Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Friendship-The Naked Truth
By Ashley Moore
 
During my recent trip to the gorgeous beaches of Mexico, I had lots of time to reflect on the people who have come and those who have gone in my life. I have always considered my friends as part of my family...many of the people in my life have been there through thick and thin, but there are people who have gone and  I don't know what happened, or those relationships that ended ugly.
 
I love people and more so those that are closest to me. However, I have been at times one of the worst, selfish friends to those who I have considered to be my best of friends. This makes me feel remorseful, embarrassed, unworthy and often full of anxiety. I have hurt people I care for most, sometimes unintentionally and other times out of anger or frustration. I have asked for genuine forgiveness and all I can do is wait now.
 
I am continually amazed by the way that women think and the way we are hypocritical and just as disrespectful as the person we may be talking about. We want others to be quick to forgive us and yet, when we have been hurt, we refuse to accept the apology or ignore the situation all together. We break each others trust and may even use "words" to say that we have forgiven those that have hurt us, but our actions still speak louder than words and the grudges we hold only make us more bitter and less able to truly forgive and let go.
 
I sat thinking about my own issues I've experienced and then got to thinking of other possible  reasons that there are issues in friendships and the bottom line and the NAKED TRUTH is:  INSECURITY!!! While I may have great poise, I have the worst insecurity! My mom used to tell me that I pushed people's buttons to test them and see if they would stick around no matter what. This I know as an adult and have been more aware of that truth and have been in tune to my actions the last year; although a gradual process. We all struggle with insecurity to some extent...it just may show it's ugly head in different ways. I recently started reading the book:
 
"So Long, Insecurity" By Beth Moore
" An unhealed heart grows hard...."
"To be SECURE, we have to know that that there is one person who will always be there...."
"Accepting the forgiveness that Jesus has given...ONCE AND FOR ALL....and then we don't have to take offense at every little thing.
 
Just a few things I have taken away from this book so far.
 
How do we find genuine friendships?
 
"How can we find true friendship in this often phony, temporary world? Friendship involves recognition or familiarity with another's personality. Friends often share likes and dislikes, interests, pursuits, and passion."

"How can we recognize potential friendship? Signs include a mutual desire for companionship and perhaps a common bond of some kind. Beyond that, genuine friendship involves a shared sense of caring and concern, a desire to see one another grow and develop, and a hope for each other to succeed in all aspects of life. True friendship involves action: doing something for someone else while expecting nothing in return; sharing thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment or negative criticism."


Real and true friendship involves freedom of choice, accountability, truth, and forgiveness. Peter and Jesus give us this example: Peter, afraid for his life after Jesus is led away from the Garden of Gethsemane, denies knowing Jesus (John 18). As He is led away by His accusers, Jesus casts a look toward Peter that says, "I knew you would deny Me, and I forgive you" (John 21).

Real friendship looks at the heart, not just the "packaging." Genuine friendship loves for love's sake, not just for what it can get in return. True friendship is both challenging and exciting. It risks, it overlooks faults, and it loves unconditionally, but it also involves being truthful, even though it may hurt. Genuine friendship, also called "agape" love, comes from the Lord. The Lord Jesus calls us His friends and He laid down His life for us (John 15).

Relationships in real life involve different levels of friendships, and that's okay. But humans are designed by God for lasting relationships. Often our isolationist society offers only vague, empty relationships. God wants us to have friends here on earth. Most of all, He wants us to be friends with Him!

God's Word tells us that a friend sticks closer than a brother, and that in order for one to be a friend, one must show themselves friendly (Proverbs 18:24). The question is: what type of friend do you desire to be?

Proverbs 18:19 in the New Living Translation says: "It's harder to make amends with an offended friend than to capture a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with iron bars." When we've offended a true friend - whether by breaking a trust or by speaking the truth with love - we risk losing that friendship. We must be careful not to break the trust. But when not speaking the truth will cause greater hurt in our friend's life, we must be willing to sacrifice our needs for those of our friend. That is true friendship.

If we sometimes offend a friend without meaning to, God's Word offers a solution. It's called forgiveness. There is no greater example than the love of God for us. It is so great that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, in order that our friendship with God might be restored. He did that in spite of the fact that we have offended Him deeply. We have disobeyed His commands, turned our backs on Him, and followed our own path. So the question remains: What type of friend do you want to be? True Christian friendship forgives.

How do we seek forgiveness
from those that we have deeply hurt?
I could not have said it better than Dr. Don Dunlap
Click here for his words of wisdom!

I have really had to search my heart and see what I did to contribute to certain issues with friends I've hurt. Reaching out is the first thing I have done after seeking forgiveness from my heavenly father. That is all we can do at that point. Admit where you were wrong, apologize and pray that their hearts are opened. My heart aches for those that I've lost due to my own doing or to their doing. I choose to live in peace and freedom knowing that I have been forgiven by my heavenly Father.
 
When is it ok to let people go?
This question has always been difficult for me. I do NOT let people go without a easily and generally not without putting up a good fight first. I have learned though, it is ok and healthy to do so.
Reason, Season or a Lifetime
People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.
When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.
Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

— Unknown

 Ways that will build strong, lasting friendships
 I could not be more thankful for the people in my life who have forgiven, continue to love and encourage me despite my mistakes and ugly human tendencies! You know who you are!! I HAVE SO MUCH to learn regarding what it takes be a "true" Friend to those in my life and around me!

Ways that will build strong, lasting friendships:
1. Always be there, even in silence.
2. Be kind and listen. Be fun and light. Be serious when needed, love extensively, and forgive always.
3. Don’t be scared to tell each other the truth no matter how difficult it may be.
4. Guide each other in times of need with your honest opinions.
5. A true friend is someone who always listens and is genuinely interested in the good and bad, and someone who calls or writes just to say hello.
6. Be loyal in confidence and character, always open and inviting to share concerns, always honest even if you disagree.
7. A true friend tries his best to cheer you up when you are upset and makes you feel special.
8. Try and improve their life though your friendship.
9. Be who you truly are—be that vulnerable–and provide the other person the space, safety and choice to do the same.
10. Be genuinely happy when they get, receive, or achieve something you truly desire.
11. Share the truth in your heart, without the fear of misunderstandings.
12. Be loyal and forgive but above all: love and respect.
13. Accept the person as they are, as an individual, without conditions. Also, as important as it is for you to be there for them, sometimes you have to be willing to let them be there for you.
14. Remain friends despite a person’s choices in life and don’t bail on them when they aren’t who you want them to be.
15. A true friend always supports the person but doesn’t feel compelled to support the situation. A true friend knows how and when to say the firm, “No.”
16. Help yourself and those closest to you grow. To live means to grow, and a true friend is someone that you can honestly say has helped define you as an individual.
17. Celebrate the wins and being there to support the losses. Keep your word and acknowledge it when you don’t.
18. Walk in to a friend’s aid when others are walking out.
20. Show up! You can pretend to care but you cannot pretend to show up.
21. A true friend is someone you feel as comfortable with as you do when you are by yourself. No illusions, no holding back.
22. Be there for the other person in the same way you would be there for yourself. Granted, if you can’t be there for yourself, that’s probably something you should address first.
23. Don’t let your own stuff get in the way. The ego is powerful.
24. Know someone’s least admirable characteristics and still love and support them.

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