I am reminded daily why we need friends. We’re more connected than ever through social media, cell phones, and text messages. But we’re starving for connection. We need friends who do more than like a post or comment that they’re praying. We need friends who will celebrate our non-scale victories and sit in our living rooms when we cry.
Our most fragile moments are the building blocks for lasting friendships.
Sharing our stories opens the door for empathy. We may not have the same struggles, but we’re called to comfort others with the comfort we have received.
How often do we miss out on comfort because we’re afraid to talk about the stuff that hurts?
Whenever I talk to civilians about life in the military, I encourage them to listen for what military spouses aren’t saying.
Our greatest struggles are usually what we’re afraid to say aloud. I think this is true for all of us – military or not. In a world clamoring about division, the truth is we’re more alike than different.
It’s scary to name the heartbreaking parts of our lives.
We spend a lot of time managing our emotions. But too often in our efforts to protect our hearts, we lose heart.
We put on a brave face but wearing the “superwoman mask” can isolate us, creating distance when we most need to feel deeply known and loved.
We smile and nod but inside we’re wondering when and where it’s ok to ask for help, for prayer, or for encouragement in a difficult moment.
(And maybe I talk myself out of reaching out because my situation is not as hard as hers, so I shouldn’t speak up. Anyone else?)
It is always ok to raise your hand and ask for help.
Don’t be held captive by pain when sharing it with friends will bring freedom.
We live our best life when we choose to live in community. We were designed to flourish together.
We need friends to listen. I need people in my life who provide a safe space to be vulnerable. My friends make me braver than I feel most days.
It takes courage to step beyond the surface conversations and talk about the heart stuff.
Friends remind us it’s ok to admit when we’re hurting… when we’re weary… when we’re feeling broken and battered by life… when our marriages feel rocky.
When I feel most alone is when I most need to reach out to my circle of friends.
We need friends to pray. I need friends who allow me to name what hurts and encourage me to take it to God, who bears my burdens because He loves me.
When we don’t know how to pray, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us.
Friends pray for us, too, when we invite them into real life. I’m amazed how often God graciously allows me to see His provision and protection in the life of a friend when I pray for her.
My faith grows seeing God’s faithfulness in the lives of my friends and family.
We need friends to flourish. Friends remind us to tend to what’s below the surface.
We’ve heard “two are better than one, because there is greater reward, and a cord of three strands is not easily broken.”
Last year a friend and colleague proved this when she stepped out in faith – despite her fear – and shared the pain in her marriage. She sought one or two close friends and asked for prayer.
Too often, stories like hers go unspoken, especially in Christian circles.
When she chronicled her story, her honesty offered others permission to reach out too.
Her words cast the Light of truth into dark places, inviting authenticity in all of us.
My friend later told me how sharing her burden not only lightened her load, but also grew her circle of trusted friends.
What she feared would further isolate her actually drew her into community.
Her reward for risk was rich: thoughtful kindness, encouragement, and meaningful conversation.
We need friends to speak truth. Friends provide truth when it’s hard to lift our eyes from our present circumstances and see the bigger picture.
Friends keep us from wallowing in our emotions. How we feel isn’t right or wrong, but what we do with it matters.
Friends help us replace lies with truth:
We feel hopeless, but in Jesus we have a firm anchor, a sure hope in every circumstance.
We feel alone, but God is always with us, He promises never to leave us or forsake us.
We feel defeated, but in Christ we may be hard pressed on every side, but we are not crushed.
We all crack under pressure. Whether we see it or not, there are cracks in the people around us.
Let’s be the kind of friends who ask the question.
Let’s be the kind of friends who bring light and life to those around us. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)
Identify your circle of trust. Do you have friends who provide a safe space to be vulnerable? Consider who the Lord has placed in your life to offer support and encouragement for the road ahead. If you don’t have this, ask the Lord to provide.
Cultivate authentic relationships. Vulnerability creates authentic friendships, fosters meaningful conversation, and empowers us to keep an eternal perspective rooted in truth.
Handle with care. Trust provides the bedrock of authentic community. Respect friends’ privacy. Honor their confidences and refrain from gossip. (If it’s not your prayer request for your life, it’s not yours to share. God already knows, anyway.)
Live generously. God designed us for community so we could see His abundance manifest in the lives of our friends. Expect God to all you need to pour into the lives around you. Give generously. You’re sowing today in faith. Next year the friend who receives your prayers and encouragement may return the favor.
Verses to Consider:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
“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. … A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, and not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:23-25)
Lord, thank you for being a God who leaves the 99 to pursue the lonely one. We praise you for the comfort we have received through your grace. May your comfort be fully evident today in every bruised spirit and broken heart. Shine your Light of truth into the cracked places and strengthen our faith. You are our safe refuge Lord. Thank you for all those you bring alongside us to tangibly encourage us on this journey. Amen.