I credit three things for all the healing I’ve experienced in the past year:
- God pursues me. He reached down through the fog and told me that my story mattered to Him. Without Him, I don’t know to what depths of misery I’d have sunk.
- The Holy Spirit has given me a fresh hunger for God’s Word, especially concerning His character. The more I know Him, the more I can trust Him.
- Faithful friends, old and new, continue to express their love and appreciation for me. Their affirmations hold me up on those days when I sink back into performance-driven living instead of authentic relationship with my Creator Abba.
Choosing our friends well makes a huge difference in our healing process, especially coming to terms with our self-worth. The voices we listen to either lift us up or drag us down. Sometimes the healing process means letting go of toxic relationships, and sometimes it means less time in shallow friendships and investing more in valuable relationships.
We need those friends who know us on a deep level, who have earned the right to speak into our lives by their unconditional love. I’m blessed to have a mentor who encourages me, cheers me on, and calls me out when necessary.
Silly friends are a must! This one also happens to be spiritually mature, a deep thinker, and a courageous woman of God. But all that is wrapped in an audacious ball of fun.
One of the best ways to form good friendships is to work toward a common goal. Living life together helps us achieve our God-given purpose and spurs us on as we follow Jesus.
Throughout my healing journey, I asked God for friends who would genuinely love me for me. God has brought many, sometimes from the most unexpected events.
In fact, I’ve been blessed by so many new friends this year, I’m convinced that God answered my plea for friends so far above and beyond what I could imagine, just so that I could have even more evidence that He’s crazy about me. I know He has a purpose for each of them.
Friends help us stay grounded in reality. Isolation leads to deception. Deception leads to wrong choices and unhealthy mindsets. From the beginning, when the serpent found Eve alone in the garden, the enemy has used isolation to steal, kill, and destroy our relationship with God. There’s nothing more comforting than to have a friend stand by you through the challenges.
Honest friends accept you for who you are but spur you on to become your best self. These two have been writing critique partners for a year and a half. Last weekend, I met them in Travelers Rest, South Carolina, the setting of my favorite Ann Tatlock book, to have a writing retreat. Without their prayers and support, I don’t know if I’d even be writing today.
Though I’d love to post photos of so many more friends, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include my best friend. He’s the best lifelong partner I could ever hope to have.
Do your friends offer affirmation, encouragement, and exhortation when necessary? What other ways have you found to foster deeper friendships with those who do?