A few years ago, there was a short-lived reality show called My New BFF, where young women competed for the privilege of being Paris Hilton’s “New Best Friend Forever”. It was a one-sided proposition where Paris the celebrity, auditioned those eager to earn the privilege of entering her world. The title of Friend came at a price, and I couldn’t help but think of the popularity contests in my high school that only fed teenage angst and left many of us feeling insecure and unsure of ourselves.
But even as adults, friendship can still be elusive and hard to define. We live in the age of Facebook and Twitter, but that doesn’t always translate into relationships that are intimate. Our fast-paced lives challenge us; we hardly have time to pay bills, let alone sit down for a leisurely chat with someone over dinner. And if we’re going through a rough spot, we need a real, true friend–someone who knows us well. What happens if we haven’t taken the time to cultivate our friendships? It may be a little late to take auditions.
Life’s choices and circumstances often bring us to unexpected places, and we can feel much like the characters on the classic television show, Gilligan’s Island, who went through an unexpected storm and landed on an uncharted desert isle. They wanted to break their isolation, yet they did not have the resources to repair their boat to get back. And so they sat there for years, stuck. In life, friendships are the vehicle for getting back, helping you heal and bringing you into the fullness of community.
So in the interest of getting unstuck, here’s a simple guideline to help develop the friendships you need. You’ll be on your way to navigating off that uncharted desert island and back into civilization. I like to put it this way: A-S-K.
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 just means 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. 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 journey than getting outside ourselves and serving others this way. Just remember 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 and sisters (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 invite into your journey share your faith and core values in Christ.
As a Christ follower, I have only to look to Him for guidance on what the character of a true friend is like. I’m thankful He doesn’t take auditions for whom 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.
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© Renee Dallas.