Picking up the phone, sending that text, inviting someone over, letting someone stay the night, listening, being honest, forgiving. Those are things that build relationships.
But offense… Offense is the one things that can destroy and unravel relationships. Offense is no respecter of relationship. Offense can affect our friendships, marriage, workplace, extended family, and even church.
It creates separation and causes us to think the worse of people. It leads us to notice the bad instead of the good. When offense starts to creep in, our thoughts get clouded and soon we feel lonely, isolated, left out, and at it’s worse, entitled.
How about we flip the switch on offense? Let’s stop to think of the last time we took the first step. Or expressed how we truly felt. Or the last time we showed up for others in ways we long for others to show up for us.
You know, the cure to mend a broken relationship is to say no to offense. To do the opposite of what it’s whispering in our ear. To do the thing that feels least natural to our flesh and most freeing to our soul.
When I’m in the thick of it and my mind is out of control, God’s Spirit intervenes and reminds me to be the peacemaker, the hospitable friend, the listener, the gatherer, the one that’s quick to forgive.
Is there someone that comes to mind while reading this? Do you need to let them off the hook? Do you need to start noticing the good versus the bad? Do you need to let your pride down and make the call? Do you need to show up for them today?
Download the artwork below, Not Today, and feel free to share on your social media accounts. There are two sizes to choose from, square and vertical. Tag me if you use them, I’d love to see them on your feeds 🙂
Friendships are difficult to nurture and cultivate. In all honesty, the area in my life that I’m constantly thinking about, trying to make better, and evaluating is the area of friendship.
Today, on #NationalBestFriendDay, I’m just going to share questions I’ve had myself (and even googled lol) about friendship and what I believe God’s truth tells us about them. Alrighty, here it goes…
1. Should I “break up” with a toxic friend?
I guess it depends what we consider toxic. Personally, I believe someone is toxic when they steer you in the wrong direction. When you feel like you have to compromise who you are around them. I also believe toxic friends are people considered “frienemies”. Also known as people who act nice but behind closed doors hurt their friends (gossip, slander, rival, covet, envy, etc) or use them for selfish ambition (See James 3:16).
I’ve come to the conclusion, that YES, I should break up with these people. If they lead me away from Jesus, if I feel comfortable doing the wrong stuff around them, if there’s clear indication that they’re envious or deceitful, then it’s time to “break up”.
When I think of what Jesus came to earth to give us–freedom, abundance, life–none of the above things equal that.
Which leads perfectly to…
2. How do I deal with comparison, competition, and jealousy amongst my friends?
Keeping the last question in mind, sometimes they’re just going through their own struggles in life. We live in a world that tells us we need to keep up, we need to be better, we need to have it all.
I’ve come to terms with the reality that only God knows people’s true intentions. So if I’m on the receiving end of comparison or competition or jealousy and this person is a good friend and is simply going through a personal struggle, I will give them the benefit of the doubt. I will try to find out what’s going on in their life. I won’t make assumptions.
3. Friends, best friends, close friends, what is the difference?! And why is it such a big deal?
I think we’re called to love everyone. No, we won’t have intimate relationships with everyone. And some relationships change with time. I truly want to avoid putting people in categories. I do it all the time and it’s just not healthy. If you’re my friend and I’m yours there’s no further validation needed. I will be there for you. I will love you. I will be there for the good and bad. We’re called to love our neighbor. Regardless of how close or not we are to them. (See John 13:34).
4. Why is this person pushing me away?
I’ve noticed that the people I push away or avoid are always the people that bring the most wisdom and value to my life. They are the ones that give me tough love. They are the people who give it to me how it is. They are the people who aren’t afraid to call me out and stretch me.
Why are we so weird? I heard this great line in a movie the other day. The lead character said, “when you see certain people, you just can’t pretend anymore. Because they know you. The real you. And maybe that’s why you avoided seeing them for so long”.
I’ve totally been there. And I’ve also been the neglected friend. Both sides suck. And can really damage a relationship. BUT, it’s never too late to make things right. As children of God, we are called to be reconcilers. Not grudge keepers. (See Ephesians 4:32. Also here’s a great passage to determine HOW to do reconcile the right way: Matthew 18: 15-17).
