Receptiveness in Friendship
I am my sister’s keeper. Let’s say that again: “I am my sister’s keeper.”
As we give ourselves a moment to let that settle, may our hearts begin to shift toward God and ponder what biblical friendship is really supposed to look like in our own lives.
Women are unique. God has made us this way. We have the amazing band width to wear many hats all at once. One of the most significant roles we can ever have is that of being a friend.
Yes, we are going to talk about it.
Because friendship matters to God.
Godly friendship is a glorious, grace-filled reflection of God’s heart for us. To experience what it means to be a godly friend and receive godly friendships is a beautiful blessing that leaves lasting imprints upon our life. Friendship is a sweet, beautiful gift God lovingly bestows to us.
However, let’s be honest, friendship is hard work. It can be messy and difficult, even with the best of intentions. It requires effort on our part. And just as with most relationships we will have to cover our friendships in prayer and choose to be committed for the long haul.
Yet, friendship is God’s idea. And because of His power working within us, we can do it - we can actually be a godly girl friend to another sister, AND also greet reciprocity in that process. But first, we must be receptive. Nothing will happen if we are not open to friendship.
I have had countless conversations with women who have shared their friendship woes and hesitations with me. Quite honestly, I do not blame them or judge them, because I have experienced my fair share of being burned in friendships too.
Nevertheless, I could not deny the prompting of the Holy Spirit that started dealing with my heart even last fall, leading me in this direction for 2024. I have embraced this season as an opportunity to encourage women in the area of friendship, not only all year here through Warrior Woman Blog ministry, but also through The Coaching Connection (see my website patriceburrell.com for more information).
I will confess, initially I did not want to accept this assignment for the entire year. “God, do I really have to talk about friendship all year long for Warrior Woman blog and The Coaching Connection?” The answer remained a resounding yes.
Why my reluctancy? Because I am still navigating my own friendship journey with all of the twists and turns that have surfaced along the way. I will be the first to acknowledge to you that I am no expert in this area. Simply, I want to be the kind of woman who fosters meaningful relationships with other women. Sustaining authentic godly friendship is one of the ways we catch a glimpse of God’s glory here on earth. God can use women, just like you and me, to be conduits of His unconditional love, grace, and mercy through our demonstration of friendship.
So, here’s my million-dollar question for you: “Will you be receptive?”
I know you may feel spent and used.
I know you may have fresh wounds.
I know you may have unhealed hurts.
But will you try again by being open to God first?
Before we can be receptive to another person, we must first be receptive to God. We must view Him as the ultimate friend, get to know Him as such, and place our hope in God alone - not any human person.
Can we be vulnerable enough to trust God with our rawest feelings about friendship and obey His leading in this area of our lives?
Are we brave and bold enough to let the past be the past without allowing it to control our present and future?
Do we have the courage to apply Proverbs 18:24a (NKJV) that says, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly” despite our feelings of doubt and reservations that may exist about initiating or receiving new friendships?
My dear sister, in order to have receptiveness in friendship, we must be willing to show ourselves to be friendly and approachable to others. Yes, there will be a level of risk involved, but it will be worth it if we gain a true friend. And how will we ever know the treasure God may have for us in friendship if we are not willing to drop our guardedness and be open?
Before I opened myself to the possibility of a romantic relationship, I remember a friend of mine saying to me, “Patrice, God could send you your husband right now, but it really would not matter. You do not have the capacity to recognize him since your spirit, heart, and mind are closed.” It was not until I opened myself to that possibility that I was able to recognize what God had for me in a relationship with the man who would later become my husband.
I share this example to correlate our level of receptiveness to our ability to receive even from God. The principle holds true in any relationship, and our friendship with other women is no different - we must be open.
I am praying this year’s series, “Flourishing Friendship” will be a breath of fresh air to your soul. I pray for revival in you and all of your friends. I pray that all of us would have a heart for friendship the way God does, and that it would make His heart smile to see His beautiful daughters honoring Him by honoring each other.