emergingfree

Christian and Socially-Conscious…One Woman's Expression

Archive for the tag “friendship”

Betrayal From A Known Place

Have you ever disowned someone you loved, someone only months before you would fight for?  I have.  I could write story after story about broken relationships—things you would relate to—but I will spare you those narratives.  There is another point-of interest that captures my attention, an area of prayer where I am growing.

Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!”  Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed.  The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter.  Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.”  And he went outside and wept bitterly.  —Luke 22:60-62

At the end of every year I review my relationships, particularly those with people I consider friends.  Several years ago, I discovered that I had developed a particular pattern with a “person”.  Each year, this “person” would change, but every year I would meet someone during the same part of the year.  We would be close from the jump as if we had known each other before, but by the year’s end we would not speak.  Isn’t that strange?  How could you be so close and within twelve months be so far apart?

peace

Once I realized that this happened year-after-year, I began to spot this “person”.  This awareness helped me in that at the end of the year I would note the situation causing the breakdown, but because I knew it would happen I was prepared for its occurrence.  The emotional sting I felt in preceding years was no longer there.  I simply moved on, never considering that that person would care enough to mourn.  Now, I am reconsidering my stance.  (Pray for me.)

Rest

The reality of life is, no one is perfect.  People will make mistakes straining relationships with even their closest loved ones.  I have made mistakes.  You have made mistakes.  We all have made them.  This understanding, however, leads me to my point of reconsideration.  Jesus knew Peter would betray Him and therefore prayed for him.

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.  And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” —Luke 22:31-32

Admittedly, there were many years when I identified this “person” and failed to pray over our relationships.  (Note, to pray for the “person” is different than praying over the “relationship”.  Both are necessary.)  This pains me really, but I thank God for growth.  I first had to learn to pay attention to divine relationships.  Then, I needed to understand how vital it is to constantly pray over them.  We have work to do!  In truth, nobody is happy about divine relationships being damaged but Satan.  Ah, but I have found the blessing in knowing betrayal from a known place so I will do better.  Will you?

Relationship Differences

Relationships, I never took them lightly;  Now, I am not sure if I can take them any more seriously.  Associations are the difference between life and death.  Who wants to LIVE?  I do!

Friends

Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.  Luke 22:3

As a child, it was vital that I believed that my friends cared about my life.  As far as I was concerned, family –well– I was stuck with those people, so even if they got shady we would still be connected but friends –well– I could drop them and keep moving.  There would always be new friends to meet, right?  There are always people looking to laugh and have fun.  There are always people looking to connect.  Friends are just a hello away… or so I thought.

Without knowing it, I developed a hard-line habit of emotionally and (sometimes) physically detaching at the first hint of me questioning a friendship’s reliability.  Rarely would my friends question my change in behavior.  This lack of concern confirmed within me my right behavior.  Life went on.  The cycle continued.

Thank God for growth and grace!  As I began to understand me more, I began to understand what kinds of people I wanted to grow with.  As such, the more I understood my spiritual gifts and talents, the more I began to understand what kinds of people I needed to grow with.  I began to understand the difference and importance in having divine relationships versus those which are also great but are in fact spiritually secular.  (Note, sharing the same faith is not the lone criteria.)  I needed to find peace and clarity with knowing that there are numerous personalities and people who I can have fun and laugh with, spend time and play with, work and relax with, but divine relationships are appointed to build God’s kingdom and advance His purpose.  I needed to commit to live my faith with the people God assigns to sharpen me and I them for His purpose, one greater than us.  The more I stand in agreement with this, the more I find myself consciously and continuously praying for clarity and protection regarding these sacred relationships, as well as over myself.  Why?  Simply put, I believe.

Listen, we pray over people we do not know.  We pray over things that are transient.  We pray over solutions to problems and for cures to diseases and over prayer lists and over our churches and over our church Family, yet how many of us pray over our divine relationships?  How many of us know the differences between divine relationships and secular ones?  Note, there are differences.

Satan will try to enter anybody and anything following the Lord, even one of Jesus’ Twelve.  Make no mistake about it.  He will try to enter me and he will try to enter you.  Spiritual warfare is real.  We must do better with our journeymates.  A temporary distraction can lead to irreversible repair.

My 2015: Friendships

That time of year has come when I take some time to re-evaluate my year.  A year ago, I was determined to make some major changes and some major progress.  My spirit had reached the point where it was no longer interested in playing second fiddle to anyone or anything.  I knew that I was overdue in accepting God’s love and its manifestations in my life.  Sure, I had been saying for a number of years prior that I wanted all that God wanted to bless me with and I wanted to be a blessing to others.  The being a blessing to others part came easier for me.  Well, at least I was half way there right?

2014

My first test came early and it was in the area of people.  (How fitting!)  You see, I had walked away from one of my closest and dearest friends because of what turned out to be a misunderstanding.  (OK.  OK.  I was in the mindset of NO DRAMA FROM NOWHERE!  You can go!  You can go!  You can go too!)  My friend fought for our friendship though and in doing so I gained a greater awareness of the responsibility of friendship.

Friends

How many of your friends would truly fight to keep you in their lives because they see the mutual benefit?  (It is important that there is a mutual benefit.)  How many call you or send an email or text when they have not heard from you in a while?  How many do you treasure enough to make sure they are alright, that you pray for, that you walk close enough with to notice their absence and would put action behind your care to secure their presence?

