April 18, 2013
The Friendship Challenge
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?" Ecclesiastes 4:9-11 (NIV)
What makes a woman tender also reveals her vulnerabilities.
What makes a woman transparent also exposes her wounds.
What makes a woman authentic also uncovers her insecurities.
And there aren't many women who enjoy being revealed, exposed, and uncovered. But establishing real intimacy with another person requires pushing past the resistance—past the fear.
Friendship is risky.
To be known is to risk being hurt. But friendship can be beautiful, and worth the risk.
We can look to the Bible for examples of monumental friendships. In 1 Samuel 18 we learn about the special friendship between David and Jonathan, an example of a true bond. When Jonathan's father, King Saul, threatened David with death, Jonathan risked his position in his father's household and warned his friend.
Jonathan and David's friendship lasted their lifetime, and because of Jonathan's loyalty to David, the Lord blessed them both. David eventually became king, but by then Jonathan had died. David inquired, "'Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan's sake?'" (2 Samuel 9:1b NIV).
Don't miss this beauty: it was customary for the present king to put to death any of the former king's family. However, because of his and Jonathan's strong friendship, King David tenderly provided for Jonathan's son. "I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table" (2 Samuel 9:7b NIV). "So Mephibosheth ate at David's table like one of the king's sons" (2 Samuel 9:11b NIV).
Awesome. Inspiring. Friendship.
Yes, friendship is beautiful. The Lord gave it to us. He knew we would need each other to get through this life.
Think about a friend you can make an investment in.
Not the friend with whom you feel most comfortable. But rather one who might benefit from seeing a little more of your tenderness, transparency, and authenticity. Someone who might be worth a risk.
Someone in your sphere of influence is desperate to know someone else understands.
Might we take three steps and give ourselves a friendship challenge? Here are three things you can do to invest in a friend:
1) Have a conversation with her in which you honestly admit one of your vulnerabilities. Chances are she'll reveal something to you as well. Then really commit to pray for her. Maybe wear a watch or bracelet and every time you're distracted by it, use this as a prompt to carry her burden in your prayers.
2) Buy or make this friend a gift. Just because. It doesn't have to cost much. But make an investment of time to think of something that would personally delight her.
3) Write your friend a note to attach to the gift. In the letter, tell her at least three things you admire about her and some way she's made a difference in your life.
Then deliver this little "just because" gift and note to your friend. This friend who sometimes feels a little vulnerable. Wounded. Exposed in some way.
Your honesty and thoughtfulness will be such a sweet investment.
For your friendship.
Are you up for taking the friendship challenge?
Dear Lord, thank You for all of the friendships and beautiful blessings You have placed in my life. Help me to see this challenge as a sweet reminder to show Your love to those around me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Honor a friend this month with a $20 donation to Proverbs 31 Ministries. We will send a Legacy card to let her know how special she is to you. And through your donation in honor of her faith, you will help us reach and strengthen the faith of millions of women around the world each day. Click here to find out more.
Give the gift of God's Word to a friend by purchasing our brand new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women, full of God's truth and 366 of our devotions. Or make a special donation to Proverbs 31 Ministries and we'll send a Bible and Legacy card to someone you love. Click here for specific donation information.
For more on how to maintain strong, healthy friendships through clear and honest communication, check out Lysa TerKeurst's new book, Unglued: Making Wise Choices In the Midst of Raw Emotions.
Reflect and Respond:
Write down the name of the friend or friends you chose for the friendship challenge. Don't wait until later. Your friend will thank you!
Proverbs 17:17, "A friend loves at all times ..." (NIV)
© 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Thursday, 18 April 2013.