Paris Hilton’s New BFF

I was in an allergy coma from the onset of the Santa Ana winds the other day, which would explain why I switched channels to watch Paris Hilton’s new show, My New BFF.  In it, young women were competing Project Runway style for the privilege of being Paris’ New Best Friend Forever.  

Of course, Paris’ definition of Best Friend is different than most of ours.  Most of us assume there’s a certain mutuality that comes with friendship. But with Paris it’s a little one-sided.  In this show, friendship has definitely devolved into a shallow, self-serving proposition where
the goddess-on-high deigns which lowly wanna-be is suitable to worship her.

Friendship Elusive
Genuine friendship in our culture has become elusive and hard to define. Many of us have electronic interactions on Face Book, but those can’t possibly meet our needs for
RealFace time. RealFace time, though, is a challenge in our fast-paced lives, isn’t it? We hardly have time to sit down and pay bills, let alone sit down for a leisurely chat over dinner.  And if we’re going through a rough spot and are in need of a real and true friend, what happens if we haven’t taken the time to maintain our friendships?  It may be a little late to take auditions.


I was one of those people who looked up one day and wondered who I could lean on. The crisis in my marriage rocked my world (read my story here) and as things were falling apart around me, I realized I had very little support. I had grown isolated; my lifestyle had changed and I had stopped going to church, confining myself to work and home. Most of my longtime friends had gradually moved to other parts of the state and I hadn’t taken the time to build relationships to take their place.

But God in His grace placed people back in my life.  A friend I hadn’t heard from in years called and encouraged me to start singing again in an innovative type of worship community.  There I learned what community meant–shared values lived out together in sincerity.  The people there grieved with me and prayed with me; they let me talk and didn’t judge.  They even took me out to coffee and told me I looked pretty.  (My experience had me believe otherwise.)  They stood next to me when I had to make hard decisions and cheered me on.  What these new friends showed was Christ’s unconditional, selfless love in practical ways.  Because of what they did, my heart healed and I grew stronger and more confident in Christ’s work in me. I developed deep friendships and learned to serve others with the comfort I had received. (II Corinth 1:3-7)

Often, due to life’s circumstances and choices we find ourselves much like the characters on Gilligan’s Island. They went through an unexpected storm and landed on an uncharted desert isle.  They wanted to break their isolation but did not have the resources to build the boat to get back. And so they sat there for years, stuck.

ASK and you shall receive
So in the interest of getting unstuck, let me suggest a simple guideline to help you in cultivating the friendships you need.  If you follow these three simple steps, you’ll be on your way to navigating off the uncharted island and into civilization. I like to put it this way: 

A-  Ask.  You can’t get what you want if you don’t ask for it.  Friends don’t drop out of the sky, and people can’t read your mind.  Sometimes asking means just showing up.  Show up for the next support group meeting or women’s Bible study group. If it’s a safe place, let people into your life.  And, if you don’t know where to find such groups, check with your pastor, or the Celebrate Recovery website, (Find a group), or local women’s Bible study groups. Take responsibility for finding a safe place to go, ask a trusted friend out to lunch, or seek prayer with your small group at church.  If you don’t ask you won’t receive, and getting off that uncharted island will become harder and harder. 

S -Support.  Friendship is mutual.  As you receive support, don’t forget to give support.  The Apostle Paul tells us that when we are comforted by God we become a channel by which God’s comfort flows to others:

 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.  If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation.  If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.”  II Corin 1: 5-6

There’s nothing more freeing and validating to our own journeys than getting outside of ourselves and serving others in this way.  Just make sure you’re not serving to cover up your pain.  You need to be open and real to let the comfort-flow happen!

K- Kinship. Kinship means having the same origin, affinities, qualities and nature.  Believers have this relationship with each other through Jesus Christ.  We are called friends (John 15:14) brothers (Hebrews 2:11-12) and children (I John 3:1-2) of God.  We are unified in one Body because His Spirit dwells in us by our mutual faith. (I Corinth 12:4-7)  We hold core values of truth according to what His Word teaches us. When these relationships are operating as they should, we will never be alone. 

So be sure that the people you fellowship with and invite into your journey share your faith and core values in Christ.  Don’t allow exceptions because you’re desperate… make sure you are bound in friendship by truth and faith.

The Ultimate Friend
As a Christ follower, I have only to look to Him for guidance on the character of a true friend.  I’m thankful He doesn’t take auditions for who He chooses to be His friends.  He said, “Whosoever will, come.” When I came I found a friend who stuck closer than a brother, promised He’d never leave or forsake me, and invited me into His eternal family.

Oh, and Paris, if you stopped by to read this…Jesus isn’t impressed with or put off by celebrity, though He sure loves celebrities.  And though He doesn’t do auditions, He does stand at the door and knock, His invitation is a standing one, and He would love to be your New BFF.

Comments

  1. Gloria,
    Good to hear from you. It was great to see you again at the party. It’s amazing how we go way back with the same people but didn’t know it! Thanks for your encouragement and thanks for passing along with info about WifeBoat when you see the need. Blessings to you as well! -R

  2. Gloria Stullich says:

    Hello Renee,
    I really enjoyed your website. Reading the women’s and your comments illustrates how well your ministry reaches and touches women’s hearts in a significant way.

