Don’t Give Up On Your Girls!
Hey!!! Thanks for stopping by CSE! We have a super special topic today that we’ve wanted to discuss for a while.....friendship! We've worked super hard at maintaining a strong friendship with open communication - even when it was difficult. Working together and being friends isn't always easy, but we've used prayer and lots and lots of patience to keep moving forward together so that we can both reach for the stars! We both believe that women should help each other, work together, and share as friends and business partners so that everyone can meet their individual and collective goals.
Recently, however, we spoke to a few women who had lost good, good friends because of simple disagreements. We’re not talking about associates - we’re talking about ride-or-die, have-your-back, she-knows-all-your-secrets friends...besties...BFFs...sisters. Should you ever allow that to happen? Does God even care who your best friend is or who you maintain relationships with? That’s a tricky question to which we would answer yes! Some folks are in your life just to grab a few laughs with, and others are God-ordained friends which you should hold on to like your life depends on it.
You see, friendship is heaven’s gift to us. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him - a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
Hmmm...sounds like something worth fighting for, yet we’ve all experienced broken friendships which we haven’t fought for. I know I have. Sometimes it was my fault, sometimes it was theirs, and sometimes it was some wretched combination of both our pride, stubbornness, and unwillingness to follow God’s plan for our lives. Did these friendships fall apart by accident? Were they knocked off the shelf carelessly? I don’t think so. When it comes to really close friends, I think something more sinister is at work - especially when I consider that scripture. According to that word, we’re vulnerable, cold, easily victimized, and missing out on some “good reward” with our homies if we get torn apart. What??? We’re listening, God. There’s more to real friendship than meets the eye. It comes with a reward, protection, and help in our hour of need.
Is This the End?
Think about it. Every popular group from New Edition to Escape has the same story - a group of people of various talents meets and enjoys great success until they “fall out” because of someone’s pride and arrogance and the group is done! They all try to pursue solo albums (which only the really talented ones are able to do) and go through several years of hard times and difficulties until they reconcile a million years later and begin touring and making money again. Even if the individuals are super talented alone, it’s when they are together that the “magic” happens. (Watch the NE tribute at the BET Awards if you don’t believe me!) Friendship is so difficult and fought so hard because something magical happens when people come together. Not only do they create beautiful music, art, and literature together, good friends help us become better people. "Just as iron sharpens iron, one person sharpens another." (Psalms 27:17)
Real friendship is messy, even though most people just think it should be easy-peasy. It’s taken me a long time to believe that myself because like most people I would rather shy away from confrontation than well, confront it or worse yet work through it! I’d rather languish with my feelings and suffer internally with hurts than actually tell someone how I feel.
A few years ago I almost lost a really good friend that way. We met accidentally through another friend but hit it off immediately and began hanging out together. Then, unfortunately, we had a huge misunderstanding with our mutual friend. The pressure of trying to keep the peace caused all of us to drift apart. That might not make sense to you, but “non-confrontational” people let stuff like this happen all the time! We just stopped hanging out but continued to exchange niceties whenever we saw each other and make half-hearted attempts to get together. I didn’t think much of it until one of my other friends noticed that I had intentionally prevented us from all meeting together one day. It seemed like a simple scheduling difficulty but, of course, it wasn’t. She called me out on it, and I’m so grateful because it showed me how hurt and angry I was (“non-confrontational” people pretend they don’t have these emotions) but God most certainly was trying to do something through the meeting which I ruined. I repented and called up my friend and invited her to hang out. Thankfully, she accepted, and we were able to resume our relationship.
We at CSE, hope you will do the same with some of your long lost friends. So we’ve gathered a few thoughts to help you as you consider how to move forward with your friendships.
1. Don’t Quit
In this world where personal happiness reigns supreme, friends “ghost” each other rather than confront them. Suddenly they won’t return each other’s calls, or just can’t seem to connect, or keep an ongoing text message or voicemail train running just to pretend everything is okay even when they know it’s not. We don’t pursue or protect friendships vigorously. The moment we feel uncomfortable or sense the other person has rejected us or offended us - we begin our descent. Often we’re willing to fight a thousand fights with our boyfriends or husbands, but end 20-year friendships with our best girl-friends over one misunderstanding.
Don’t give up on your friends! If you have a good friend who you know God sent to your life and you have a disagreement call them, write them, pray for them, and keep believing that you can reconcile. Sure, some people grow apart legitimately, but if you are on the same path in life, it’s not acceptable to just quit. Consider whether or not a person’s good attributes outweigh the ones that need work, and begin the practice of not taking up offenses quickly. Value the wonderful things your friend has brought to your life, be slow to anger, and remember, the Bible teaches us in John 15:13 that the greatest love we can have is to lay down our lives for our friends. For Jesus it meant the ultimate sacrifice, but for you it might just mean laying down your pride, admitting you were wrong, accepting someone’s apology, suffering long with someone, being there for your friend even when it’s inconvenient, or by letting bygones be bygones. What do you have to lose by trying? Don’t forget - true friends are rare.
2. Don’t Shoot the Messenger
Proverbs 27: 5- 6 says “Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” What on earth does that mean? Confrontation in friendship is right. If your friend comes to you in love and tells you the truth about something in your life, pause and consider it. If you're being honest with yourself and if you are yielding to the voice of the Lord regularly, you will have a strong feeling whether the statement is honest and trustworthy or whether it's coming from a jealous or negative place. You can find this out in prayer by asking God to show you if it's true or not. It can be shocking to be confronted, and naturally our defenses shoot up, but confrontation often comes to save us from a dangerous pitfall ahead. If it’s gotten so bad that God had to send someone to tell you about it, chances are you’ve turned a deaf ear to his subtle whisper. Don’t get angry every time a friend tries to have an honest talk with you. Timing and gentleness of delivery are important, but even if they miss the mark in that area, trust that their words may be true and at least pause to consider them.
3. Don’t Take Your Friends for Granted
Believe it or not, the Bible does say that we shouldn’t take our friends for granted. Proverbs 27:10 says “Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family, and do not go to your relative’s house when disaster strikes you - better a neighbor nearby than a relative far away.” Wow! We all know that God cares how we treat Him, but this scripture also shows that He cares how we treat our friends. We all have family but nearby friends and neighbors will prove to be “better” especially when disaster strikes. We don’t know what we may encounter in life, or why He has brought certain people into it, but we do know that God has a plan to bless us and keep us if we go along with it and the people He's blessed us with.
You Can Do This!
Ladies, reach out to someone you care about today and let them know just how you feel about them. If there is someone you haven't spoken to in a while, pray and reach out to them. Don't quit on friendship, don't take up offense, and don't take your friends for granted. And stay tuned to CSE, where we will keep giving you tips to live the life you've imagined!
Until next time,
Chastity & Robin
P.S. We want to hear from you! What are your biggest friend struggles? Were you able to reconcile with a long, lost friend? What are your #friendgoals for the future? Don't forget to SUBSCRIBE and follow us on Instagram @chastitystemmons and @happyrobinshaw and Facebook at Chastity Stemmons Enterprises!