Nearly every Christian has heard the analogy the body of Christ as it relates to spiritual gifts and their applications to ministry (1 Corinthians 12), but I’ve been seeing a new area in life where this also seems to be true.
Just like no one person can be an evangelist, pastor, prayer warrior, healer, administrator, or wise mentor (etc…) in the body of Christ, no one person can give you everything you need in regards to the “needs” that we have that are satisfied by friendships. For example, I can’t rely on only one friend to give me sound Biblical advice, hold me when I need to cry, always be available to talk, cheer me up when I’m in a crappy mood, pray for me, or encourage me when I’m struggling. Yes, my best friends will do all of those things if/when I need them to, but that’s too tall of an order to put on just one person for a long period of time.
Instead, and luckily so, God has been working on giving me a network of people to rely on. I have mentors at church ( I can’t forget my mom!) to give me the sound wisdom I desperately need. I have a few solid people who will feverishly pray for me in a moment’s notice. I have a couple girls who will sit in silence next to me on the couch as tears fall down my face when I need to cry. Between a few of my friends, I know that if I need to talk to someone, one of them will make themselves available. I have a friend who I can geek out with about film and computers, one who I will run to for parenting advice (a while down the road… don’t worry!) or to vent about the Route 68 middle school kids, one or two who have terrific senses of style/fashion, and a couple who can turn any boring situation into a fun and silly adventure… and the list goes on an on. I’m blessed, aren’t I? And this “network” or “web” of friends I have keeps growing as I grow in my walk with Christ.
I’ve realized that one of the greatest disservices you can do to one of your friends is to expect them to be someone they’re not and to hold too high of expectations for them. This has been a very tough lesson for me to learn, because it also means I can’t be everything to each of my friends either. And the greatest disservice you can do to yourself is to close yourself off from new people and friendships because you’re satisfied with how many friends you have now, or because you keep hoping that you current friends will change. Not everyone needs to be your BEST friend, and it’s natural for there to be different levels of intimacy and time spent between your friendships, but don’t close yourself off. You may be missing out on someone God has picked out to make a large or small difference in your life.
That said, I love my friends with all of my heart, and I am so thankful that God built each of them the way He did. I love learning about them and who God created them to be (and who he DIDN’T create them to be!). And I LOVE growing in Christ beside them. I’m learning so much through them and because of them. I know that my journey these past few months has only taken place the way it did because they chose to put up with me and show up when God asked them to.