Typically on Wednesday I share some fun stuff my family and I are up to. But something has been on my heart since I spoke to a friend recently… more on that later. I struggle being transparent. I have struggled in the past really sharing and talking about what is weighing heavy on my heart. I have recently become better at it and this blog has been helping me and creating an opportunity for me to share. Since that conversation with a friend I decided to share with you what that conversation was about for me.
By nature I am a relational type person. I invest in my friendships deeply. So when a friendship ends or changes, it hurts and it hurts hard.
Being a good friend is important to me. I am not perfect. I have hurt people with my words and my actions. When those moments happen, it stinks. I hate it. I never want to intentionally hurt someone.
I have come to a place in life where I have expectations in my friendships. Nothing extravagant but rather simple. At least it should be simple. I want a friend who loves me. I want a friend who wants what is best for me even when it’s not what I want. I want a friend who will tell me the hard stuff and love me through my mistakes. Someone who values the friendship as much as I do. Someone who I can trust and know they only speak highly of their friends. I want a friend who will be joyful for me during seasons of blessings, mourn with me during the seasons of loss, and encourage me during the seemingly impossible seasons. I want friends who pray for me.
The Bible even tells us that finding a true friend is hard.
Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable? (NLT)
Isn’t that sad?
We shouldn’t expect people to be perfect, friends will hurt us. A true friend knows when they have hurt someone and puts forth effort to mend the hurt.
I said I have come to a place in life where I have expectations in my friendships and that is because for awhile I didn’t. Not in a bad way but in a way where there was no standard I held others to and I allowed many people close to me who meant more harm than good. Those people were closer to me then they should have been and because of that they hurt me.
I have had a friend hurt me during one of the greatest joyful times of my life. They said and did things that hurt me more deeply than any other friend has. I was so hurt that I had no words. I couldn’t even talk about it with James. James knew I was hurting and would ask about it, but I would quickly change the subject. I just did not want to deal with the hurt. Then I tried to forgive. In all honesty, it was hard. How could I forgive someone who was not even sorry for their actions? I then got to a place where I was ‘ok’ and willing to sweep it under the rug and move forward (which still is not healthy). Right when I got to that point I got hurt again. It was almost like the wound was reopened and spit on. I found out that this friend was going around telling people untruths about me. That hurt more. How could all these people hear this lie and think that I would have that level of character and integrity? I reached out to a close mentor of mine. I had not spoke about this to anyone at this point (besides James) and I broke down. I cried and shared with them all the details as best as I could. I shared how hurt I was and how these lies are being spread about me and I felt like it was out of control. I felt that while I tried to keep it between us and be respectful, it was complete chaos in my friends life. Then this mentor spoke words over me that rocked me to my core; I had to trust that other people will see the truth eventually and to not fight this battle. Not fight this battle?! You know how hard it is to not stick up for yourself when lies are being told? I was told to continue to rise above. No matter what to rise above and my character and integrity will speak for itself. This mentor reminded me that hurt people hurt people. This mentor explained to me that I needed to spend my time and energy in friendships that were mature and Christ centered. So, I had no choice but to move on, I knew my mentor was right.
How could I move on when this person was a big part of my life for so long? How could they not care to reach out and talk to me about it. Why are they ok with me not in their life anymore? Didn’t they care about me? How could they not admit their wrong and just say sorry. Sorry goes so far for me. I have learned it takes great humility to be able to say sorry.
I spent a lot of time in prayer. To be totally honest, I had a lot of ugly words and thoughts in my heart towards this person. My hurt was festering in my heart and it was continuing to hurt me over and over again. This is not Godly in the least bit. I started to talk to James about it and it turned into complaining and a bash fest. Thankfully, I have a husband who sees through my crap and calls me out. He prayed with me, he prayed over me, and he prayed for me. All I could do was take my hurt, ugly words, and negative thoughts to the Lord. I prayed for God to change my eyes. To have me see this person the way He does. The hurt, ugly words, and negative thoughts went away. I saw all of the hurt and pain this person carried and how they hurt others. I felt bad. I cried for them. I prayed God would heal this person and make their heart whole. Then, I moved on.
I have learned a lot. I learned how valuable and rare Godly friendships are. I have learned to protect myself. I have learned to care about others more. I have learned when to see the red flags of toxic people and to move on to protect myself.
Being a Godly friend does not mean to be perfect. It simply means to try and when you fail, love your friend enough to say sorry and then change.
Even though that journey was hard, I am thankful for it. I am thankful because it has saved me from future hurt. James and I started to see red flags in another friendship. I then prayed for God to show me the truth. I prayed for God to protect us and to show us if we should walk away.
I was then pointed to this scripture:
Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul. (NLT)
It is hard to lose friendships even if you know it is for your own good. I am sure there are people who have felt the same way about me since I have failed in friendships in the past. God has given me love for those who have hurt me and I have prayed God gives loves to those I have hurt.
All of this came up recently because I found myself in a conversation with a friend, who is seriously like a sister to me. We talked about friendship and how important it was to us and we realized we have been through similar situations. This quick conversation really showed me a lot. It showed me that there are other people out there who care deeply about their friends. And those are people I want to be friends with.
Be a good friend, not a perfect one, but a honest, loving, good friend.