Welcome, if you came over from my devotion published today.
I've heard from so many women over the years who long for female friendships, but are generally mistrusting of women. That's a rough place to be. Its like thirsting for a drink, yet fearing you'll drown if you take a sip.
Most of these women's fears were not totally unfounded. Maybe they had friends in the past who turned on them. Maybe they had female family members who took advantage rather than taking care of them. Maybe they've been wronged and hurt by "the other woman." Maybe they've been the other woman themselves.
My own friendship fears were anchored in my life experiences which convinced me: women are not to be trusted. That's why once I entered the Yahweh Sisterhood I had to learn to walk by faith with Christ, and not by my fears or cynicism.
Learning to Embrace Girlfriends
At first, I had to ask God to give me godly friends - I literally prayed for God to send them to me. Then I kept my eyes peeled. They didn't always come in the packages I expected, but they did come. Have you ever prayed for God to send you friends?
My next task was trusting them with my heart. And making space in my life to be with them, and to care about what they are going through. Friendships take time to develop. But the thing is, the quality ones take less time to maintain. A true friend can pick up right where you last left off. I am grateful for friends like that.
And the really big task I had to learn came when they occasionally messed up and hurt my heart - as we all do from time to time. I had to learn to grant them grace and to trust them once again. It's been a great growing experience for me. One that's made me more like Christ. One that I wouldn't trade for anything.
Learning to Prune Friendships
With a small few friends, I came to the realization that I needed to phase them mostly out of my life. Because they weren't fully walking with God and I found they repeatedly pulled me down rather than me helping them grow. Does that make sense?
With them I just slowly distanced myself. I made myself a little less available. And I prayed for God's hand to be all over their heart and mine in the transition. I can honestly say I've not had a big blow up this way. I remain friends with them today. Only in an acquaintance way rather than a close way. (wink)
Now, I'm not saying we can't be friends with anyone less mature in Christ. That's how mentoring and how lifestyle evangelism works after all. The problem was these girls were stagnant at the time, yet having more influence over me than I over them - so neither one of us were growing. I enjoyed their company but it was more of a guilty pleasure and I sensed God leading me to let go. That was hard but ultimately worth it. Listening to God always is.
So friendships can be tricky. Matters of the heart always are. But they are worth the time, effort and prayer. And that comes to you from the heart of someone who once asked the question: Woman...hum, friend or foe?
Where are you right now in this chapter of your life regarding friendships?
Tell me about that in the comments and I will enter you to win a copy of the book It's No Secret: Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know. This book has several chapters that talk about women's friendships and conflicts. Winner will be announced here on Monday (enter your email in the side bar to subscribe to my blog if you need a reminder to check back on Monday).
Have a friend that you treasure? Tell them today how much you value them!