Tag Archives: friendship

Saying Goodbye to a Friendship

19 Jun

There is no easy way to do that, is there?  

It happens to all of us every once in a while.

Even people like me who, through multiple military moves all over the U.S. and Europe, managed to stay plugged in to some of my high school and college friends (more of them now that Facebook has been invented!!!).  

Truth be known, I collect friends.  I have never voluntarily walked away from anyone (I did, at one point, distance myself for a while from a woman I was mentoring who was pretending to be a totally different person than she actually was.  Playing that game with her wasn’t helping anyone.  And finding out she was deceiving her husband, along with me, took a while to digest).

 

But, the fact is that friendship is voluntary and even those of us who don’t fire our friends may find ourselves being fired.  A part of life.

That does not ease the heartbreak when it happens.

It might be because the friend did not agree with a decision we made and felt she had to withdraw from us in protest.

It might be due to a clumsy action, or clumsy words, that were misconstrued and which the friend felt could not be overcome within the context of friendship.  He might feel he simply can’t forgive us.

It might be due to a firefight between two other people where sides are being chosen up and we are just part of the collateral damage.

That last one is a most unfortunate case, in my opinion, because it is hard to not struggle with bitterness when it turns out that a good friendship ends due to someone else giving the friend an ultimatum.   

I mean, it just brings back memories of middle school if someone asks your friend to drop you and she seemingly responds “Okay, whatever you want”!  

And, truthfully, many middle schoolers don’t even drop friends on command.  I have heard more than one young person stand up to an ultimatum by saying, “I am sorry you don’t like A, but I do like A.  I am remaining friends with her.  You will have to decide what you are going to do about that, because I am not making any changes.”  

But . . . we don’t own our friends–they get to choose their actions.  Even actions that seem like they belong in middle school.

And friendships end because people change.  Even when we are not the one who changed.

The decision we have at such a time is between bitterness and letting God grow us in the loss of that friendship.  He has promised that all things work together for good for those of us who love Him.  That is all things.  No restrictions.

He will heal our heartbreak over lost friendship and He will also fill those holes in our soul where that person’s influence used to dwell.  Face it, we are not islands and we do well to let others into our hearts, even when they leave parts of them shredded when they depart.

The thing we most don’t want to do, when facing loss of friendship, is vow that we will never let anyone that close again.  When we close ourselves off, we may avoid some painful situations, but we stop being fully human and fully alive, too.

Yes, friendships are, and will always be, a risk.

We will have times we need to draw back and grieve over times we once knew that are no more. 

But, in God, we will survive those times intact, and be even stronger than before.  

He is with us, always.

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Ladies’ Thursday: Friendships Between the Genders, Part II

3 Jan

Ladies’ Thursday: Friendships Between the Genders, Part II

I Timothy 5:1,2:  “Rebuke not an elder, but intreat [him] as a father; [and] the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.”

Actually, this post is Part II and the link is Part I.  Except I updated it over the New Year’s holiday so I guess it really is Part II.

And this addendum is just to make sure I imbue my list with a reality check.  Like almost all Baby Boomers,  I love lists.  We can be very linear and very task-oriented so lists can really amp up our brains!!!

But God transcends all cultures and all eras and He has merely told us that we are to treat each other with respect.  Or, as the above Scriptures say, we are to treat those who are our elders as mothers and fathers in the faith.  Those who are our peers are to be treated as brothers and sisters.

That is God’s instruction about how to manage relationships between the genders.  That, and His instruction to avoid impurity and sexual sin.

Beyond that, we have soul liberty to find and build our friendships where they work best for us.

Some may shudder at that much freedom.  “Give me a list of rules so I won’t crash and burn in sexual sin.”  Well, actually, God (a real, alive, thriving relationship with God) will keep us from sexual sin.  Without that relationship, no list of rules will do much for us.

I gave my list in the earlier post (linked above) as some guidelines from my experience as a woman who has worked around a lot of men in a 27-year Navy career, then subsequent three-year career as a Navy contractor (so far!).

But I fear that my list, not being all-inclusive and not being tailored to the personality of every person reading it, will prove a snare to someone.  To one person, it might truncate her soul liberty when it doesn’t need to do that.  To another person, it might invite him into a casual approach to relationships that will ultimately help lead him to a fall.

I don’t want either of those to happen, so I offer my list in the understanding that we are all different and your mileage may vary (smile).

I will give one example.  My husband has no issues with going in a car with a female co-worker to meet clients, then stopping at a shopping club on the way back to the office to pick up things for both of their spouses.  I am a little more cautious than that.  I really don’t feel comfortable alone in a car with a male other than my husband or my son.  That is just me.  And I honor that in myself and take separate cars whenever possible.  The exception would be when I travel with male colleagues and don’t have my own rental car.  I do sometimes wind up in a car alone with a male coworker under those conditions.  But that is all right.  God knows my heart and my comfort zone and He helps me be where I need to be to feel in step with Him.

The main things to remember are to not put yourself in a position where you or another person could be led astray by your flesh.  That would pretty much rule out being alone behind closed doors with a member of the opposite sex, except for your spouse.

And, as much as lies within you,  don’t let your freedom become an occasion for others to misunderstand your motives and gossip about you.  Some gossip is unavoidable.  People sometimes have boring little lives and look to others for material for conversation.

Just don’t purposely provide that for them!!!

Beyond that, if you make friends with someone of the opposite gender, realize that God is blessing you with that friendship!

Not everyone will have opposite gender friends.  Some men and women seem made to only have same gender relationships.  And that is okay.  Don’t try to force them into something unnatural for them.

At the same time, don’t let others lay guilt on you about having friendships that cross gender lines.  If you have already built godly controls into those relationships, then they are the business of you, your friend, your spouse, and your friend’s spouse.  Nobody else really needs to vote on them.

Have fun!

Christian Friendship: A Refreshing Drink of Water and More

2 Sep

This post, from our church blog, referred to a visit I made to California almost a year ago. I visited the same friend in Ohio just last week, and had exactly the same impressions. As I did visiting friends in Illinois earlier in the week. God is so good to give us lifelong companions in the faith!

Tabernacle for Today

Proverbs 25:25 says:  “As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.”
Proverbs 27:17 says:  “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”

I was able to prove the truth of both of those verses this week by a reunion with one of those “iron sharpener” friends out in California.  I was on a business trip and was not sure until the very last few hours that we were going to be able to pull our reunion off, but pull it off we did, as she drove in for more than two hours from the California desert to meet me at my hotel near the Los Angeles Airport.
While I appreciate many things about my friend, several stand out.  We always pray together, we always do a devotional together, sometimes just spontaneously picking up God’s Word and sharing a passage…

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