Are Your Friends Truly Your Friends?
The reality is that you’ll become close to people you would’ve never imagined knowing and lose people you thought would have been there for you forever. God brings people into your life as either blessings or for your growth.
Some people are just seasons and that’s perfectly fine – but I couldn't help but desire more from the friendships within my own life. I wanted that brother or sister in Christ that would be there to build me up in my faith, to challenge and strengthen me in times of distress and ultimately, to pursue Heaven with.
Proverbs 27:17 states “Iron sharpens Iron, so one person sharpens another.” yet what I noticed was that some of my friendships were feeling blunt and worn down.
The reason why we as a generation suck at cultivating true, virtuous friendships is because we’re constantly trying to compete with each other. Everyone’s motivation is to be the best and better than the rest. But what we don’t realise is that this motivation is self-serving. Virtuous friendships, however, are rather the opposite – selfless.
It takes time for true friendships to blossom. You cannot expect to plant seeds and for it to just grow out of nowhere without feeding it time, love and generosity. But, when you allow God to be the light of your relationship, you will see sturdy growth. When the roots are Christ centred, you will cultivate real friendships.
During a tough season in my life, there was this tree analogy that really spoke to me and changed my perception of the people I was surrounding myself with. It outlined three types of friends as parts of a tree – the leaves, branches and roots.
The leaves are perhaps the least virtuous. These are the people who are only there for a small season of your life and since they are weak, you can’t depend on them. They take what they need but as soon as it gets cold or wind blows in your life they are gone. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but they weren’t necessarily “true” long-lasting friendships.
The branches, although much stronger than leaves, are perhaps the ones you need to test out. They will stick around most of the time, but they’ll break away when it gets too tough or a storm comes into your life since they can’t carry the heavy weight with you. It’s just the way they are…
The last but the most special kind of friends are the roots. Although, hard to find like the roots of a tree, their role is to support and strengthen you. If you ever go through an awful storm, they will hold you up. They will nourish, feed and water you. But just as a tree has many branches and leaves, there are very few roots.
That’s when I realised, I needed God to open up my eyes to people who weren’t particularly my “first choice”. I needed God to reveal to me which of my friends were true roots. I needed God to take away friends that had been in my life for long periods of time but were no longer helping me. Deep down, I knew that that season was over and a new one was beginning but I was being complacent because they were the "safe" option. I needed God to make room in my life for more virtuous friendships.
When I prayed asking God to reveal these friends to me, I went through a period of loneliness. It felt as if that external comfort which I clang to and received from those previous types of friends were no longer satisfying enough. I’d admit the process was pretty daunting at first, but I reminded myself that God never takes something good out of your life, without plans for replacing it with better.
But looking back, that season was only preparing me to open my heart to new virtuous friendships rather than hold on to what was "mediocre". God knew the deepest desires of my heart and slowly but surely, He provided some amazing people in my life - the kind which I now refer to as my brothers and sisters in Christ.
You are likely going to have a lot of acquaintances but how many true friends can you depend on? There’s always going to be friends that are like leaves and branches – but you make the choice whether you want to settle or strive to find the true roots. Or, maybe you could even reach out to others and be the roots for them...
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