When you see that word or hear it what do you envision? What picture comes to mind? What kind of emotions do you get? Do you laugh, cry, get excited, become frustrated? Do you recall fond memories made throughout the years? Are there things you would like to forget or regret doing or saying?
Do you think about the number of friends you have? How many friends do you need? Does everyone have to be your friend? What is the quality of your friendship? What kind of friends do you have? Better yet what kind of friend are you to others?
www.dictionary.com defines a “Friend” as: A person attached to another by feelings of affection personal regard. A person who gives assistance; a supporter. A person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile. A member of the same nation, party, etc. A person associated with another as a contact on a social-networking Web site like Facebook.
I have friends that fit into each of those categories. I have those that are really close to me. They know my heart and have experienced me on a regular enough basis that know me very well. Our love for each other is like family.
I have those friends that I can depend on in my time of need. I know if I need an encouraging word, accountability, prayer, or assistance with anything else I can call on them and they will help to the best of their ability.
I have those in my life that I may not see often at all but we keep in contact and when we talk it is as if we have been in each others life the entire time.
I have friends I have gone to work, school, and church with that I do not know so personally but none the less I have a caring for them in my heart and enjoy giving and receiving hugs and encouraging words.
I have friends from my youth that I have reconnected with through Facebook. I love it because I have got to be a part of their lives in a small way. I enjoy learning how their lives turned out and seeing the pictures of their beautiful families.
God never intended us to be alone. We all have a need and desire for friendship. I am grateful for every person that has come into my life. Even if it may have only been for a short season.
I want to encourage you today to thank God for your friendships. Pray over each of them. Each one is a unique person, with special gifts that add to your life in some way. Ask God to bless them. Pray for their needs.
If there are people that are difficult to love in your life or there is conflict submit them and the problem to God. Don’t become bitter. Friends hurt friends too, sometimes without even knowing it. Be forgiving! People make mistakes! Do not carry bitterness in your heart towards anyone. I guarantee you it will carry over into other relationships. When possible talk out the issue with your friend and resolve it.
Ask God to remove anyone who should not be in your life and when they leave let them go. Be realistic. You don’t have to be close friends with every single person in your life. It’s not a popularity contest. Don’t deceive yourself that you don’t have friends at all or feel rejected just because there are some who don’t respond to you the way you want them to. Sometimes when we go through issues in life we can feel abandoned and rejected by people we want to reach out to us. That is just not the truth. God places the right people in your life if you simply ask and be open to the gifts they have to pour into your life.
Also remember in any relationship it is give and take. Not just take. While we should give without expecting or demanding anything in return, we can’t be selfish and just expect the other person to cater to all of our needs and not look to see how we can bless them.
Think about it, who wants to give all their energy, love, time, and devotion into someone who does not want to be in your life. It is like fighting against the wind. Wouldn’t it be much more beneficial for you and those friends in your life who need you and what you have to give to use all that and pour it into them?
I also want to encourage you to ask God to reveal to you what kind of friend you are to others. Be ready because you may not like what you hear. I am not saying to go out and talk to every person you know now and ask them what they think about you as a friend. But God can definitely speak to your spirit through a word, an experience with a friendship, and through conviction in your spirit when you are making an error. Just be open to make changes and grow where you can. You can’t be everything to everybody but you can be a blessing to someone.
God lead me to submit each of my friendships to Him at the beginning of this new year, praying for each, and declaring the blessings of God over their lives. The picture above is only a few women whom are like sisters to me. My friends mean the world to me. Some have seen me through various, sometimes challenging, stages of my life. Some are from my youth, others I only recently met, and there are those that are yet to come. Regardless of who they are I love them and thank God for whatever part they have played in my life. I also pray that I have been a blessing to each of them in some way as well and that I continue to be throughout our lives.
With all that said, I would like to honor each of my friends today. I wrote this poem a few years ago using the word of God. Many of them have read it because I usually repost it each year. Thank You Father God for Your plan regarding friendship.
My friend this is a simple poem written just for you.
I hope it helps you understand, at least a little, what you do.
I have sought God about what I should be, as well as, look for in a friend.
& His words are all true is what I have found in the end.
I started in the book of Proverbs where you can find words inspired of God Divine.
I learned there that a friend is one who forgives & seeks love in Proverbs 17:9.
There is the friend that loves at all times & is born as a brother for adversity. Proverbs 17:17.
That is someone who sticks by you even in the hardest of times…You know what I mean?
Then there is also a friend that sticks closer than a brother found in Proverbs 18:24.
My friend, in our case it’s closer than a sister. Please bear with me there’s more.
The Bible does warn us that evil company corrupts good habits so we must be on guard.
Being wise and careful in choosing our friends can sometimes be hard.
We should avoid those prone to anger and perverse talk because it could cause us to do the same.
Instead we should seek out friendships that glorify and honor God’s Holy name.
Proverbs 27:9 describes the counsel of a friend as sweetness.
God’s Word says that giving counsel should be done with meekness.
Iron sharpens iron, so sharpens the countenance of his friend is what God’s Word tells me.
Encouraging, edifying, joyful, patient, forgiving, and loving is what we should be.
We ought to be able to depend on each other through times both good and bad.
Spending time laughing with great joy and weeping together when sad.
Able to trust each other with our burdens and willing to share.
Lifting each other to God in prayer, really showing that we care.
My dear friend and sister in Christ after all my study and research I have found,
That the qualities & characteristics of a true friend in you greatly abound.
So when I pray to my Father in Heaven I can’t help but thank Him for you.
For your friendship has blessed my life richly by all that you do.
There is a season, a time for everything, every activity under heaven according to Ecclesiastes 3. And with all this said I just felt this was the time to tell you what your friendship means to me.
By JulieAnne Hollist
June 11, 2008