Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Perfect Friend

I wrote this in July 2010 when my mentor and friend asked me to write down my journey so she could possibly use it in a book she is working on.  I wanted to share it, because it is part of why I am who I am today...and how I am 'ok' 9 hours away from most everyone I love.

For as long as I can remember I had placed large amounts of importance on having a true and perfect 'best friend.'  It took me 29 years before I figured out that that perfect friendship does not exist quite like I thought it did.

Growing up and throughout school I had no problem having making friends or having best friends.  Although I was not a Christian and neither were they.  There was a lot of sin entangled and I was not able to recognize it.  As I fell in love with my husband, I didn't place a lot of importance on girl friends.  Things had changed in my life, like becoming a Christian, getting married, and having kids, and suddenly I longed for a best girl friend to share life with again and it was hard to find one!  I began praying for a friend.  Each time a new friendship formed I just KNEW that she was 'sent from God.'  I would dump out my whole history, my problems, my expectations and expect since she was 'sent from God' that she would fix my problems and meet my expectations!  What pressure I placed on these women!!  Sadly, more than a few, understandably, could not handle this pressure and bailed.  I wanted a friend so badly.  Someone to reassure me, love me, want to spend time with me, and to say, 'I choose YOU!' 

After this pattern cycled several times I sought counsel from someone I trusted.  "Why do I keep getting hurt?"  "Why is everyone so mean and inconsiderate of me?"  I was hurt, bitter, and broken.  God began a work in me.  Was I in for a ride!  He revealed who I was, who He wanted me to be, and who I must be in order to be a healthy and Godly friend.  It was not pretty!!  I realized that until I was a healthy individual, I was most likely not going to have healthy relationships.  I also really needed to work on my relationship with God first.  Until I acknowledged and accepted that God is my Strength, my Counselor, my Encourager, my Friend, my Everything -- instead of trying to make my best friend that -- He would not/could not reward me with a healthy friendship!  I was looking to friends to fill those needs in me that only He can fill.  I had fallen into a trap of idolatry that my jealous God despised.

After a year of growing in my relationship with God, getting over the embarrassment of struggling in this area as an adult, and repenting of my sins, God began blessing me with several healthy friendships.  It amazed me the differences I saw in healthy friendships and how much more enjoyable they were!  Yet...I still had a fear of these friends deciding I wasn't good enough for them and leaving me in the dust.  I was often quite miserable obsessively worrying about something someone had said or hadn't said or done or hadn't done. 

God loves me so much that in my 32nd year (3 years after beginning the journey of being a healthy friend) He made me aware that while I could proclaim that 'God loves me,' I didn't really believe it in my heart.  I believed I wasn't good enough to be loved by a Holy God, that I could maybe be lumped in to a group of "Jesus loves US" but not an individual, "God adores ME."  I had never accepted His love that He freely was giving me.  And how could I love others without accepting His love for me first?  My focus was still getting love from my friends instead of just loving my friends.  How in the world was I STILL not getting this?  I thought I was fixed!!

After wrestling with this and reading every book I could get my hands on about God's love, I finally just simply asked God to make it real to me and told Him that I believed and I ACCEPTED His love.  I had never allowed myself the privilege of having it although it had been there all along.  I physically felt His love wash over me and a joy that had not been there before became a part of me.  I gained a confidence -- now I can say that without a doubt, 100%, God loves me, accepts me, wants me, thinks I am worth spending time with, and will never leave me!  It is awesome to be able to say that and mean it.  And knowing that this was what God thinks of me makes it so much less important that I get that from friends.  My new goal is to love people more and need them less.

Accepting His love and friendship that comes with it has made every relationship easier.  I am relaxed and at ease.  Satan still likes to attack me in this is a weakness.  But I am armed with some pretty fierce ammunition now that I know how much God loves me.  I pray regularly to be filled, as a pitcher, overflowing with His love so that His love splashes onto those around me.  I spent way too much of my time behaving as a leaking cup, grasping at others, being disappointed that they could not keep my cup full.   The search for the perfect friend has ended. I am left trying my best to love my friends like He loves me now and keep my focus on the only perfect person - Jesus - who has been my friend all along!

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