When I was little I could rattle off the names of my friends for a good four minutes. In high school I had friends that spanned across social circles and between the varying high schools in my city. Even into grad school in my mid-twenties I found that I had a multitude of friendships that criss-crossed the nation and life experiences. Now here I am in my mid 30s (yeah I had a birthday a few days back) and I am finding that those I call friends are narrow. Don’t get me wrong, I have a ton of people across the globe whom I would define as friends but allow them to fit into this lens of acquaintance friendship rather than the close-knit friendships I have with several these days. I think when we are younger we are figuring out who we are and where we fit socially. I know for myself I discovered that having people in different social groups or even at different high schools to be friends with provided some different perspectives and experiences for me. I gleaned alot and allowed myself to figure where I fit and if I wanted to fit into a specific mold. In my teens, and even twenties, I wanted to learn so much I found I wasn’t really developing who I was or getting a definition of what life was for me. Lately though as I have taken some time to reflect on friendships, I have discovered it’s not about the quantity of friends I have that matters to me now but the quality friendships. I am more intentional about those I cultivate and those I allow into this sphere of life. I do believe community is key to living life, especially a life of faith. A common misconception by people is that a single woman has the time to have numerous friendships and keep them all in balance. I have to fess up to you all that’s not the case for the majority of us. For me I value a quality friendship that means time and intentionality. More recently I found that in the midst of a situation I had an inner circle of people that I knew would be there in support, encouragement, prayer and counsel. I knew they were genuine when they asked about me or how I was doing. It wasn’t for gossip (because there are those friendships that are purely one-way and feeding the drama monster, so beware) but for support. Sunday as I stood with a friend who is going through her own situation and prayed over her I couldn’t help but be thankful for that friendship. And the one who stood to my right, who I didn’t even know this time a year ago, that has been such a force of spiritual guidance and leadership over the last eight months. As I prayed for my friend, knowing she had stood in the gap for me over the last couple of months praying, I could not help but praise God for friendships such as these. Where we aren’t in competition with one another, we don’t cut one another down or seek to impress but merely stand shoulder to shoulder to do battle for them and pray down heaven’s healing for them. It’s those friendships that go beyond the margins of note of thanks…to the phone calls after a rough day at work to the celebration of a new season of life for one another. Over and over in the last few weeks I am reminded that friendships are forged in the fire of adversity, in grief and heartache. It’s those friends that turn into sisters and brothers, that go beyond the boundary line to fight a battle with you in the trenches because they value you and who you are, not what they can get from you or what you do for them. Never more have I seen Proverbs 17:17 lived out than in the last few months of my life, and I have to be so very thankful God placed each of these people from different life moments into my story for such a time as this.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. -Proverbs 17:17
I pray you have those people in your own life, those few that are quality friendships. The ones who will stand with you in battle and also keep you accountable in situations and relationships. While it may not look like much in number, they make up for in might, spirit and love.