Is friendship essential to the soul? Essential, as a word, indicates something that is vital, fundamental, a lifeblood, or a necessity. Does this describe what a friend is or should be to us? I dare say we put too much value in creation and things of this earth, including people such as our friends.
When we value someone to the degree that they are a necessity or a crucial need in our lives, we’ve placed them higher than they should be. With a demand so strong, we risk hindering both our life and that of those we cling so tightly to.
What is the purpose of friendship, what part do we play as a friend, and what is our friend’s role in our life? Are we able to heal them when they’re hurting? Can we protect them when tragedy strikes? Do we keep guard when enemies threaten? Are we peacemakers when life overwhelms? Strength, wisdom, peace, hope, and encouragement are all sought from friends or expected of us by others. However, all of these are not, or should not be, our functions in life.
We’ll be sorely disappointed if we cling to another person and expect them to fulfill a role for us they’re not meant to. They cannot meet all of our needs. By letting our unfulfilled expectations be known, expectations that cannot fully be achieved by anyone, we impose the impression of failure on our friends, inflicting disappointment on them.
When we try to be the best friend, offering advice, giving guidance, and trying to be what we think others would want of us, we fall short, struggle to keep up the façade, and find ourselves stressed out and anxious. We can’t possibly be all to all or even all to one other person. It’s exhausting and leads to unhappiness in ourselves and our friendships.
Imagine if we treated friendships as freedom, allowing someone a safe place to simply be. We should listen without judgement or offering opinion. God’s whisper of direction can then be heard by our friend. We should treat friendships as an extension of ourselves by being present to uplift and pray with one another in times of rejoicing or struggle. Where two or more are gathered together praising the Lord a sacred space is created.
Friendships, true and unconditional in nature, I believe, are blessings from God, rather than essential to the soul. They offer dimension to our lives. They enrich the basics of living. Friends bring a layer to our humanity that feeds our personalities, challenges our comfort zones, and should keep us focused on God.
Don’t let friendships become exhausting.
God, however, is the One who is essential to our soul. He is our Creator, and He formed us with a need for a deep intimate connection with Him. We feel best, perform best, are healthiest in mind and soul when we live life as one with Him. It is God who should be our confidante, comforter, protector, and the source of our strength. These qualities of His are supernatural and become very powerful in the lives of His children.
As a friend, be there to encourage your friend to keep God, first and foremost, at their center no matter how difficult the circumstances. Be there to allow a safe place to vent. Not so that you can advise, but to let them hear their own voice and sense God’s response. We should rejoice together as God gives direction and praise God together as He comforts and imparts His peace during times of difficulty.
When we are that kind of friend, we grow in our own relationship with God. By directing others to the One who is essential to the soul, we are being fed as well. Our soul is filled to overflowing, and our friends benefit by that which overflows from our being, that is God. So, are friends essential to the soul? No, but a good friend will direct you to Him who is. Though we all want to be of value to someone, it takes a strong person to step aside and let God have that rightful place. He is essential to your soul.
In a moment life changes. That’s all it takes, a moment really. An accident, news from afar, a secret brought to light. Many things can happen that alter the course of life forever, leaving us derailed by tragedy.
How do you dress for that, the moment that changes life? I stood before my mirror, contemplating my outfit, my hairstyle. I applied my make-up with a feeling of melancholy tugging at my heart. The Christian music playing in the background of my mind encouraged me to, once again, trust what God was doing. I stepped down the stairs, ready as I’d ever be for whatever was coming.
“Stay where you are. Something very bad is coming. If you remain faithful to me, you will be truly blessed.” God had spoken those words to me long, long ago, and when bad came, though the storm was powerful, I never felt alone. Though rattled, I could not be shaken. God’s strength, peace, and direction had become my everything. The presence of God was the center of who I was.
He spoke to me once again, way back then, giving peace to my timid heart. It was in the words of a song, the direction that freed me. “The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth.” You see, I wasn’t going to win some big battle that would announce to the world that I’d done well. The fact was that I’d already won, because I had peace. Peace in the midst of chaos. Peace in the middle of the storm. Peace regardless of circumstances. In that moment of revelation and clarity, weight lifted from my shoulders. It had been a weight declaring that I’d failed. It’d been a weight of segregation as I’d been left to fend for myself. It’d been a weight of loss, for the life I’d envisioned I was to live was not to be.
In that moment of clarity I realized that I was meant to be alone so God could be my strength. I was meant to love my enemy, because that is what God is, love. I was meant to endure loss of my own expectations, because I was not in control, God was.
Winds of Change are Present
When sudden change hits it can cripple the unsuspecting. Life becomes immediately out of control, overwhelming, and frightening. When today becomes instantly unfamiliar, a step toward tomorrow is beyond comprehension. How do you plan for such events? Is it in making sure your plans for future, finances, family matters, or work intentions are well prepared? Is it in reading about, studying, putting into practice good organizational skills? Is it in trying to control your life as well the lives of those who impact yours? If all of these things are worked toward, it would make sense that the unexpected changes that could potentially alter all for you would be less likely. If you strive to make your comfort zone safe and lessen the impact of outside influence, it would seem that chaos may be diverted. Wrong.
“In a moment” changes will happen to each of us. Are you prepared? Can you be prepared? All of the things we strive for in order to be in control will ultimately not be able to comfort us when that day comes. The work we’ve put into securing our futures won’t be capable of withstanding the overwhelming suddenness of change. Tragedy is beyond our control. Chaos is outside our ability to manage as it is beyond the realm of plans and organization. Whether you are a planner or a fly by the seat of your pants person, sudden life changes impact us all similarly. We struggle, we deny, we overthink and worry, we strive to find balance that stops the threat to sanity. No matter who we are or what we believe, we are all created beings and will face such days.
The answer of how to be prepared for and handle such a time is only found in relationship with God. He is the Answer. Whether you reach for Him during the time of struggle or partner with Him prior, He is the power that will see you through. Come close to God today. Knock on the door of His mansion. Seek a relationship with your Creator. Let His qualities, the very essence of Him, fill and comfort you. As a deeply intimate and personal relationship with God becomes established, you will grow in trust of Him and His will. When the sudden changes of life strike, you will have a Rock to stand on, a peace that passes all understanding, and sound guidance through haze and storm. No amount of personal planning and effort can compare as that is created by us. Only the presence of the Creator can calm the storm and straighten the confused path that chaos creates.
The day ended, no different than it had begun really. I brushed my teeth, contemplating how change is happening without me being yet aware. God works all things together to accomplish His will. This takes time. It takes a seemingly unrelated string of happenings to bring about God’s will. That takes years of various circumstances occurring, intertwining at some point, culminating in results that alter our lives. And many times things must appear far worse before they get better. I trust Him.
Though God’s will for my life back then was unlike the picture I’d had, trusting Him made all the difference in the world. He was with me when the earthly expectations of life faltered. He held me and led me through uncomfortable waters. The blessings He suggested I could enjoy have been realized. They aren’t in material, emotional, or financial gains. My blessings are experienced in this amazing relationship with a God who loves me. It’s abstract, intangible, supernatural, but oh so real.
Life doesn’t happen with a happily ever after slogan splashed across it. That just isn’t reality for most people. I’d imagine it isn’t for anyone. However, for those who keep their eyes on the Lord, there is a peace that makes the highs and lows of chaos nonexistent. In a moment life changes. That’s all it takes, but with God at your center, you will not be shaken. Your life will not be derailed by tragedy. May you be filled to overflowing with the light of God, enjoy His comfort during times of change, and trust His will, regardless of circumstances.