That may sound very basic, but when we remember God orchestrated every human contact, we can be grateful even when it’s a challenging connection. During the stressful time of the holidays, friendships can create tension which steals our Christmas joy.
When we are tempted to grumble instead, let’s remember the truth about friendships.
1. Friendships are God’s gift.
Sometimes we define “good” as “trouble-free.” We can easily assume God made a mistake or is mean-spirited when He connects us with an “unlovable” person. And certainly God might lead us to limit our availability, but every person has a purpose in our lives and we have God’s purpose in their lives.
Especially at Christmas, there might be a specific talent or perspective you offer few others can offer. Look for that kind of opportunity.
Proverbs 27:17 tells us, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” How appropriate at the stressful time of Christmas.
2. Friendships are an invitation to draw closer to God.
For instance, if boundaries are needed, seek His plan and don’t immediately assume you should cut off the friendship.
I remember a challenging friendship which seemed her fault. I thought of requirements for her behavior which would eliminate my uncertainty.
Suddenly, I saw my plan of not needing to seek God’s guidance at each challenge as we navigated our friendship.
I released my control and learned to be more loving and kind with God’s power.
I remembered James 1:2: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.”
At Christmas, everyone celebrates differently. That can feel stressful and we might want to withdraw or control.
God’s power can give us a gracious perspective of honoring others and see how we can depend upon God more effectively because of it.
3. Friendships are examples to encourage us.
- Is there someone who handles stress better than you by depending upon God? Ask her how she maintains her peace.
- Is there someone who sets up priorities more effectively than you? Ask her about how she makes plans.
- Is there someone who makes Christmas more worshipful? Ask her to share her ideas.
Most of us resist asking for help, but we need to humble ourselves. One humble question can open the door within another person’s heart to ask for help.
4. Friendships aren’t for comparisons.
You may have a friend who decorates amazingly for Christmas and you don’t know how to make those amazing bows. Don’t belittle your lack of designing skills.
Another friend is a fabulous gourmet cook and you can’t seem to remember to take the neck and giblets out of the cavity of the turkey. Don’t apologize every time someone takes a bite of your simple meal.
God never wants you to compare with another. I Corinthians 12:5-6 tells us, “there are varieties of service, … but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.”
You are uniquely suited for God’s service to others.
Be grateful for the God-given skills He’s given you, even if they seem lacking in comparison.
You have ideas others lack and are impressed by.
What friendship challenge is God using to make you more holy or to give you an opportunity to help another?
To grow in your friendships, I created a women’s Bible study, At the Heart of Friendship: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series. It has ten lessons on various aspects of friendship and also includes examining the relationships of different friendships featured in the Bible. Check it out at: At the Heart of Friendship