Breaking the Friendship Mold
As women it seems as if our friendships are often characterized by gossip and drama. You’re either the girl who fears confrontation or the girl who feeds off of it. Either way, it’s time we call for a change.
Up until about a year ago I would have categorized myself with the girls who fear confrontation. If a friend offended me or hurt my feelings, whether it was legitimate or perceived, I would talk to anyone and everyone about it, except for her. When another friend finally mustered up the courage to suggest, “Why don’t you just talk to her about it?” the excuses would begin to flow:
“Well it’s not that big of a deal…”
“You know how she is! She’ll get so offended and then it will make the situation worse.”
“I don’t want her to be mad at me.”
“What if she doesn’t respond well? Is this worth the price of our friendship?”
And on and on it would go until I had rationalized my way out of being honest with a woman I was calling my friend. In this effort to “save” the friendship I was actually constructing walls of hurt, fear, and distrust around my own heart and further preventing growth and healing.
Then, in July 2013 I left the States for an 11-month mission trip where I lived in constant community the entire time. You learn quickly that when you never get a break from the people who surround you that fear, gossip, drama, and brushing things under the rug will be the death of your community.
[pullquote width="300" float="right"]As we pressed forward in honesty the walls around our hearts began to crack and crumble.[/pullquote]
It was hard at first being honest with each other. I never relished the thought of confrontation, but the more I did it, the easier it became. And you know what I discovered?
That the women in my life were ready for this change as well. They offered apologies, forgiveness, and grace in equal measures. As we pressed forward in honesty the walls around our hearts began to crack and crumble. Honesty led to vulnerability and open conversations.
Now, I have a group of friends who know me for who I am. They hold me accountable and call me out when I am not living the Christ-like life that I should. And I can do the same for them. What started out as a way to resolve disagreements and hurt feelings turned into a way to live life with true support.
What if we all lived in this place of honesty? What if instead of hiding hurt feelings, lying to each other, and talking behind someone’s back, we called each other out and chose to push one another towards greatness in Christ?
As Christian women, as daughters of the King, our relationships should look different from those in the world. We should be defined by the love we have for one another. A love that does not fear honesty or challenging and uncomfortable conversations.
So, how do you make this happen?
Like most things in life, change starts with you. While you may begin walking this path alone, it will not be that way for long. God designed our hearts to long and live for this kind of community. Once you start, others will want to join.
[pullquote width="300" float="left"]As Christian women, daughters of the King, our relationships should look different from those in the world.[/pullquote]
Be honest. If someone has hurt your feelings, tell them. But be open to hear what they have to say before you cast blame. Often times we ourselves are just as much in the wrong as the person who has offended us.
Be vulnerable. You know that thing, the one that eats at you from deep down inside? Tell someone about it. God does not want us carrying these burdens alone. It’s why He gave us community. Once you start being vulnerable with your friends you will be surprised at how many people can sympathize with what you are experiencing.
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” Colossians 3:12-14
Be intentional. As your relationships begin to change, pursue the growth. Look for ways to encourage and challenge your friends in the areas of their lives that they have shared with you. Seek out ways to love and show them that their friendship is important to you.// Read more about Logan's ministry and travels on her World Race blog! Image via.