The Friendship Series: Lonely No More

Lonely No More
Lonely.

The saddest word in the English language. And yet a companion for so many.

We can be lonely in crowds, we can be lonely at home, we can be lonely with a lover, we can be lonely alone.

There are few things as empty as feeling unknown, feeling unseen. That’s really the heart of the matter, isn’t it? It’s not about being with someone or being alone. Just as we can be quite lonely in a crowd, we can also be quite cozy on our own. True loneliness goes much deeper. True loneliness is feeling alone.

Coffee dates and a jam-packed calendar don’t equal union. True friendship, the antidote for loneliness, goes beneath the surface. It is the intermingling of ideas and minds, feelings and hearts, hopes and empathies.

True friendship is possible, within our reach. But it requires our active regard.

Today, let’s take a chance. Let’s listen a moment longer that we usually do, ask one more question that we usually ask, and take one step closer than we’d usually dare, clinging to this promise:

“God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity…” (New King James Version, Psalm 68:6)

Amen.

The Friendship Series: A Tiny Taste


Where does friendship start? This thing of great cost and even richer dividends- where does it begin?

With God.
Every gift starts with God.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (New King James Version, James 1:17)

This good gift, this sweet gift, comes down from our Father above. Just like jazz music and mountains, cheesecake and sweet baby cheeks, sunsets and orchestras, hearts to love and hands to hold.

And in our longing for relationship, we see our Father’s longing for relationship.

The Great Creator made us one day, we went astray, and He swooped down, stooped down to rescue us. All because He wants to know us. He wants to be with us. For the rest of eternity.

There is no friendship like our God’s. But through earthly friendships, He gives a tiny taste of what awaits us in Him: the richest of fellowship feasts. Amen.

The Friendship Series: Togetherness


Thanks for joining me as we set out to explore the topic of friendship, starting with Tuesday’s “Introduction” to the series. Make sure to visit my homepage and subscribe for future posts via email so that you don’t miss a moment!

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What is friendship? Friendship is a phone call and email, a coffee date and play date, a birthday party and moving party. It’s a touchstone along our busy lives, something to break up the mundane. But it’s more than an event, more than another appointment to keep.

True friendship is a steady connection- of our schedules, our lives, our hearts. It’s finding that we are of the same spirit and pursuing togetherness.

I am in grade-school when it comes to the topic of togetherness. But it seems to me that true togetherness, true friendship, requires a few things:

1. Choosing. In a world filled with hundreds of potential friendships, we must say no to many friendships in order to properly invest in a few friendships. Haven’t we had enough of the ever-widening but never-deepening circle of “friends”? This might feel hard to bear but joy is found in the narrowing.

2. Christ. True friendship is healthy. Otherwise it is not friendship; it is codependency. And the only way to be healthy is first to have Christ heal our depraved, craving, broken hearts. Then we can properly meet our friends- not with strangling, unrealistic demands, but with hearts ready to share in life’s joys and sorrows together.

3. Understanding the spectrum of relationship. There are many different levels of relationship- the most distant being strangers and the most intimate being marriage partners. Every other relationship we’ll ever have falls somewhere along this spectrum. Billions of people are strangers to us, perhaps a couple hundred are distant acquaintances, a hundred are casual acquaintances, fifty or so we might term “friends”, a dozen are close friends, and maybe 2 or 3 are intimate friends. It’s ok if not everyone makes the 2-3 intimate or dozen close friends cut. Some people are just acquaintances and that’s alright. Again, this comes down to choosing less so that our choices can go deeper. Also, it’s important to note that an individual relationship may shift along the spectrum throughout various seasons of life.

4. Understanding the cost of friendship. Friendship is a tremendous blessing. It’s like a warm mug of honeyed-tea, bringing sweetness to our lives. A gift. But this gift is two-dimensional. It requires something from us:

“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (New King James Version, John 15:12-13)

Real friendship is sacrificial. It requires the sacrifice of our pride, our time, our wants, our “right” to be offended, and so much more. It requires the very laying down of our lives- just as Christ laid down His life for us.

These marks of friendship are by no means exhaustive. But they’re a start. Stay tuned for next time’s post when we focus on the origin of friendship. Until then!

The Friendship Series: Introduction


Belong.

Isn’t this the essence of friendship? To know that I belong to you and you belong to me. My place is with you. In a large world, filled with loud noises and ever-changing scenes, friendship is a safe and pleasant place. Like home.

At least friendship should be like home. But how often is it rather like an errand, a disappointment, or even a bruise? In this hurried, transient, online age, are our hearts crying out for something more? A different type of friendship than the one we’ve been given through Facebook and quick coffee dates?

I have made many mistakes when it comes to friendships. I have been prideful, closed off, hurtful, easily offended, selfish, well-intentioned but lacking in follow-through, and so much more. I am by no means a model of “the perfect friend”. But I do have a desire to be a good friend. And I want to have good friends, too- the kinds I tell my grandkids about someday.

I want people to share life with, to make a difference with. I want people to change me and me to change people. I want the friendships they write about in biographies.

I think you want these kinds of friendships, too.

But how do we get from here to there? That’s want I want to find out these next several weeks as we journey to examine the topic of friendship and answer some of the following questions:

What is friendship?
Where does it come from?
Is it really attainable or just a pipe dream?
What makes a good friend?
What makes a not-so-good friend?
What if we get hurt?
How do we forgive?
What about the introverts?
When is it time to “move on”?
How do we glorify God with our friendships?

Will you join me as we set out to uncover the truth about friendships? I can’t wait to see what we discover.

Under the Covers


Our walk with the Lord looks different in each season. Sometimes it’s an early morning run, praying with each pounding of the pavement; sometimes it’s a journal and coffee date; and sometimes it’s snuggling in bed.

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Just want to snuggle with You under the covers, where thoughts are so clear and Your voice is so loud. If I get up, I know my mind will go racing. I’ll lose the stillness of this moment.

You see, there are dishes to do, a checkbook to balance, and a baby to chase. But here, nestled in my nest of blankets, there’s only You and me.

In the quiet, You heal my heart. Your love washes every hurt, listens to every worry, and breathes new life again.

How good You are to me.