How appropriate that I wrote about friendship earlier this week! The second lesson in our “Redefining Superwoman” Bible study series focused on friendship.
Donna began by talking about the fact that we are who we hang out with. While the words she uses are casual, what she means is the inner circle of friends, the ones we share our hearts and our time with, these friends influence who we are. I can totally testify to this! I can think of a specific example of a work friend who became a very close friend. It wasn’t until after we had a falling out that I realized how much her pessimism and negativity had changed me. I interpreted situations around me differently than I normally would have, I assumed the worst about people when I usually assumed the best, and I gossiped about people more than I ever had before.
Since our friends so heavily influence who we are, Donna offers these points:
1) Choose carefully. You have a choice about with whom you become close friends. This doesn’t mean you can never hang with out other people or you shouldn’t being friendly to everyone; but it does mean you don’t let just anyone be your best friend. Evaluate your close friendships through this grid: a) How does this friendship affect me becoming who God has called me to be? b) When I leave this friend, how do I feel? Refreshed, stressed, discouraged, encouraged, etc?
2) Make a commitment. Begin to build intimacy in your friendship by going deeper than just small talk. This requires
a) honesty and authenticity
b) acceptance of ourselves, as well as our friend – we put ourselves in bondage when we run around constantly asking other if they really love us.
d) willingness to sacrifice
e) perseverance – friendships often start well, but we are all human and at some point we will hurt each other. are we willing to work through that and maintain the friendship?
f) forgiveness – both a willingness to forgive and ask for forgiveness.
Characteristics of a committed relationship, based upon 2 Timothy 1:15-18:
a) be refreshing – you should feel encouraged and stimulated
b) be not ashamed – you have no agenda for your friend other than to be friends and encourage one another
c) search eagerly and find your friend
d) serve – at the season in which you both are living
3) Care consistently – Finish strong, increasing your care for each other regularly forever. You also need to let others care for you.
Donna pointed out that all three of these points should be mutual in the friendship, not just one-sided.
So how does this help us redefine being superwoman? I think we believe we’re supposed to be best friends with everyone, that we’re not supposed to choose “favorites.” But look at Jesus: He chose an inner circle of twelve disciples without alienating everyone else. This is the model we should follow. We can choose wisely and expend the time and energy necessary to build a deep relationship with only a few, rather than everyone we meet. We need to give ourselves permission to do that and relieve the guilt of not being everyone’s best friend.
I’m interested to hear your thoughts and how you manage this in your relationships!
For more posts in this series, click here.