Friendships. They're funny old things aren't they. I feel blessed to say I have some truly amazing friends, friends & I can be completely myself with without fear of them running away lol! But, I also have a few friendships that I totally struggle with.
Last month I went for a super long prayer walk. Within a few minutes of walking my prayers turned into more of a venting session, moaning to God about a particular friendship that I was struggling with. I listed everything I couldn't stand about my friend, from things I felt she had done recently, to past annoyances. All the offences, irritations & hurts exploded out of my very full heart. As God always does, He lifted my burden, but the other thing He did I wasn't as grateful for. You see, after my prayer vent I could feel The Holy Spirit's gentle conviction on my heart. Aghhh, I was annoyed with my friend but now God had revealed to me where I was going wrong! "No Lord, she's the baddy not me!" Hahaha isn't it funny how clearly we can spot the faults in others yet when it comes to our own flaws we see straight passed them. It reminds me of Matthew 7:3-5
Over the coming days The Holy Spirit began to reveal to me my own flaws & I started to see how judgemental & well, I suppose, un Christlike I had been in this friendship. The un Christeliness didn't come from me disapproving of how my friend was treating me. Absolutely not, just because we're Christians that doesn't mean we no longer feel the hurt or disappointment that comes from being mistreated, but the way I dealt with my emotions was wrong. My heart had turned bitter towards her which in turn, led to resentment & anger.
I'm relived to say that things are now sorted with us & my heart is free & happy again. So, since this little friendship hiccup what have I learnt?
IDENTIFY THE TYPE OF FRIENDSHIP YOU ARE IN.
I really think there are different types of friendships, some become so profound to us that the friendship becomes more of a family bond. Other friendships never go beyond surface level & others are more of a mentorship. I think its important to determine the type of friendships we are in, so as to not cross over expectations. For example I have some friendships where I take on a mentor role, I give out & will happily listen to their problems because I know what type of friendship we are in. I don't expect the same back because I understand the dynamic of our friendship. If we can understand the dynamics of our friendships I think it will leave less chance of us having unreasonable or unrealistic expectancies.
I'm not it any way saying you need to go around putting the friends around you into the categories, e.g Susie is only surface level so we can't go deep together. All I'm saying is that in your heart just know what type of role that friend plays so your expectations aren't disappointed.
GO FOR A MILKSHAKE & CHAT THINGS THROUGH!
I'm sure most men would agree that us ladies have the ability to talk & talk but its funny, when it comes to matters of the heart we sometimes clam up. When issues arise in a friendship we need to be intentional about how we deal with those issues. After praying, the next most important step is to actually have a good old heart to heart ♥. We can't expect our friends to read our minds & ignoring the issues will only intensify them with time. So, go for a milkshake, a coffee, a cocktail whatever it is you like to drink & open up! Ask The Lord to help you to speak with love & grace. If like me, you are emotional it may be an idea to write down some points before meeting up so you can clearly explain your heart without getting caught up in the emotion of things. Also, be sure to listen too. The chances are that if you aren't happy with how things are going your friend isn't either, so be prepared to have to say sorry & make some changes too.
God should be involved in every area of our lives, friendships are no different. Whether the friend is a Christian or not they should still be able to feel your heart for God through the friendship. If the friend isn't a Christian it can be increasingly hard to showcase Christ & not be influenced negatively, this is all the more reason why we need to involve God & stay prayed up! Remember that we are representatives of Christ 24/7.
DON'T GOSSIP ABOUT YOUR FRIEND!
Aghh, isn't it easy to gossip to one friend about another friend! Sometimes we excuse our gossiping as 'opening up' or 'getting advice' but lets be honest, we all know when we are gossiping & nothing good ever comes of it. Of course it's totally different if we are truly opening up to someone in a bid to gain some useful advice but pure idle gossip is a no no. Proverbs 21:23
DON'T FORCE IT!
Sometimes we give & give only to be met by disappointment when our friend doesn't appreciate or even notice our efforts. This can be one of the most frustrating things so sometimes its best to take a step back. If you are the one to always call or text it may be an idea to holla a little less & wait for your friend to put in some effort... If you notice they make no effort its probably an idea to revert to point number 3 & go for a coffee chat to talk things through.
KNOW WHEN TO LET GO!
Some friendships have run their course but because we can't bear to let them go we hang on hoping things will suddenly change but the truth is some friendships won't last forever & thats ok. Just because someone is no longer in your life that doesn't mean they're no longer in your heart, thoughts & prayers.
I hope you caught my heart in this blog post, if you have any tips or advice on friendships please share them below.
Lots of love
Sia ♥ xo