So, I am currently in the middle of a bible study titled “We Saved You a Seat” by Lisa-Jo Baker. This bible study is all about creating lasting, genuine friendships. The study examines our relationship with Christ and his relationship with others throughout the Bible to give us practical tips to foster forever friendships. When I first decided to do this bible study, I approached my friend and asked her to co-lead with me. I was so excited to do a small group with the middle school, high school, and college aged girls in my church. She agreed excitedly, and told me that we should do the study on friendship because she felt it was so relevant to girls these days. It’s funny how God puts certain people and experiences in your life at just the right moment because little did I know I needed this study just as much as the girls I planned to teach it to. Although we are only in the fifth week of this 7 week study, I have come to find three reoccurring themes. These are the keys I find to be most important to maintaining a lasting friendship: initiation, intention, investment.
The #1 thing that people don’t realize when they are longing to make friends is that they are not TRULY trying. I am so guilty of this! Here I am, sitting in the coffee shop watching that group of women across the room chatting away and having the time of their life. “Geez, I wish I was hanging out with them. I need more friends,” I say as I sip my grande white chocolate latte with extra whip and resume scrolling through my phone with my head down.
We cannot and will not make friends if we are not willing to go first! Initiate that conversation! Be the first one to speak in a group of women! Be willing to walk up and introduce yourself without fear! Embrace the awkward because God did not make us to be alone! We are a people meant for community and we thrive best around others. So often we find ourselves telling others we are too busy for them and don’t have time to hang out. Or we tell ourselves that we are fine and we don’t need friends to get through life. That is simply not true. God breathed community into our DNA, and He had no intention of us doing life alone. So, when you feel as though you don’t have any friends or you are not meant to have a close community of women to be around, step up and be the person who is willing to be the first to cultivate friendship and conversation. Because that one time you step out in faith to start a conversation with sweaty palms and butterflies in your stomach, could be the time that you meet a friend who will be in your life forever.
God has been working on my heart when it comes to being intentional with others. As someone who can be very task oriented, I sometimes find it hard to step out of my “zone” and actively reach out in intention to connect with someone else. Being intentional with others means stepping out to actively show them that you care for them. A good and lasting friendship will not flourish without good intentions. If you are constantly doing things with selfish intention, you will watch your friendship crumble.
When God told me I needed to be more intentional, I wasn’t exactly sure what that looked like. God, how can I show intention with others? He showed me that intention can come in various forms. Sending someone a gift, writing them an encouraging letter, sending them a sweet text message, grabbing them a coffee, hanging out with them at home while they do their laundry, etc. These are all amazing ways to be intentional with your friends. When you step out to actively encourage and serve your friends through intentional conversations, gifts, words, etc., watch how God works and how your friendship grows in leaps and bounds. There is some serious power in intentional actions.
“Think about your friends and how you can love them in the best way. Don’t wait for friends to come to you, but show up in intentional ways to initiate and connect.”-Lisa-Jo Baker “We Saved You a Seat”
Nothing will tear down a friendship more than just assuming that that friendship is always going to be there. There is no return without investment. If you don’t put any work into your friendships, then you won’t have a genuine forever relationship.
Just yesterday, I pulled out my study book for the day’s devotion and the title was “Feed the People at Your Table.” That hit me hard! If we are not careful, we will find ourselves longing to have a seat at someone else’s table. “If only they would talk to me!” “Why do they never speak to me? Is there something wrong with me?” “I will never be invited to hang out with them because I am not cool enough.” While these thoughts are running through our heads, we will straight up miss out on those who are already sitting right next to us. And if we continue to look over their shoulders at the women we wish would just let us in, then those already sitting with us will get up and find another table to join.
Invest in those around you! Invest your time, your energy, your love, your every being into those who are already sitting right next to you. Those that have always been there and those who are continuously by your side. Invest in those friendships because those are the ones that are going to be around forever. Forget that other table that you long to be apart of and pour yourself into those already around you. Watch the transformation that takes place and cherish it.
“While we might have defined friendship our whole lives by what others do to us, in the end it’s what we do for others that will define us a friends or not. That’s how we get friendship to stick.”-Lisa-Jo Baker “We Saved You a Seat”
With love and grace,