Struggling With Friendships - Encouragement Café - August 12, 2016

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Struggling With Friendships
By Luann Prater
Friday, August 12, 2016

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.  John 15:13

I’m a killer. 

Yes, you read it right.  I’m laying it out there and admitting it.

I’ve wondered if it is from my dysfunctional home life as a kid.  You see we moved annually, which meant I was in a different school every year until I was a teenager. 

For an extremely shy girl (yes, I was), this was terrifying.  The dread and cold sweats would come the night before I had to face the new classroom.  I knew what to expect: stares, whispers and giggles.

The layers built up thinking it didn’t really matter if they liked me or not because I probably wouldn’t be there long anyway.  Occasionally I would open up just a bit.  Then mom would say, “Pack up,” and along with the boxes, my heart would seal up too.

It just hurt too much to hope that friendships could ever last.  So I killed them before they could take root.  End it now before I’m too invested, was my mindset.

Maybe you’ve been hurt by relationships and know exactly what I’m talking about.  We can fool ourselves into thinking that we don’t need to open up and risk the pain of rejection or the devastation of potential loss.

Girlfriend, let me tell you what I discovered.  The apostle John paints a portrait of a warm, real Jesus.  He reached through that picture and out to me.  He came into my heart and at that moment the love of a Savior poured into my life. 

In the 4th chapter He offered living water that becomes a spring welling up to eternal life!  When you begin to live that effervescent life, it becomes contagious!  The joy that bubbles up from the inside cannot be hidden.  Others are drawn to you and wonder how you can have joy in all circumstances.

And then it happens.  Friendships develop.  The old me would shut down, walk away or murder a relationship.  I just didn’t think I had what it takes to keep a friendship alive and healthy.

And I don’t, but God does.

In John He goes on to say,

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  You are my friends if you do what I command.

This girl, who murdered most relationships found love, real love.  Unconditional love changes the way you look at others.  I slip on my God goggles and see people through His eyes.  That angry grocery clerk is really a woman who just discovered her child was arrested.  That snippy coworker is dealing with aging parents.  That unfriendly neighbor found a lump on her breast.

Suddenly that spring of living water erupts and God floods my heart with compassion beyond myself.  My heart can genuinely encourage and come alongside them.

Maybe you’ve struggled with friendships.  God crossed our paths today on purpose.  He is asking us to take a risk.  Let your guard down and love, as He loved us.

Read John 4: Ask God to open your heart and slip on your God goggles to see hurting hearts around you today.

Dear Lord, thank You for loving me and teaching me how to love others.  Open my mind to see beyond myself today and take the risk of relationships built on You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

© 2013 by Luann Prater.  All rights reserved.

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