Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Friendship Thing

 "And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you if you heed the voice of the Lord your God."   ... Deuteronomy 28:2


So! The subject of friendship came up in yesterday's comment box, spurring ol' Debra to share her many and varied thoughts.

Before age 35, I collected friends like some ladies collect state spoons. I wrote letters by the hundreds to folks I'd left behind in Nevada and California and--as for my new friends here in New York--when they had out-of-town company, I'd become bummed-out because that meant zero chance of going out for coffee until their (annoying) visitors returned home. (Yikes! I know.)

The days the mailbox didn't hold letters for me were sad days. The fact that I could never seem to form a Lucy and Ethel type of friendship bugged me. Majorly. Probably? Probably God foiled some friendships, told some folks not to write or visit, because He wanted me to wake-up and see I didn't need more friends--I needed more of Him.

"Hi. My name is Debra." (Hi Debra.) "I was a friendship addict." :)

And oh.... For two decades I saw the addiction, felt it, but didn't want to admit it. Didn't know how to kick it.

Then came 1994 and wow! During the world-wide Christian renewal years, Jesus gave me (and a few million other people) such an enormous love for Him. And over time, the chains of Friendship Addiction fell off, I felt free (indeed!) and just having Jesus for a friend felt like enough. More than, actually.

And for awhile--a season--Jesus kept me to Himself. I spent oodles of hours hanging-out with Him in my room or on walks, sometimes reading the Bible, sometimes watching/listening to great teaching. He had a ton of things to rebuild inside me, 'Christian structures' which I'd built dreadfully wrong by myself. Some time was involved, some pain and humility, also, but I didn't mind. Finally I'd formed a friendship with Jesus, something I'd assumed was impossible for me.

And after that alone-with-Jesus season? Not only did I come away with the best new, most-satisfying friendship ever, but my Real people friends had waited for me and the Unreal ones had impatiently walked away. 

And suddenly everything, everyone, felt like enough. I had enough friends, they had enough time for me. Why? Because Jesus was now everything to me and when you have everything? All else feels like leftovers, all else feels like extra blessings.  

And what I found is that blessings are nice, but not vital. I'm not to seek them, but rather, I'm to seek after knowing God better. To becoming closer.

But the wild thing? That's when blessings start dropping like rain--after we place God in the number 1 spot. He so enjoys releasing presents into the lives of His kids, the ones who will keep them in perspective. The ones who will keep Jesus first no matter how many blessings (or friends) He hands down to them simply out of love.

God is the God of more than enough. More than enough friends, even. I've found that to be very true.


"Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."   ... Matthew 6:33

"A friend loves at all times..."   ...Proverbs 17:17


And yes, times and people have changed and perhaps as we grow older, friendship, itself, changes. But since this isn't true for everyone, I would hesitate to say it's a fact. 

For one thing? Tom's never been one to have lots of friends and yet now? Now he has more friendships than I've ever seen him have in all our decades together. 

Believe it or not, I've looked over at him in his recliner many times lately and have told him, "You've been texting your friends for ages! How about paying some attention to me, for a change?" 

Boy, after 34 years together, that feels really weird, indeed! :)

So hey, you never know. Never say never... and all that. 



Rita said...

Debra, Thank you. This was good and gives us food for thought. I had not given friendship addiction a thought. That could very well be the case here. Mother use to tell me "no one will ever want you." All that is behind me now. But hey it could very much be one of the reasons I am compelled to make more and more friends. The need to be wanted must have never gone away. I have been closer to God in the last few years and have felt a peace about life in general. This post was an eye opener.

Lori Alexander said...

Amen! Knowing Jesus better day by day is the best use of our time.

Echoes From the Hill said...

I think that when we are young and have young children, we make lots of friends with people just like us. We can talk about our husbands and our kids and prop each other up through difficulties.
When we reach the empty nest stage, we don't need each other as much, and we move on to other things. We have more time to be spiritual and reflect on other things.

I have a "best friend" with whom I have been very close since we were eleven. She is the sister I never had. I have other friends, but I don't have the desire to have a large group of friends to talk to, shop with, or just spend time with.
That phase of life is behind me. I really don't miss it, but enjoyed it while it was important to me.
Hopefully, as we age, we become more confident and comfortable with ourselves and don't need that constant validation from others.

Much food for thought.


Anonymous said...

I have heard that if in the course of one's whole life they have 5 true friends (not necessarily all at the same time) that is all one can expect. And truthfully we cannot be as close to people when we have MANY...heh, though that has not generally been my problem. I do believe we live in a time that it is harder to form close relationships, in part due to the stresses of our time, etc. Remember the old song that went something like: "If you cannot be with the one you love; love the one you are with?" We had friends from our first few years (also the military time of our life) that were so close I did not think anything would ever change that. Yet, when they moved away, all of them pretty much forgot who we were. I do not think it was any problem...they were just busy with loving the ones they were with. Though it is good to be friends of folks locally, still to me, it is a good thing to hang onto our old friends too, even if we move a continent away (as we did a decade ago). We have SO many ways to keep in contact now...all cheaper than when we got married over 40 years ago now too. I find now that my hubby has retired, my friendship with him is taking up a huge part of time that I had when he was working. Yet, it is welcome and I am glad for that. I do TRY to keep some contact yet, tho' it is less, with my gal pals. Nice to read your viewpoint on such in this blog entry.
Elizabeth in VA now

Pat said...

Do you know the old song, "friendship with Jesus, fellowship divine! Oh what blessed sweet commuion, Jesus is a friend of mine". We are never without a friend!
Tom reminds me of my husband, all of a sudden he has several friends and he too sits in his recliner and texts them!

Anonymous said...

When we began volunteer work we got in with a group that led to other things with them at times. Between that and just living,.. time is taken up. I do have a few other people we are in contact with but only one is personally close. That at this time in my life feels fine. I find myself talking {silently} to God all through each day and so He is with me and constantly in my mind so I feel I am never alone. People have looked at me strangely many a time as I will say "thank you Jesus!" out loud. If I start to trip but don't or what ever the reason I want to again thank Him the words just come out of my mouth. I love being out and about and over hearing people pray before their meal or talk about God or how God is working in their church etc. If I get a chance I have found myself thanking them for speaking up for God where others might over hear. That is the one instance I find myself un introverted. I am sooo happy to hear His name used in a loving way I want to encourage that so I speak up and say thanks. Odd maybe but that is just me. Sarah

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I think you are too sacrilegious in your references to our Lord Jesus. We should show Him our utmost respect and reverence. He is worthy of it. He is far more than "the guy next door" we talk about.


Debra said...

Thank-you, Everyone, for your thoughts about friendship. I've enjoyed reading them and seeing where you are coming from.

Beth--I am sorry you feel that way... and that is all I'll say about that.

Blessings, Debra