When I officially started my blog back in 2017, I never wanted to be “the expert” or main speaker. Even as online courses became increasingly popular, I knew I didn’t really want to be an online educator or content creator. To be honest, I didn’t even have a desire to be a mentor.
Now has God used me to mentor, teach, speak, create, etc.? Yeah, all those things and I’m still trying to figure out why LOL. But the goal even to this day still remains the same.
I just want to be a friend. I want to be the friend that makes you realize you aren’t alone. The friend that reminds you that you‘re not crazy. I want to be the friend that comes alongside you on this journey called life and prays the heavens down for you, the friend that connects you with resources and people that could really help with where you are in the moment.
Because at the end of the day, I could sell a course. I could write a book. I could create more content. But, all I’m really passionate about is telling the whole wide world about a God who radically changed my entire life and saved me from myself.
But over the last few years, God has connected me to SO many amazing people. It’s crazy because I can still remember when I didn’t have any friends. I remember dreading weekends because I didn’t have anyone to hang out with. I even turned to unhealthy work habits to mask my loneliness.
I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it, but looking back, I now realize that I was the problem. I didn’t know how to connect and invest into people because I didn’t have enough love for my own self. I didn’t know how to show myself friendly (Proverbs 18:24), because the image I had of myself was so low that I attracted who I thought I was: nothing.
But thank God for saving me from the spirit of rejection and low self-image! So in today’s post, I want to share the importance of having community and 5 lessons on friendships.
1. You’re Supposed to Be in Community
This point goes without saying but every Christian is called to live in community. Even Jesus lived in community with 12 disciples. The Bible says, “It is not good for man to be alone” in Genesis 2:18, and God said this when Adam was by himself alone on the earth.
Although a lot of people know that they’re supposed to be in community, I just want to take a moment to talk to the person who thinks that they don’t need to have friends or who thinks it’s okay to be a loner.
As much as everyone wants to have a certain amount of alone time, it is equally important for every single person, Christian or not, to be in community with others. Whether that’s one person or a group of people, you should have a community.
There’s a certain level of joy, fulfillment, and emotional health that friendships and community provide that we are unable to have on our own. Having community helps us grow. They help provide perspective and they create exposure to people, places, and things that we couldn’t have on our own.
Bottom line: community is important.
2. Stop Cancelling People
Knowing the importance of community, it’s also important to remember that people are not perfect. We shouldn’t cancel them the minute they do something we don’t like. This was my problem. I had a bad habit of cutting people off.
I pretty much considered myself the cut off queen and I had no problem stopping myself from being someone’s friend if they either did something to offend me/hurt my feelings OR if I started to notice patterns or behaviors that I didn’t necessarily like. It was definitely an immature move on my part and I’m not proud of it to say the least.
But especially in today’s cancel culture, this is a behavior that is not only socially detrimental to our society considering how important community is, but it is also unbiblical.
To be fair, I think it happens because we place expectations on people. We want them to either meet needs that honestly only Jesus can fill, or meet an unrealistic standard of perfection.
3. Let Jesus Fill Your Needs
First, let’s talk about needs that only Jesus can fill.
For example, in the past, my fiancé and I would get into arguments every so often when he spent time with his friends on a Friday night rather than me. I wanted him to hang out with me more than he did with his friends, and this was an unrealistic expectation I had of him.
I mean come on, let’s be serious. He should take time to hang out with other people, right? But, I was upset because I was dealing with the spirit of rejection due to the lack of friendships I had in my own life. This didn’t mean my feelings were invalid. It just meant that I was expecting him to meet a need that only Jesus could heal.
4. Show Others Grace
On the other hand, let’s talk about wanting people to meet standards of perfection. I had a bad habit of this too. If someone did something I didn’t like (ex: gossip, complain, have a constant bad attitude, etc.), I had a tendency of distancing myself from them. This was because I didn’t want to associate myself with negative behaviors.
Again, I was wrong because:
1) I wasn’t willing to be patient and show grace about the area that they needed grow in and;
2) I wasn’t willing to have an honest conversation in fear that I would offend them when really that conversation could have been an opportunity to reveal a blind-spot, help them become more self-aware, and grow.
This is also true for when someone messes up or does something wrong in the relationship. Rather than quickly cutting them off, it’s important to follow Jesus’ example of loving unconditionally, sacrificially, and selflessly. The truth is people are going to make mistakes and real love is patient and kind (1 Corinthians 13:1).
Now, do NOT confuse this with emotionally abusive friendships and relationships. Should you find yourself in an abusive relationship, it is important for you to pray and ask the Holy Spirit the best way to end that relationship.
5. Recognize Your Opportunities for Growth
Lastly, when someone does something that you do not like, it’s important to understand their behavior may be revealing something in you that needs to change.
For example, if you are upset by what someone is doing, but it is because you’re trying to change them into something that is outside of their character or who God made them to be, then take a lesson out of my own book. Understand that this may be happening because you are dissatisfied with something inside of our own self.
Ouch, I know! You have to ask yourself what’s really bothering you and the reason why. For me, I had to learn I couldn’t cancel someone because they were being themselves and they weren’t like me.
But the beauty of relationships and friendships is that they are a mirror. The closer you are with someone, the more revealing it will be for you. Before pointing fingers, or worse, cutting someone off, ask yourself if there’s an opportunity for you to grow whether that’s in kindness, grace, or self-control.
Recap our lessons on friendships:
- If someone is doing something wrong, be honest.
- Show grace if someone needs to grow.
- If someone’s behavior is revealing something in you, it’s time to grow.
Well as always, I would love to know your biggest takeaway from today’s post 5 Lessons on Friendships. Do you have a habit of cutting people off? How have you learned to show others grace? Tell me in the comments!
Suggested blog post: 3 Types of Friends You Should and Should Not Have
Hanha Parham is a Christian author and speaker. Her personal mission is to provide the millennial woman with fun and practical resources that help them confidently believe who God has called them to be. When she is not encouraging others or writing her heart out, she enjoys watching Grey’s Anatomy, drinking iced chai lattes from Starbucks, and connecting with friends on Instagram. Come say hi!