Growing up, I always craved a very best friend. Just like every other kid growing up, I went through lots of different friends. My first very best friend was a girl named Erin. I met her at recess in kindergarten. At first, she did NOT want to be friends, but I guess I was persistent, because we ended up being pretty inseparable. Unfortunately, after kindergarten, my parents moved me to a different school and I didn’t see Erin again for a few years. On to search for a new bff.
I went through a lot of friends all through elementary and high school. I had a hard time keeping friends in high school for probably a lot of different reasons. It was always a struggle for me, and my mom watched me cry many times over the loss of this friend or that.
I was excited to start college and have a clean slate! I ended up meeting my life-long best friend my freshman year. His name was Nathan and he was quite the catch. 😉 Having a boyfriend for all four years of college means not a lot of time to cultivate friendships with other girls. I had a lot of friends and a few close ones, but nothing really stuck.
After college, I got plugged into a good church and it became so much easier to make friends. Maybe I stopped trying so hard; I don’t know! Now, I feel like I have a handful of pretty incredible friends. But these incredible friends aren’t your average friends. Yes, we hang out. We get the babies together and have play dates. We text. We laugh.
You know what else these precious friends do for me? They pray for me. They pray with me. They text me verses. They encourage me. I hope with all my heart they think the same of me. I want to be that kind of friend.
Here’s the thing. When we focus on others, it helps take the focus off of us and our anxieties. Anxiety is pride. It is selfish. I Peter 5:6-7 says,
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
I often have to remind myself that my constant anxieties, especially about my health, are a form of pride. To admit these anxieties is to admit my pride and my complete dependence on my God. We have to humble ourselves and then cast our anxieties on Him. I find it interesting that humbling ourselves before God is mentioned right before casting our anxieties on Him.
I digress a little. We humble ourselves also by concentrating on others. Everyone is struggling with something. If there is one thing I have learned over the past few years it is definitely that! Let me tell you, I could not make it through every day without my precious friends. They are gifts from my God. Some of my friends live far away but are still able to encourage me through text or phone or Facebook or whatever. It’s cool the day and age we live in.
God put us on the earth as social beings. We shouldn’t have to carry the weight of our problems alone. Of course, we cast our burdens on our God’s shoulders, but He knows we need our earthly friends to also carry some of that weight. Having coffee or visiting with an encouraging friend can seriously make or break my week. It’s amazing what pouring our hearts out to a dear friend can do for our souls.
I thank the Lord for each and every friend He has placed in my life. And I hope I can be as good of a friend to them as they are to me! Let’s try to be real encouragements to our friends. The fun, the laughter, the jokes are all good. But, let there be something more to our friendships than that. How am I encouraging my friends spiritually? How am I praying for them?
And in the process, maybe it will help those of us that struggle with anxiety too. Bonus!
I find joy in my friends today!