A couple of weeks ago, I began hosting a Bible study in my home with a few friends. I explained to them that my heart for this study was to open my doors to women and mommas who are always serving others.
I wanted to give these friends just a few hours on a Saturday morning to be served themselves. I make breakfast, we drink lots of coffee and just share real life. We all need that sometimes, don’t we?
I see memes that joke about how difficult it making friends is in our 20s and 30s. I saw one that was so true. It said, “Adult friendship is two people saying, ‘I haven’t seen you in forever — we need to hang out more’ over and over again until one of you dies.”
I laughed — but it really is far too easy to make plans and then cancel, simply because something always comes up or you’re just too tired/anti-social/you name the excuse.
But what I have really learned in the past five years, and what this book reiterates, is that if you want to have a good friend, you have to be willing to go first.
The study we’re going through is called We Saved you a Seat by Lisa Jo-Baker. It talks about finding and keeping lasting friendships by imitating the love that God has for us.
I love this quote from the book: “As much as you might try to quit it, friendship is literally woven into your bones. With every breath you take, you are entirely dependent on the life breathed into you by a God whose entire existence is a living, breathing, friendship of three [Father, Son & Holy Spirit.] He has designed friendship into your DNA, so trying to cut friendship out of your life is like trying to cut a piece of yourself out of yourself. It will hurt. It will leave open wounds. It’s not healthy for your soul.”
The first topic the girls and I discussed was the difficulty of making lasting friendships as women — especially busy women — who are juggling motherhood, marriage, careers or life in general. It can be so challenging to maintain solid friendships.
Jesus Was Never Too Busy for Making Friends
One of the points that completely convicted my heart in the study was the relationship that Jesus had with busyness. Even when He was headed to do something important, we never see once in scripture that He expressed to someone that he was “too busy” for them.
People were Jesus’ priority.
He never responded with agitation or frustration.
He responded with genuine grace.
He spoke to the people with patience and he loved them with an unconditional and selfless love.
A lot of the time we wear our busy lives as a badge of honor. We may think that it displays popularity or accomplishment. Oftentimes it just makes us seem as if we’re needed.
But while we flash the badge of busyness to represent something we consider good, it nearly always does the opposite and compels people to turn the other way.
If we’re honest, friendship and people just aren’t always a priority for us. We worry more about the state of our homes than the state of our relationships. If we want to have real, lasting relationships, we have to stop justifying our lack of community with our full schedules.
So what does that look like for us when a friend needs us to babysit their kids and it’s the last thing we want or have time to do?
Or when we already have a million things going on but someone from church is struggling in their marriage and just needs a friend?
Are you there for people in the ways that you would want someone to be there for you?
Or have you been too busy focusing on your to-do list that you’ve lost sight of the people that God has called you to love?
Friendship Love Languages
It is common for us to love people in the way that we feel most loved. If we really enjoy receiving gifts, it’s likely that we will give gifts to other people because we know that that makes us feel special. But is it what makes your friend feel special?
I asked each of the girls in Bible Study to tell me their top two love languages. I was surprised to find that some of my closest friends had love languages that were completely different from what I would expect them to be.
The Five Love Languages include: Gifts, Quality Time, Words of Encouragement, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service and Touch. Mine is quality time!
I encourage you to ask your friends what their top to love language is and to share yours with them. Ask for examples of ways to love them well. This gives us a better idea on how to serve our friends in the way that they need it most.
The “I’m Good” Response
It is so common to walk in [through] the doors of church and to say, “How are you?“ And for the other person to respond with, “I’m good.“
But what do these words do? They shut down any further conversation. And it’s almost set up. Because when someone responds with, “I’m fine” then we feel obligated to say that we’re fine as well.
But when we are honest, and not afraid to be vulnerable with people in our lives, it gives the opportunity for others to be vulnerable with us.
Most of us aren’t always good, are we? We all have things going on at all times. And we all need someone to talk to, someone to point us to truth and someone to love us in hard seasons. So we have to get past the superficial answer of I’m good when we aren’t doing good.
Let us pursue real, authentic relationships with people and get away from the surface level fellowship.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. What is your friendship love language? What is something that someone has done for you that made you feel incredibly loved?
Thank you all so much for reading and I’m so excited about this blog series! I hope you are too!
A version of this post about making friends originally appeared at sparrowsandlily.com, published with permission.