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What Christian Friendships Look Like + a few things God has been teaching me (PART 2)



On Tuesday, I published the first post in this series about friendship (if you haven't read it yet, check it out here!) and I am continually grateful for the ways that the Lord is teaching me. My people are so important to me, and I am so passionate about learning to love them well. The way the Lord is working on my heart is so powerful, and I truly just want to share that with you guys.


To recap, in the first post I talked about how we love best when we are filled by the Lord's love, that it's so important to notice the small things and be an initiator, and how to celebrate others. Today, I have three more things the Lord is teaching me about friendship that I can't wait to share with you.


Be an uplifter.

If you leave your friends feeling drained or discouraged, those are not the right people for you to be investing in. But, the same goes for how your friends feel when they leave you. Do you encourage and build your people up, or do you tear them down and drain them? Are you the kind of friend who is a light and a blessing to be around, or do you constantly gossip and suck the life out of a situation? These are hard questions to reflect on about ourselves, but it is so important that we really take a step back and think about the kind of friend we are.


I heard somewhere that we should leave our friends different than when we came, but the key is be intentional about how we leave them. We should be friends who leave our people feeling empowered and uplifted, not drained and discouraged, and we need to be so incredibly careful about the effect we have on our friends.


Application tip:

  • Lift up your friends with compliments, prayer, Scripture, and kind words. Pick one friend today to share an uplifting word with, and reflect on if this is a normal thing for you to do, or if it feels strange to be saying something positive.

  • Notice what kind of words are coming out of your mouth when you spend time with your friends. Are you speaking positively about them, whatever is going on in your life, and the people around you, or are your words full of negativity and gossip? Pray about whatever you find and allow the Lord to convict you.

Pray for and with your people.

I've talked endlessly on the blog about the importance of prayer, and I stand by that completely. Prayer changes things, and it can transform our relationships for the better if we are intentional about seeking the Lord for our people. We are called to pray for our friends and walk alongside them in surrendering and asking the Lord to make mountains move in our friendships. And when we pray for our people, not only do we get to see the Lord work more and more, we get to continue to strengthen our bond with those friends.


I'm also learning the value of praying with our people. I'm learning the power of praying in my small group, with my team, and with my close friends. It's a little bit uncomfortable at first, but I'm telling you, it is one of the most impactful things to come to Jesus, together, and bring Him whatever is on our hearts. This takes practice, and it's something I'm learning about each and every day, but it's something the Lord is continually revealing to me. I truly believe that godly community is a group of people who are intentionally praying together and for each other, and that creates such a strong bond and friendship.


Application tip:

  • Ask your friends how you can pray for them, and then do it. Bring whatever is going on in their life to the Lord for them.

  • If it's appropriate, pray with your friends. Take some time and simply intentionally talk to God together, and see how God uses that to change each of your hearts.

Be vulnerable.

One of the biggest parts of having healthy, strong, real friendships is being vulnerable. If we only show our friends the pretty and put together parts of our lives, then we will never get to experience the closeness that comes with being real and honest about the difficult things we're going through. We must be willing to get a little bit uncomfortable and talk about the struggles we're facing and what the Lord is doing in our hearts, and as we do that, we will be able to experience new growth and new intimacy with our people. This isn't easy, and you can't exactly spill everything on your heart at the beginning of a new friendship, but it should be done wisely and intentionally.


We all have something that we haven't shared openly with anyone. Whether it be a big thing or a small thing, whether it be a sin or a fear or a relationship struggle, we all have something weighing heavy on our hearts. We are called by Christ to mourn with those who mourn and weep with those who weep, but to cultivate a community like that, we must first create a space where we can open up and talk about the hard things.


This also means that we must create a space for other people to open up and talk about hard things with us. This means that we must guard our tongue from gossip, because if we're okay talking about our people to other people, they won't trust us to tell us anything deep. We must be gentle and kind, slow to judgement and quick to love. We must be trustworthy and ask thought-provoking questions, intentional about creating space for purposeful and raw conversations. We must be the kind of person who goes deep and invites other people to go deep, because if we don't, then no one will. And if no one does, then our friendships lack depth and authenticity, and no one finds the real connection we long for.


Application tip:

  • Ask a friend if you can meet up and have a real conversation. Use this time to get something off your chest, if need be. And/or, use this time to get real with the other person and learn about what is really going on in their heart.

 

Friendship is so so so important to each and everyone of us, even if we don't like to admit it or we think we'd rather be alone. God created us to live in community, but that doesn't exactly come easily or naturally, and they definitely don't teach us "how to make quality friends" in school. But the more we seek the Lord, the more He will lead and guide us on how to be a good friend, and how to find good friends. He will give us clarity and guidance - I know this because He's doing the same for me right now.


If you want more resources to learn about friendship, here are a few things that have really encouraged me:


What has God taught you about friendship? What are some qualities that are essential for godly friends and community? Let me know down in the comments below; I love to hear from you!


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