>”More and more groups of people at this ‘level’ are real with one another, but nobody is changing. Nobody is growing. Nobody is maturing. We’ve almost made the end goal of friendship to be authenticity instead of transformation. What good is a friend to [just] be open and honest? That’s not the whole goal. The goal is to be in relationship with people who would challenge you and inspire you to not stay the same.” – Josh Loveless
I have really been thinking about the deep meaning of friendship lately. I have been thinking about the reasons and the importance behind friendship. As I type this, there is a woman who is hysterically laughing with her girl friends in a coffee shop. There are six of them gathered around a table, giving the attention each deserve, sharing stories and that infectious laughter between one another. It really is encouraging to see this in older women, because I come to the conclusion that friendship is unceasing and does not get old as you get older. On the contrary, it would seem that it increases as one gets older.
It is friendship like this that ignites the very thing within you that is either hidden or stale due to life. Friendship comes along and shoves it out of you; to bring you either to tears or to pure laughter. Both equally healthy. And I think (know, actually) that the healthiest types of friendship are those between Christian’s. True Christ followers who would so humbly lay down their best cardigan or favorite jacket in order for you to cross the puddle. This doesn’t just happen between boyfriends and girlfriends, it is completely, 100% applicable in friendships. I truly believe that you are taught a portion of how to be humble and how to be selfless through friendships before marriage. I also believe that the greatest quality a friend can hold is one that is challenges the other friend; always pushing them outside of their comfort zone when it comes to their relationship with God.
In this, I have been seeing that God is making such a beautiful opening for friendships in my life. From the friends that I have in Florida – who, ultimately, gave me a standard for real friendship – to my newfound friends in Illinois. They are so wonderful, encouraging and more than anything, true friends through Christ. I am challenged by them and through them, I see how much I still have to work on. My amazing friend Eva portrayed just this last night. She just flew back from a five week missions trip in New Zealand and last night, she sat down with our group and was so blunt in wanting us to get out of our comfort zones. She encouraged us to get out and evangelize and connect with people we don’t even know. We then had a time of praying and fellowship. This girl challenges me so much without even realizing it. I see the spark in her eye to strive to be the person that God calls her to be, whether it’s quitting both of her jobs and taking off to another country for five weeks or her literal way of being the connection between every single person in our group – she makes it happen. She was the first person to come up to me and make that connection. I don’t know what kind of friendships I would have if God did not introduce me to her on the first night of college group.
And it is funny, too, that my best friend Chelsea was the first person to make the connection with me one night at church. From there, the friendships between amazing people and myself grew. So many times those same groups of people had to hold my hand above water and they helped me up to the surface through their humility, challenging and love. Friendship is such a beautiful, beautiful thing and God had every right and noble intention with it, and it is such a shame when we couple ourselves with the wrong crowds that aren’t helping us grow spiritually. It’s crippling, actually. Through God and friendships, we recognize our broken bones and through these relationships, we get back to the health He has intended.
Who knows how these women in front of me have met, they’re making their friendship work in such a beautiful way. It is friendship like this that can bring light to a room and a smile to the soul.