I’ve been gearing up to write this post for almost a week now, and the longer I’ve put it off, the more God has been showing me about its importance. I’m not exactly where to begin. God has been revealing to me the importance of true friendships through His Word and the words & actions of my friends so much this week! But I guess I will try to sum this up the best I can.
On Friday, I read Proverbs 27 for my #SheReadsTruth devotional. Two verses grabbed me. “Better is open rebuke than hidden love” & “the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.” These words humbled me and truly made me think about the relationships I invest my time in. Are they earnest? Or am I hiding my love? True love for a friend is wanting the best for them, and that sometimes means telling them the hard truth. The nasty stuff that sucks to talk about. Friends need to be willing to confront one another when they are going down a path that is destructive. I need to be willing to have the awkward conversations that may save someone I love from getting hurt. And, as the prideful person I am, I need to be receptive to the loving rebuke of those who care about me. Earnest friendship is not superficial. It digs down deep to the core. The good and bad.
On Saturday, I had my first InterVarsity small group leaders’ meeting of the semester. Again, this idea of intentionality came up. As we discussed the vision for our groups this semester, we focused a lot on the strong relationship building we want to see. These relationships require time. They require vulnerability. They require challenging each other beyond complacency. My hope is that intentional friendships are born here. That we can ask tough questions, be brutally honest with each other, and encourage each other to show God in everything we do.
The sermon I heard at church on Sunday was on the mission on the church. We focused a lot on relationship-building.
God was really trying to tell me something. But the most powerful ways He spoke to me have occurred in the past 24 hours. God showed it to me.
Last night, I was doing homework with two friends. My friend Dennis asked me a simple question about how something was going. I, surprising myself, answered a honest answer about what I was struggling with. This led into a long conversation where I poured myself out to them about what I’ve been working through the past few months. Pain and brokenness I was too afraid to talk about. Aching that I hid from my friends because I didn’t want to deal with it. But God did want to deal with it. He wants to heal it. God has been challenging me to open up and be honest about these struggles, but I keep fighting Him. My two friends did the best thing they could in the situation. They listened. They listened while I opened up about my pain and confusion and everything I was dealing with. They comforted me as my emotions swirled up and emptied out. They offered me biblical truth that spoke deep into my core. Their friendship to me was apparent in this moment. They were earnest.
This morning, moments before I sat down to type out this post, God showed me intentional friendship yet again. My sweet friend Amy texted me, out of the blue, with this:It literally brought tears to my eyes as I realized how much I needed to read those words in that moment. How much I needed that reminder to be bold today. I texted Amy back with words of gratitude for how necessary her text was. She responded by saying she “had this weird urge to text me that.” God is good. He spoke through Amy to encourage and empower me. He has given me an intentional friend in her. Amy is an earnest friend.
This are only two examples of the many true friends God has placed in my life. They are a reminder of the kind of friend I need to be. I need to be intentional. I need to not be afraid to confront the yucky stuff. I need to love. Genuinely.