5. Why am I being rejected and left out?
When this thought pops into my head, I’ll be honest, I’ll let it linger and linger and linger. But every time I bring this to God he reminds me that those thoughts are lies. I am NOT rejected or left out. He has already picked me, made me worthy, accepted me, and I am loved by Him (See Ephesians 1:4-6).
In bringing this to God, I usually feel the Holy Spirit ask me why I so desperately need to be accepted and recognized by people? It’s good to feel loved and known by others. But it shouldn’t be something we depend on.
We won’t always be friends with the people we think we “should” be friends with. We won’t always be accepted by people. We won’t always “mesh” with the group of people we long to connect with. But we can rest assured that God knows who we need in our lives. And He is directing our steps towards the right people (See Proverbs 16:9).
Well, that’s all for now
That was a lot, actually. And if you got to this point, THANK YOU SO MUCH for reading all of it. And I hope you’re encouraged. And since today is #nationalbestfriendday, why don’t you send this to ALL your friends. Or simply let them know you care.
Let’s stop for a minute and think. Our lives revolve around interacting with other people. Some people we like and others we don’t. Some interactions are good and others are not so good. I wish all the relationships in my life were pleasant and easy. The reality is that relationships, whether it’s your marriage or a friendship, take effort. And whether we like to admit it or not, our relationships matter and mold who we are.
The effort we put into our relationships will influence the course of our lives. The people we meet, the people we love, the people we encounter, our relationships with them can lead to marriage, lifelong friendships, and even our dream job.
According to God’s word, loving God and loving people is our greatest calling. If it’s important to God then it should be important to us. And if we do all things through love for him and others, then our relationships and life will be a whole lot rewarding and meaningful.
Deep down inside, even us introverts, long to build lasting and deep relationships. Even when we have a billion walls up to protect us, we long for fulfilling relationships.
Being married, losing friendships, and leading others have taught me that to build lasting relationships we gotta:
Be consistent I’m convinced that consistency is the substance that makes up success. When we are consistent we exude trust, reliability, and legitimacy. How can a person who’s late and unreliable keep a job or get a promotion? The same goes for our friendships, marriages, and people we mentor. We have to be there for the people in our lives, in the good and the bad. It’s pretty sad when I realize that I tend to push people away when things get messy. If we study Christ’s attitude towards His relationships, we see His dedication, consistency, and involvement. He was always present, always encouraging, and always showed up.
Show Grace Stepping out to be Jesus’ hands and feet at times can cause us to feel helplessness, discouraged or even downright angry. When we are there for people we see the stuff we wish we didn’t. We encounter people’s hang ups and faults. There’s one thing that gives us the strength and courage to keep building our relationships when they get sticky. It’s called grace. When I got engaged I wish I would’ve known that grace was something I was going to need more than ever. If marriage has taught me anything, it’s taught me that grace goes a long way. It actually is what sustains a relationship. Grace tells me to care and love my husband even when he has offended or hurt me. Grace tells me to reach out to a friend who is being distant even if it means disposing of my pride. Grace tells me to stop being so hard on myself when the fish I “cooked” tastes like crap.
P.S. My cooking has gotten a lot better 😉
Be Vulnerable The glue that binds it all together is vulnerability. When I hear the word vulnerability the first things that come to mind are exposure and fear. But vulnerability isn’t meant to expose us in a way that’s detrimental. If we lose the fear of being rejected, isolated, or judged, we are open to vulnerability. And when we are vulnerable with the people we love, meaning we are unafraid to show all of who we are, we can show grace when it’s hard and we can be consistent in their lives. The times I’ve been the most vulnerable, in my career or with my husband or with God, have lead to a total “vulnerability hangover”. Have you ever experienced that? I start questioning myself: “Was I too honest, too outspoken, too open, too caring, too loving? Will letting down this wall make me seem weak?” But looking back it’s those moments that have forged relationships, opportunities and have opened doors of success.
To learn more about vulnerability, connection, and letting go of fear, I highly recommend reading Brené Browns,Daring Greatly. It has been an extreme blessing in my life!
What have you learned from past and present relationships about building lasting connections?
What is one practical way you can build your most valued relationships today?
