“Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.” Proverbs 17:17, The Message
Has God ever shown you that you needed to let go of a friendship, but instead of following His lead, you intentionally held onto them too long until it resulted in conflict? As a counselor, I often tell my clients, “When you set a boundary, someone will be hurt.” And although none of us like this truth, what we fail to see is that by NOT setting a boundary – we are the ones who are continually being hurt – over and over again! Boundaries may hurt people’s feelings but it will not harm them. Boundaries allow us to be authentic to ourselves and with others. Boundaries are a good thing and keep us and our friendships healthy.
I have found in my life that there are 3 types of friendships:
1. Friends for a moment.
2. Friends for a season.
3. Friends for a lifetime.
And believe it or not, all three types of friendship are just as important as the other. You may be thinking, “Come on Tracy, surely a lifetime friend is more valuable than a friend for a season or moment!” But, I beg to differ with you – each type of friendship is valuable in its own right.
A friend in the moment can impact you for eternity.
I will never forget sitting in a Chapel service at Mid-America Bible College. A young student presented the gospel. I don’t even remember his name, but through his message and invitation, I accepted Jesus as my Savior – he was a friend for a moment that has impacted my life for eternity. Years later a beautiful blonde intercessor prayed over me and declared “Tracy, you are not a misfit, you may not have fit into your father’s or mother’s plans but you fit into God’s plans.” Her words still ring within my being and although she remains a nameless friend for a moment – I will never forget her or her words.
A friend for a season can also impact you more than you know.
I had a best guy-friend named Wayne during my college years. He greatly prepared me for my husband. His friendship brought needed healing and restoration in my life – he was an amazing friend for a season. And although our season ended due to us establishing healthy boundaries once we both became married, I will forever be grateful for his friendship in the “right” season. You see, when seasons change, friendships can change or may even need to come to an end, but it’s okay – the Lord giveth and taketh away – blessed be the name of the Lord.
The thing about friendships is that we too often try and keep “right” people in a “WRONG” season. Or how about this one – how many of us expect everyone we are friends with to act like our friends for a lifetime? I will never forget when a friend failed to ask me about a recent speaking engagement. She knew about the event, but never inquired about it. After much prayer, God clearly showed me that I was wrong by expecting her to act like my friends for a lifetime – who ALWAYS pray and ask about my speaking engagements.
A friend for a lifetime is a treasured jewel.
These you can count on one hand. They are the individuals who know you, your strengths, your weaknesses, your passions, your deepest secrets and longings. They celebrate the good times and weep with you in the dark times. They do not keep a record of wrongs, always give you the benefit of the doubt, they are there for you 24/7 and no matter how much time has passed you can pick up with them right where you left off. These are the treasured jewels of life.
Today I would like to honor all of my friendships. Whether you have been a friend for a moment, a season or for a lifetime: I honor you and I am a better person because of you – thank you!
As women of God, it is time for us to let go of wrong, out of season, relationships and and grab onto God with all of our might! God is the One person I can declare is your Friend for a lifetime! Selah (pause and think about that for a moment). Jesus is the One who is always on our side. He is cheering you on from heaven and intercedes for you when no one else does. Jesus is the friend that you are all longing for – grab onto Him and trust that He will give you wisdom in all your friendships.
“Lord, thank you for being my friend and Savior for a lifetime. You are always with me and I love you. I give you my friendships and ask that You forgive me for placing my hope in them rather than in You. Show me who my friends are for a lifetime, season and moment. I acknowledge today that each level of friendship is important in my life. I let go of childish things – offense, rejection, trying to defend myself, he said – she said conversations, gossip, criticism, and the such and grab onto You – the author and finisher of my faith. Amen.”