Lucado says in his book A Gentle Thunder, "Each ife is a book, not to be read, but a story to be written." As you are writing the story of your life, don't forget to "write" the memorable moments with your friends! Take time to make good friends...put in the effort to be a good friend. Make time for them...do things together. And when you have some good friends, don't let them forget what they mean to you!
I hope you know the blessings of true friends!
"Greater love hath no man than this, than a man lay down his life for a friend." King James Translation"There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends." New Living Translation"This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends." The Message Translation
Thanks for being you -
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