I like going.
I like getting up in the morning, drinking a cup of coffee, getting started on the day. I like stuffing home renovation projects into the hour and a half during my kids naps, then stepping back to look at what I’ve done. I like going around town with the kids. I even like grocery shopping. I operate well when I’m going, and doing, and moving. Being productive.
But friendships are slow. Often, they feel unproductive. You can’t work on a friendship for an hour or two, step back, brush your hands off, and admire your handiwork. The initial 'get-to-know-you' conversation with someone is clean and shiny; you find out what the other person does for a living, if they’ve got kids, where they grew up, and other things. You catch up every so often, chat about kids or jobs, and boom-it’s like a whole friendship boxed up with a bow! But real relationships, the kind that stick around, are hard and messy and we make excuses to avoid them. They require faithfulness, and faithfulness has no start and end.
Most of us know what faithfulness is, but I found it helpful to google it and take a minute to think about the definition.
That's the dictionary definition, but practically, what does faithfulness look like?
Faithfulness to a friend is lived out in a thousand different ways- some come naturally, some do not. The list of ways I have been an unfaithful friend is longer than a CVS receipt, but for our purposes, here are some of the ways faithfulness has looked in my life in the past year.
- Visiting a friend through sickness and old age, until her death
- Calling instead of texting
- Praying for a friend
- Bringing up a hard subject with a friend who "doesn't want to talk about it," but needs to
- Remembering when a friend is getting back from vacation so you can call and ask how it went
- Arguing, hanging up, and then calling back to apologize and work through an issue
- Calling a godly friend to tell them about something that was bothering me, because I knew she would have advice on it
Scripture speaks to friendships when it says:
As purified children of God with short and fading lives, what does God tell us to do?
To love each other sincerely, deeply, from the heart.
Sincerity doesn't forget friends, sincerity is faithful and genuine. Sincerity takes time to know a friend. Sincerity isn't puffed-up, thinking she's a benefactor of good deeds instead of a peer. After all, we need friendship. God has put our friends in our lives to encourage us, to confront us, to keep us from taking ourselves too seriously, to keep us from selfishness, the list could go on. Neglecting faithful friendship is neglecting one of God's greatest tools to change you and me.
For the most part, acts of faithfulness are small. When I look at my day, a house project or a meeting often looms larger on my to-do list than an act of faithfulness. I have to calm the bustle in my head and purpose to slow down and be a faithful friend, however that may look.
As I'm writing this, I feel like my busy week has a big dollop of extra busy on the top of it. Will you join me in being purposeful to slow down and really appreciate who God has put in our lives?
Guest author Audrey Bayly has blessed many friends through the years by her faithfulness. One particular blessing she received through a long-time friendship, though, was her eventual marriage to that friend's "annoying and freckled" little brother! Audrey and Ben love life and that is evident in the fun adventures they have with their two sons, Judson and Flynn.