What is Galentine’s day, you ask? Well if you’re a Parks and Recreations fan, you might already know.
But if you aren’t, and this is news to you, like it was to me, Galentine’s day is the day before Valentine’s day and it’s all about women celebrating women. And I think we need more of that these days.
In the Latin culture, Valentine’s day is “El dia de el amor y la amistad”. Meaning, a day to celebrate love and friendship. And I grew up celebrating it that way. It wasn’t until I was passed my awkward teenage stage, that I started having a “Valentine”. So I’m all for celebrating with girlfriends on Galentine’s day.
Why not celebrate the smart, wise, and strong women in your life that make you who you are?
Here are 6 awesome ways to celebrate with your closest girls:
Send them snail mail No emails, no texts, no Instagram posts. Send them a nice note through the mail. Let them know you value their friendship. Something tangible is much more meaningful.
Give them flowers Do you have any friends that are single? Maybe this is the only gift they’ll get. And who doesn’t like flowers?
Make a collage A real collage not an app generated collage. Something she can hang on her wall.
Give her a framed artwork (like the ones on the Styld by Grace Etsy Shop) Frame a motivational, fun, silly, or inspiring word/quote that she can hang.
Volunteer to help her with errands If she has kids, she will thank you so much for this.
Organize a girls night in No makeup, no phones, no heels. Just the girls, messy buns, wine glasses, and some chick flicks. Oh, and popcorn.
Cheers to celebrating your gal pals this Valentine’s season!
I was getting ready to go to bed after a much-needed Facetime date with my sister, who recently moved away. My husband noticed that I wasn’t being myself and had been crying. Of course, he asked the inevitable questions, “Have you been crying?”. Now, you know what happens when someone asks that, right? You start crying again. And it’s not your normal crying face. No. It’s your really ugly crying face. Anyway, I went on a rant, trying to explain why I was crying, “I miss my sister. I miss my best friend. My sisters are my best friends. I need them close to me. I can’t make friends that are as close as a sister.”
The great thing about having best friends that are my family is that we don’t expect perfection from each other. We know our faults, our hurts, our attitudes, and we take each other as we are. Having that connection outside of a family circle, can be difficult. It dawned on me that it’s not easy to have close friends when you expect them to be perfect. Why couldn’t I take my friends just as they are like I did with my sister?
It would be ideal, and we would be living in a perfect world if everything was hearts and kisses. You know, like those cute emojis you send your friends? The reality is that, heartbreak and disappointments will happen in our relationships. If we expect for that to never happen, we are setting up our friends for failure.
Loving others sometimes will cause us emotional pain. We will get hurt and we will be disappointed. I am reminded of the love and dedication Jesus had for his disciples. He knew their thoughts, their intentions, their hearts. And still, he taught them and guided them with love. Jesus was betrayed and denied by his closest friends, yet He chose to love.
I believe Jesus shows us in God’s word that we should love unconditionally. He also shows us that we should forgive and move forward. Holding on to bitterness and resentment is poison to our souls and even to our bodies. The best choice we can make is to accept people’s flaws. If we can’t accept people’s flaws, how can we expect them to accept ours?
Honestly, it doesn’t really feel good to love my friends when they hurt me. My first response is to push them away or go into hiding for a bit. Sometimes I rehearse in my mind what I would say to them. Really mean things that would hurt them back. My mind tells me, “She’s not a good friend”. While my heart says, “Give her another chance. Show her God’s grace”. I’ve isolated friends and family from my life because of things that I could’ve resolved and decided to forgive. Only trial and error can teach you when it’s time to let go of a friendship and when not to. I have a feeling though, that God would have us forgive and forget rather than letting go of a friendship.
This crazy love that God calls us to demonstrate, takes so much dedication, commitment, and courage. It takes courage to confront an issue and forgive.
So how do we mend or prevent broken friendships?
We choose love over staying disappointed. We choose mercy when we feel hurt. We choose grace when we feel betrayed. And we choose peace when we feel heartbroken.
Is there anyone you need to make amends with today? Is there a friend you should take out to coffee and resolve an issue with? Is God asking you to forgive a friend or loved one today?
Be encouraged to be honest with your friends and loved ones when you’re hurt. And be encouraged to forgive them and embrace their frailties.