    So glad we met at HIV Christmas party. Have kept your cards in case someone I know may benefit. Blessings to you, Gloria

  3. Susan,
    Thanks for writing, and sharing some of your thoughts on leadership and church life. You know, I think you did the right thing in stepping down, not because of any gender issue, but because of your discomfort in that position. While I don’t think there’s a problem with a women leading a mixed group, (especially if it’s not a group that requires senior leadership) perhaps in this instance you felt you needed additional support/covering from male leadership and that was not available to you.

    I really believe when we’re called to leadership there’s a core of strength, a feeling of the “rightness” of the work, and a leading of the Spirit. If that’s not there, then we need to pay attention. We go by faith and not by feelings, of course, but our feelings and emotions can be clues to pray on, taking into consideration what the Bible teaches in any paticular situation.

    But Susan, I really would encourage you to get plugged into another church body, because more than ever our fellowship and strong community is so critical. I’d suggest plugging into a good Women’s Ministry where you can get to know like-minded, strong ladies who can build you up. You probably have a gifting in the area of leadership/ministry and that is the best place to explore where God wants you. He may want you to sit under some teaching for awhile and then He may confirm something to you in the direction of ministry. Who knows? But we are all members of His Body, the Church, I hope you don’t miss out on the joy He has for you there!

    Thanks, Susan – good meeting you here too… please keep in touch. God Bless. -R

  4. Hi, Renee! I found your website through a link on Randy Thomas’ blog. I really appreciate your heart and helpfulness to women.

    I’ve been out of church for 3 years now. I have a close relationship with the Lord and have been a Christian for many years but I stepped away from a church and haven’t gotten plugged back in. I’ve been in both types of churches. Those who believe only men should have leadership roles and those that have both men and women in those roles. I, personally, find being the leader of a mixed group somewhat uncomfortable. I’ve inwardly desired and actually asked that I be a co-leader with a man rather than sole leader involving both men and women within our church. I didn’t get a co-leader and did eventually step down. But my stepping down was more an uncomfortableness due to perhaps just a traditional thing rather than thinking it’s unbliblical. I think I stayed on as leader for as long as I did because in my heart after study and discussion seemed biblically okay. But, I’m more comfortable under the leadership of a man in a mixed group. I have led and don’t mind leading a group of women. It’s just mixed company I feel uncomfortable about, especially if the man/men aren’t comfortable with it. Notice, I’ve given no biblical references to the ‘wrongness’ of women leaders. I don’t have biblical references to back what I feel, therefore, I don’t ever say women should not have a leadership role in the church. Only references I can think of right now would be in the Corinthian letters about women being silent in the church. But I think we need to look at that portion in context.

    I appreciate that you hold a high view of scripture. I do too. It’s nice to meet you here. I have high regard for your husband. God bless you both.

  5. Sue, I completely understand where you are coming from, and hope I didn’t sound harsh in my last post. With my own personal church background, I understand how and why people shield themselves from those who do not share their doctrinal beliefs. I do not agree with them, but I understand them. My heart hurts for them, because they are missing out on the whole point of Christ’s sacrifice…..as well as, useful resources like this blog! May the Lord bless you and keep you.

  6. It’s unfortunate that so many people miss out on deep relationships with others and the Lord, because they let doctrinal differences act as barriers. Sadly, they often rob themselves of the opportunity to see The Word through the eyes of those from a different faith, consequently losing an enriching learning and/or teaching experience. I, too, come from a “conservative” church background. However, God’s Word is neither conservative nor progressive. It is simply truth.
    In all my studies on the matter, it is my belief that God’s plan is for men to be in leadership positions in the church. Having said that, it is not for me to begrudge others their beliefs. Whereas we may all be passionate about our own understanding of Biblical truths, God clearly tells us to love one another. He doesn’t say “Only love the people who believe as you do.”
    As women, we are beloved daughters of God. How distressing that some of us cannot simply embrace that concept and love each other regardless. If I can love a man who has been unfaithful to me most of our married life…and with MEN…it should be no challenge to have close relationships with those who disagree with me on doctrine.
    Renee, I am blessed to have found this website, and your words of experience and encouragement. God bless you in your work.

  7. Thanks so much, Sue, for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate your prayers for this work. And you know, I really respect the fact some churches disagree with having women in leadership. So I know some people will, just like you said, be very closed to what we do here for that reason. But to quote a wise old character, “I yams what I am!”. :) I mean, being an elder at my church is a really crucial, meaningful part of my life. I wouldn’t be “being real” with my ladies at WifeBoat if I didn’t pretty much show myself as I am.

    But I’d love to hear anybody else’s thoughts on women in leadership. We hold a high view of Scripture, but even among conservative, Bible believing churches like mine, I know there are different opinions on this. Anybody want to share theirs?

    Meanwhile, Sue, thanks again for dropping by. God bless you and your husband.

  8. I will be praying for your ministry through this website. My only suggestion is that, if possible after prayer, you could eliminate reference to doctrine (women elders) and denomination affiliation. I know right now my husband and I are called to a very conservative demonination and our calling is to callenege their exclusivity that comes through lifting up man’s thoughts often above the Lord’s. We are called to unite and I believe our testimony does that. I am afraid that I could not refer any of my friends from church to this site because I know they so often get hung up on doctrine to the point of missing TRUTH!

    In Our Lord’s Vineyard, Sue

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