Friendship is tricky for us. It’s a much-discussed topic for our tribe.
Under the heading of “Friendship” we have many sub-headings of familiar issues.
- We have the well-worn conversations about boundaries in our friendships.
- Add to that beleaguered subject is another ministry wife favorite “When your friends leave your church.” Ouch.
- Another struggle is that many will keep US at arms length, never letting us in.
- Contrast that with the fact that many of us keep OTHERS at arms length never letting THEM in.
- Or how about the old-school idea that we should never EVEN have friends?
BOOM. Here’s where we are going: Ministry women should actively pursue friends.
Specific kinds of friends:
Friends Without Jesus
Let’s start here. This friendship is not a project or witnessing op, it is driven by love, concern and gospel-passion. Since ministry lives are amazingly sequestered, these authentic friendships are built by intentionality and sovereign hand of God. We need people with diverse worldviews in our lives. If being at the church house at least four or five days a week is your norm—something has to change. We must get out of the Christian huddle. Warning, we need to embrace messy. And second warning, we may need to listen a long time before we speak.
Friends Who Sharpen You
We need loving, truth-telling, scripture-driven, bar-setting-high kinds of friends. This may be a person you love deeply and loves you deeply OR might be someone with whom you are not super-intimate but still a go-to person for counsel, accountability and compassion. You know this person loves Jesus, the Word, and wants you to walk in truth. Invite their wisdom, challenge and confrontation. Over coffee or via texting, find this person.
Friends You Sharpen
We need friends we pour into. Most of us lead and teach groups but we need to narrow that down to face-to-face, individual relational moments. This could be Biblical discipleship, ministry wife mentoring, coaching a new mother, an international student or co-worker needing career mentoring. This is not limited to believers. Think outside the box. Surprisingly, your front-row seat of life change may refresh your own soul.
Friends Who Walk in Your Shoes
We need people who “get us.” As compacted as our schedules are we must carve out time to connect with ministry women. Our contact may be brief or long distant. Yet having true understanding from one who walks in our Birkenstocks can be a HUGE lifeline. A short text to someone who understands complexity of ministry issues may get us through a painful crisis. Do not let ministry paranoia, jealousy, competition or pride trick you into thinking this kind of friend is a bad idea. That will only keep you further isolated.
Friends to Play With
We need recreation, hobbies and passions. Whether it is clogging (shout out to Janet Hunt), horses (Joanie Buster), Pinterest projects, vintage clothing or working out we need playmates. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking this is a complete luxury or shallow. God uses play to breathe vitality into our souls. PLUS the other bonus — your brand of play is a platform to connect ALL the above other relationships to. God redeems our hobbies and passions for gospel purposes. Training for a Tri or community theatre can be a sacred platform to connect and be revitalized.
(Free advice: The broader our interests are the more likely we are to connect with wide variety of people. Find a hobby.)
I know what is happening right now “I don’t have these 5 kinds of friends!” (Insert pity party.)
We may never have all five kinds of friends at once.
We need to understand that we need them.
We need to pursue them.
God will do the rest.
Which of these kinds of friends is God using most in your life presently?
Published September 29, 2014