Wednesday, February 3, 2010

the Friendship Issue

A couple of days ago, I was having a really crummy day. I woke up in pain. I had to get everything ready for the day. I was disappointed that my plans had fallen through, and in short nothing was going right. I really needed a girlfriend that I could talk to, vent to, and who would give me a big hug in the end. The problem was that I didn't have a girlfriend like that readily available to me. The question is "Why not?". This is what I call the Friendship Issue.

What is the Friendship Issue?

Friendship is one of the best gifts that God has put into our lives, but why does it have to be so hard? Then you add the fact that you are married to a minister into the equation and it makes things infinitely harder. Why?

Friendship is harder when you are in ministry or married to someone in ministry for a couple of reasons.

Number 1:
You must surround yourself with people who are holding to a high Christian standard and won't bring you down all the time. You're getting enough people tearing you down without your friends doing it too.

Number 2: Your friends MUST be able to keep your confidences without it affecting the way that they view your church, your ministry, or even you. This is why I personally find it very hard to have intimate friends in my own church. In general, they can't separate your struggles from what's going on in the church.

Number 3: When you are in ministry you will probably relocate several times and distance can often cause problems in maintaining friendships.

How Do I Solve the Friendship Issue?
When I have days like the one above, what do I do? I am still learning this myself, but so far this is how I have learned to handle it. If you have any helpful suggestions I am more than willing to hear them as I am still learning in this area.

Number 1: First and foremost, I turn to God. I pray and tell Him how I am feeling. I ask Him to show me how to get through this.

Number 2: I have developed a small core of women (most of whom are other ministry wives) that I trust implicitly and who I know care about me. Most of all they know what I am going through because they have most likely gone through it to. These are the women I call when I need to vent, to cry, to share my joys, or to chat.

Number 3: Never be afraid to ask for help. If your tried and true friends aren't available, God can and will meet that need through someone else. Pray about it of course, but I am sure that you have a bunch of godly women in your life that have been wives much longer than you have and who are more than willing to listen to you and comfort you and help you. Just make sure that they aren't the church busy-bodies. Use common sense and good judgment but don't be afraid to reach out to these women. They may be the most unexpected blessing of the day.

Closing Thoughts

I know that this isn't a fool proof method and I know that many of us have and probably will be burned by friendships again but you can never stop making friends. If you cut yourself off from the world you won't be able to handle life. It is important that no matter how many bad hands life deals to us that we just keep on living. The best way to do this is through forgiveness, faithfulness, and friendship...but that's another story

"A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out."

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