Being attentive to my traveling buddies would be a continuous project in this new year (and beyond).  Having gained a deeper appreciation of friendship—of what it means to me—and an opportunity to exercise forgiveness, I have been able to both expand my networking circle and be clear about my friendships.  It has been interesting in that I have been able to accurately label my relationships with people and my purposes in those roles.  When you know that your purpose is to help others, this awareness is vital.  Being clear of my role and responsibilities has made me a better person.

BW.face

Later in the year I would see how this experience would make it possible for me to be the friend asking for forgiveness in another situation.  (The thought precedes the action.)  Nobody is perfect.  Even those who truly love you make mistakes.  In this world where acts of terror get front page coverage, take a moment to assess the relationships in your lives.  Time is precious.  Make sure to invest it in those you treasure.  It is funny how life prepares you.

peace

 

Friendship, In Black and White

As many of you know, I recently read an article on Franklin McCallie written by Joan Garrett McClane.  I absolutely loved reading the article because it spoke, with great honesty, about an oftentimes sensitive subject.  One of the things it initiates reflection upon is the idea of friendship across racial lines.  What does it mean to you?

I think about relationships, and in turn friendships, a lot.  Once a year, at least, I go through my list of associations and make decisions regarding who to delete and who to keep.  Normally it happens in December, but sometimes I do it when Spring Cleaning.  #funny  #NOTfunny  My reasons for doing this may surprise you, but they are not for this writing.

Friends

As I sit here, I am thinking of when I first had a non-Black, real-life friend.  I say “real-life” because I had both Black and non-Black dolls to play with as a small child.  Now, I wonder how many of my non-Black friends had Black dolls to play with, and how either having them or not having them affected (if at all) how quickly they gravitated towards people of darker complexions.  Interesting, right?

When I started elementary school, my classes were integrated, as were my teachers.  As a kindergartener, I made my first non-Black friend.  Of course, then I did not think twice about varying skin tones.  My family has a complexion range so wide that such things, even to this day, does not result in the reaction so commonly portrayed in mainstream medias.

Because I have lived in several States as a child, I got the benefit of appreciating diversity amongst people and cultures at a very early age.  I also understood at an early age that just because two may look alike, they may be worlds apart.  Of course, it is easy to get this same message when looking within one’s family, but I have come to realize that people more commonly generalize externally.

Fortunately, throughout life I have maintained the practice of having a “United Nations” entourage of friends.  I prefer it like this.  As a result, such things as attending multi-cultural churches is done with ease; Eating and hanging out with both Black and non-Black people comes naturally; Working in my profession is not jarring.  These experiences make me a more exposed person which enhances my personal growth.

Now, there have been both comfortable and uncomfortable moments.  For me, however, the good outweighs the bad.  When I select friendships, it is less about the color of one’s skin.  I look at the contents of his/her character.  Wait!  There is a second part.  I am not foolish.  I understand that someone may have good character, but may use a reasoning when confronted with certain scenarios, like “race”, that would weaken the foundation which I must have strong.  You see, with my friends I must trust that no matter what, I am safe.  This world is full of wolves in sheep clothing.  An enemy can be nice, but a brother will go to battle.  This to me is not a skin color issue.  It is not about Black and White.  It is about that thing in the middle.  It is an issue of trust.

To join this discussion group, if you have Facebook, send an email to emergingfree@gmail.com to receive an invite.

Female Friends

Female friends…thank God I have them.  I have heard numerous stories, negative portrayals, of women by women about how we relate to one another.  Sure, at times I am left confused by our interactions in workplace environments (but I will again address that at another time).  Likewise, there are those moments when we pass each other on sidewalks or in hallways and turn our heads.  Are we serious?  With all of the dangers that lurk, can we really afford to dismiss each other so easily or have we collectively agreed to each her own.  Friendship though, now that is different.  (Or is it?)  After all, we invite these relationships into our lives.

Friends

There have been times when, though my best efforts, I still seemed to end up with a few Judasettes in my crew.  Such is life, right?  All the while,  I defined—only to redefine—what friendship means to me.  In doing so, I learned more about myself.  Likewise, I began to pay even more attention regarding the world in which I live.

I understand that for me, it is vital that I have strong female friendships.  I not only want to hear, but I need to hear words of wisdom from wise women.  Why?  Well, I hear viewpoints—wise or not—from men all of the time and let’s face it, I am a woman.  I want to hear what other women, particularly wise ones, have to say.  (Iron sharpens iron.)

There are things that I experience because I am a woman and I want to hear of shared experiences, learn from similar experiences, avoid pitfalls, celebrate, guide, receive advice from, laugh, cry, encourage and be encouraged by people who know what I am talking about.  When I say, “It’s too hot to wear pantyhose,” I do not want to have to explain why. If I am asked, “What’s wrong,” and I respond, “Cramps”, I want that to end the conversation…for the day.  If I am addressed as “Hun” or “Dear” in a workplace environment (which I have been), I want support on how to best handle such a scene from a woman’s vantage point.  Also, spiritually, there are situations of faith where women may minister to me more effectively.

I am extremely thankful for the female friends I have.  My hope is that all women have a group of women who uplift, enhance, and advance their lives.  Maybe if we speak more on our positive experiences, others will too.  It will be evident that it is not only possible to have positive female friendships, but that they are plentiful.

Be well my Sisters,

Post Navigation