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A Few Hard Lessons About Friendship + what I'm learning from David



Learning to be a good friend and find good friends is an ongoing lesson for all of us, and from the limited experience I have, I'm pretty sure it doesn't get any easier. This has been something I've especially been thinking and praying about recently, and one of my chapters in 2 Samuel spoke to me in a new way.


In 2 Samuel 19, David was in the midst of grieving the loss of his son, Absalom. (I should probably mention that Absalom was not a great guy, considering he raped his sister and was trying to take over his father's kingdom. But, no matter how angry David was, he never stopped loving and protecting Absalom.) While David was grieving, a battle was going on. It was pretty much a David's men versus Absalom's men kind of battle, and David's side won! His troops were celebrating and enjoying the victory, but the moment they heard about David's sorrow, they too began to mourn and grieve.


You see, back in the Old Testament days, loyalty to a king was everything. These people did anything and everything for their king, and usually stayed true to them until they died. They were so heavily dependent on the king, but they also have taught me a few things about friendship.


These troops put David and the things he was going through above themselves and the easy choice they could have made to ignore it and continue celebrating. As a friend, I want to do the same - I want to put my people and their emotions above myself. I want to meet with them in their struggles, mourn with them when they mourn, and celebrate with them when they celebrate.


This is hard. Selfishly, I want my emotions and whatever I'm going through to come first. As I've been thinking about this, the question keeps coming to mind: "How can I balance putting others before myself while still experiencing my own emotions and circumstances? How does that work without me getting burnt out?" Especially if you don't have a community of people who are mutually investing and selflessly serving you, this is hard, and it's something I have to work through often. While I don't have the perfect solution, I do know that we can always, always lean on Jesus to fill us up and pour into us when we're running low. People will come and go, and they will fail us, but we can always count on the Lord to be our strength and source of rest and energy.


And to be completely transparent with you - this is such a challenge for me, one I have to wrestle with almost daily. I so desperately want to be poured into, but sometimes, God puts us in seasons where we have to focus on Him and others more than anything else. It's a part of growth, of humbling, and it's hard, but it's important, and I want to be more intentional about leaning into this challenge. I want to go out of my way to reach out and invest in my people. I want to put their emotions above mine, while leaning into Jesus to be able to do that in a healthy way. I want to celebrate and rejoice with my people, but I also want to grieve and be in that sadness with them as well.



Continuing through 2 Samuel 19, multiple stories are recorded of David being ridiculously and abundantly generous. He shows grace to a man who cursed him out, continues to show kindness to a paralyzed man (who is not only out of his social circle but also from Saul's family), and offers to take care of and provide for an 80 year old man and his servant. Time and time again, David goes above and beyond, loving people who either didn't deserve it or didn't expect it. He gave what he had - wealth, resources, time, the love of God - to go, serve, and pour into the people around him who needed it most. Even if they didn't deserve it, even if it was uncomfortable, even if he felt he had "more important" kingly duties, he made it a priority.


Dang, David, convicting me once again. Because how often do I so easily forgive and let go of the harsh words spoken to me? How often do I step out of my tight knit circle to invest in and love on the people who are desperately in need of it? How often do I sacrifice my time, energy, and resources for people I may not know or particularly like, but who God has called me to love on?


Not as much as I should, that's for sure.


As much as I hate to admit it, the Lord is showing me that oftentimes, we find our community, our people, by being the first one to reach out and pour out ourselves. It often begins with choosing to be selfless and intentional, even when we aren't receiving the same treatment. It often begins with humbling ourselves, because it's easy to be stubborn and want to dish out whatever we feel that person deserves - but that's not what God has called us to do. It begins with clinging oh so tightly to Jesus, because if we let go or loosen our grip, then we are walking a very thin line towards unhealthy relationships.


Trust me - I know it's not easy. I know it's a hard, heart-wrenching thing to do, to pour yourself and sacrifice and love on others when it's not reciprocated. But I also know that God is going to do a beautiful, beautiful thing through the way you love your people. I don't know how exactly, but I have so much faith that God is with us in this struggle and is going to create a masterpiece out of our commitment and trust in Him, even when it's hard.

 

This is something I am working on and praying through myself so so so much. I am such a work in progress, and this is definitely an area that God is working in my heart. But it is my prayer that we, as a community, would be able to heal and learn how to love our people in a way that glorifies God, and in a way that He can use to create our circle.


What are some ways that you are working on loving your people better? What has been particularly difficult about navigating friendships recently? What are you learning? I'd love to hear in the comments down below!

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