I need to be a better friend.
I’ve been spoiled for the majority of my adult life so far because I’ve been blessed to grow up with some pretty cool people.
Let me rephrase that.
I was surrounded by dopeness.
I was surrounded by so many talented creatives that are amazing people who also love God. We went to school together, church together and a bunch of us toured as part of a Gospel youth choir for a number of summers.
But we’ve grown up and growing up is different for everyone. Life has happened. We’ve gone away to college, gotten married, had children, moved out of our parents houses, started careers, etc, etc.
We are still dope, we just don’t have proximity to rely on anymore. So it takes planning and effort to get the gang back together. It’s then when I realized how much proximity played a role in my relationships and how effort goes both ways.
If I have to go out of my way to attend an event or to see someone then that friendship is worth the effort. If not, well....
Ouch. I’ve stepped on my own toes with that one.
So clearly I’ve been a bad friend, and as a result of neglect, my circle has decreased year after year.
When you realize what’s happened you try to fix it, but sometimes it’s too little too late, other times your distance was the perfect excuse for them to drop you anyway. This type of lazy friendship isn't exclusive to my childhood relationships. I’ve got God, but even that friendship is often one-sided, in the sense that God gives and I take.
I want God to listen to my wants, my desires, my troubles, and my worries. I want God to make me feel better whenever I am sad, comfort me when I feel alone and give me whatever I ask for because I've asked Him a million times for it. Yet, it's been a struggle to develop good devotional habits and to give God His own dedicated time in my life. On a good day I've been known to spare two minutes.
But God being the ultimate best friend that He is, has been incredibly patient with me. He’s been helping me to be better. He's been strengthening my relationship with Him, which in turn has been helping me to strengthen my relationships with others.
God has been teaching me that communication is the foundation to every strong relationship. So as my prayer life grows, as I dedicate time every day just to spending time with God, reading my Bible and asking for His advice I develop a deeper love for Him. I tell Him what’s going on with me and through His Word I’m encouraged, I can hear how He wants me to move in my life. I thank God for being so good to me.
God’s been teaching me how to spend more time with Him outside of prayer through meditation. He's showed me how to allow myself to be still and think of God’s goodness. He's taught me to be quiet and let what He’s been teaching me to resonate within my spirit. I go to Bible Class to learn more about Him and to fellowship with others who love Him just like I do.
I fast so that I can hear and see God more clearly. I’ve decided to be God’s friend just like He’s a friend to me. When He asks me to volunteer or work in His ministry I do it because I love Him and you do for those you love.
While I've been building and strengthening my relationship with God, He has also helped me to see that I’m not friendly.
I used to be, but proximity made me content, so I didn’t feel like I needed new friends. Also, my friends weren’t perfect and some of them had hurt me. If these friends that I’ve known my whole life could tear me to pieces why would I take a risk on a complete stranger?
Can you say trust issues?
I’m a work in progress and this Christian walk is teaching me that God hasn’t designed us to walk alone. He has given us His Holy Spirit and other Christians to encourage us, to be friends to us as we walk with Him.
We can’t be so closed off and self-sufficient that we fail to be a good friend to someone else. As friends of God, we choose to also befriend His friends.
Think of it this way, if you invite a friend to a party where you already know most of the people there, you expect your friend to be kind and engage with the other people at the party. You've likely brought your friend with you because you know that they would get along with everyone else. God has brought us to the party, now we have to show ourselves friendly.
How are you going to show yourself friendly today?