"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.