A Snippet of What I Have to Say About Friendship

     She asked me to write about friendship. Oh, gracious!

     Of all things, why this? Why now?

     But writing is therapeutic. And writing helps me understand myself better. It's a disinterring process, with the shovel going into my heart.

     So bear with me as we push away the dirt to get to the root of the matter.

     I've only taught about friendships once. In the summer of 2013, a group of girls entering sixth or seventh grade gathered in my living room every Thursday afternoon for lemonade and a discussion about what the Bible has to say about relationships.
     The week we talked about friends, I remember looking around the room and saying, "Look at the girls in this room. They are pursuing Jesus, and they will be some of the best friends you will ever make." Today that group of girls is the friendliest, most uplifting bunch you'll meet in eighth or ninth grade.
     Those girls go to lots of different schools--private, public, homeschool. They come from wildly different homes. But they are united in one cause: pursuing Jesus.
     And if I have anything to say about friendships, it's that. Find friends who will always prod you closer to Jesus, whether that means encouragement or a gracious exhortation to get back on the right path.
     Your friends can be Christians but not be pulling you closer to Jesus.
     Those friends are easy to find. But the ones who push you, uplift you, and encourage you tirelessly are the ones you'll never want to leave your side. They're true to who they say they are. They're true to helping you. And they're true to their Lord.
     As Hebrews 10:24 says, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." When that is the rhythm of a friendship, both sides will find it easier to get along and form a lasting friendship.
     So, young girls out there (and adults too), remember that. Remember to spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
     If right now you feel like you don't have a friend in the world, it's ok. I've been in and out of that boat for as long as I can remember. We'll make it.
     Sometimes we're the ones who will find friends in the strangest places. We're the ones who consider our mom or sibling to be our best friend. We're the ones who can talk intelligently with adults, even though we're teenagers. We're the ones who have time to take girls a few years younger than us under our wings. We're the ones who meet college students at Starbucks to talk about books or careers or life.
     We're the ones who are never "popular," but we know how to serve others well. We're the ones who have the guts to forgive our enemies, and sometimes we find they are the friends we needed all along. We're the ones who discover we were making friendships idols, and we tear them down to focus on Christ.

     Friendships. They're tricky. But I don't think I'll ever stop learning about this topic.


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