For as long as I can remember, I have felt the need to take care of people. Especially, my friends. If you have ever read my testimony, you know my life hasn't always been a piece of cake. As I got older, and found Jesus, I realized just how lucky I was to survive such storms. I realized that, in no way, did I deserve the blessings and grace that God poured on me through my friendships. In a way, I felt like guarding and loving my friends was a way of thanking God for his abundance of faith he showed me. Since I had dealt with such a rocky road in my past, I felt like I was strong enough to take on other people's burdens. I would be that shoulder to cry on and I would try to fill them with as much encouragement as possible. I would be careful about telling friends what they wanted to hear. We all know what we WANT to hear and what we NEED to hear are two different things.
As I have gotten older, it has been harder and harder for me to keep real friendships. After all the encouragement, all the lent shoulders, and all the advice, I became numb. It became frustrating to see my attempts at being a "good" friend, go in one ear and out the other. I became burdened with seeing my friends make choices that ended up hurting them, despite my efforts to protect them. That burden scarred my image of friendship. Since then, it has been really hard for me to let in friends. Then it hit me. I was so caught up in trying to be a "good" friend to everyone else, I had made myself inaccessible to receive friendship. What a horrible sin! The Lord calls us to spur one another on and encourage one another daily. Was I really encouraging them or pushing them away from me?
Since this realization, I have been trying to make an effort to accept friendship in a different light. As much as I love my friends, I am not Christ. My life's journey was not meant to prepare me to bare the burdens of my friends. Now more than ever I realize how important God-breathed friendships are. They are not one sided. They are three sided. The best friend I can be is a prayer warrior and an encourager of scripture. I can still share in the laughter and the tears, but every smile and tear drop should be given back to God in praise and petition. Ultimately, Christ is the one who is going to walk with us hand in hand and bare our burdens and share our joys.
Thankfully, God has revealed and blessed me with a couple of sisters that I can truly lean on. You know who you are, and I promise you will always know how much you have encouraged me. My prayer is to one day have more than a couple. Whether that be making new friends or bettering friendships I already have; I am looking forward to mending the scar and image that I had defined as friendship.