GETTING UNSTUCK IN MY FRIENDSHIPS
Good, healthy friendships are a springboard to success and general well-being. In fact, the Mayo Clinic in an article about friendship states: "Good friends are good for your health." Mayo Clinic - Adult Health.
Friends can increase your sense of belonging and purpose, boost your happiness, reduce stress, improve your self-worth, help you cope with traumas, such as serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one and give encouragement towards healthy lifestyle choices.
In the scripture, there is a great emphasis on relationship and God speaks about us in relational terms. "Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble." Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NLT.
God has wired us for relationships, so we all need friends, but when those friendships aren't handled properly, we get stuck.
Some of the impacts of being stuck in friendships are loneliness, frustration, and disconnection. So how do we get out of being stuck in our friendships?
The reason some of us are stuck is because we are involved in some toxic, unhealthy friendships. "Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character." 1 Corinthians 15:33 NIV.
So to move forward, let us do an honest assessment of your current friendships.
Are they helping you become the man or woman that God created you to be? Are they helping you to grow, feel enriched, and empowered? Then increase your association with these friends. But are they actively tearing you down? If so, then you may need to limit the time spent with them. The truth is, however, sometimes the problem is not with the other person, but with us.
"A man who has friends must himself be friendly." Proverbs 18:24 NKJV.
It's tough to attract healthy, God-honouring friends, when you aren't a good friend yourself. "The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray." Proverbs 12:26 NLT.
Are you a source of good advice to your friends? Can they depend on you? Will you give good advice even when it is difficult?
Are you quick to forgive? "Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends." Proverbs 17:9 NLT.
Remember, a less-than-good friend is one who continues to bring up things from the past, things that you have done wrong, but should have been forgiven and moved past.
How loyal are you to your friends? "A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in times of need." Proverbs 17:17 NLT.
See, to be a good friend requires loyalty. When we hear something about our friend, do we check it out or do we think the worst at first?
"As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend." Proverbs 27:17 NLT. We need more friends in our lives who will help us to be more like Jesus. God's antidote to loneliness is the Church. An environment for people to make new friends and to help them become more like Jesus. "Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together." Hebrews 10:24-25 NLT.
The Bible talks a lot about friendships with one another. But you are never going to truly get unstuck in your friendships until you get your most important friendship right.
"There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24 NLT. That friend is God. Jesus went to the cross, died and conquered death and He gives us the opportunity to be a friend of God.
"So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God." Romans 5:11 NLT. He's going to be there for you always and forever.
The Bible promises us that God will never leave us or forsake us. But here's the truth - you are never really going to get unstuck in your friendships or any other area of your life until you get this primary friendship right. Until you open up and let Jesus Christ change you from the inside out, you are never going to experience the life He created you to live. Look to Jesus Christ first and let Him transform you.