To build lasting friendships, I’m learning how to endure friend-shifts!
I made this statement on Facebook on November 30, 2015 and several people responded, asking me to expound on the thought. Here are a few of my thoughts on enduring Friend-shifts.
FRIENDS! How many of us have them?! Regardless of how many of us have friends – or how many friends we have, I think it’s decidedly tougher to keep good friends than it is to make good friends. Why? Because friends change, and we change! Life changes us and therefore changes our friendships and relationships. I was thinking about the concept of friendship and its practical application and that’s when the term “friend-shift” came to me. I think if we want to have a successful friendship, we have to understand the changing seasons of friendship, the friend-shifts that life brings us.
Navigating friend-shifts means:
1. “I’m not who I was…and neither are you.” Allowing space for the growth/evolution of all parties involved even when the growth changes the “texture” of the relationship. Who we are to each other (and who we need each other to be!) today may not be who we were to each other yesterday.
2. Just because you wear your swimsuit in December doesn’t mean it’s summertime in Moscow. Accepting the season the friendship is in, even if this new season means the friendship is no more.
3. Purpose is Paramount. Knowing that personal purpose trumps seasonal relationships – sometimes if you want to grow you have to let go! Anything that stops you from being the person you are placed on earth to be must be addressed – and often removed! (Sometimes/Often that “person” is our own misguided, self-destructive way of thinking and therefore living!)
4. Say “goodbye” if you want to say “hello.” Knowing that life has a way of bringing valuable and more salient relationships into our lives – often only as we, or after we accept the transitions of current/passed ones.
5. Time after time. Also recognize that needed time apart may allow for the re-fostering of that same friendship in a matured, healthy state later on, once maturity has had beneficial effects on everyone involved! Time and space are aids to healing and growth.
6. Patience! Be careful not to discard someone because they’re not everything you hoped they’d be.
7. Caution! A friendship with someone’s selfie can be harmful. They often project who they wish they were…if you notice too much disparity between the real and the gram >>> distance, reevaluation, and perhaps relocation/reclassification is necessary.
8. Mirror, Mirror. Relationships are sent to sharpen us, show us a mirror of where and who we are, give us clues to where we are headed, as well as remind us where we’ve been. As people who are married tend to begin to look alike (so it’s said, lol) – they also say owners and dogs can often look alike – we subconsciously choose people who mirror where we are or where we want to be; also we adapt and meld into each other – behaviorally, emotionally, and even fashionably speaking. Choose a friend with that in mind. The circle has to be mutually beneficial – full of both blessings and lessons.
9. Back to Me. And above all – life if filled with much pain because pain is often the alert and catalyst for change. Friendships should be JOYOUS. If it’s a drudgery – reevaluate. And don’t always assume the other person must change – sometimes WE must accept the fact that we need to mature in some areas in order to maintain healthy relationships.
10. Let me love you. A friend will help you shift – only if you (and your ego) let them : )
What about your friends?!
In John 4, Jesus makes a statement to the Samaritan woman at the well, that, to some, may seem a little flippant if taken out of context. He says to her, in essence, you (and your people, the Samaritans) worship you know not what. From an historical context, Jesus spoke correctly. After all, He is the truth, surely His statement was accurate. The Samaritans were removed from the fundamental religious precepts, welcoming other ideas and adaptations to the Jewish principles and foundations that had already been laid.
This distance in beliefs separated the Jewish people from the Samaritans to the point that the woman at the well, though she desperately needed help from this (God)man who asked her for a drink of water, was actually surprised that Jesus had even addressed her in this social context. Forget church, she was surprised He even asked her for water!
This same idea is true today. As has been stated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the 11:00 a.m. hour is the most segregated hour in our country each Sunday – has been for years. We often look at a different culture of people and of their religious expression and message, we say, “you worship you know not what.”
But beyond worship, we are often separated in our philanthropy. Who we will give a drink of water has everything to do with who we are related to – or who we relate to! I would assert that Americans are more likely to give to a commercial philanthropic effort (national or internationally known outreaches) to India and Africa than to the local inner city or nearest-by area in need.
The conversation between Jesus and the woman at the well ended with Jesus reading her entire mail! Lol, he told her “herstory” (her extemporaneous relationships and current “situation”) but also gave her solutions to her issues. She dropped her mundane chores and went – she ran actually – back home to report that she met a (God)man who changed the game for her – and thus He, through her, changed her city. His gracious engagement of her on a personal and social level was entree into a life-changing spiritual encounter that changed an entire group of people.
Statistics that churches are still mostly segregated in our nation persist. One of the only other constants in statistics about American religion is that every religion has a marked, marginal revolving door. This is another conversation in itself, but does have its place here.
What are you saying, KenMos? My points are simple:
People leave one religion looking for hope and comfort in another for a whole lot of reasons. Not the least of which is that they haven’t found the love and grace that Jesus offered the woman at the well. This is the same reason we tend to remain racially divided every Sunday.
This statement is a game changer: God is a spirit, and they that worship him must do so in SPIRIT & in TRUTH.
Until our worship style bows to the display for the unadulterated SPIRIT & TRUTH of God through messages of pure love and grace, with signs and wonders following – AND complete with the sign of true religion: caring for the less fortunate such as widows and orphans, we won’t see an end to segregation in our churches.
We must come to a place where we can relate to each other on the most basic level, something as simple as a drink of water.
We have to acknowledge that the message of God’s unadulterated grace was dispensed through an uncircumcised man through whom all nations of the earth, both Jews and Gentiles, are blessed before we can worship together.
Until we can say: “WATER, I need it and so do you. GRACE: I need it and you do, too. JESUS: I’ve met him, have you?”, we will never say to anyone, “come see a (God)man.”