When a Friendship Shifts

It’s my pleasure to welcome my new-found friend and fellow writer, Joy Williams, as my guest blogger. Her passion is sharing the life-changing truths about the grace of God in Christ.  Joy’s words bless me because she always points me to Christ. Welcome Joy even in this……..

I’m hopeful when a friendship begins. I’m grateful when a friendship grows. But I’m hurt and perplexed when a friendship shifts.

During a recent conversation with a friend, awkwardness hung over every word. Our once familiar space felt foreign to me.

It was evident our friendship was changing. We’ve been friends for years, but now phone calls are fewer. Texts are shorter. Sharing has become shallow.

If you’ve ever had a friendship shift, you know the symptoms: Disruption followed by silence or distance followed by absence.

Sometimes it’s by mutual understanding; when the busyness of life competes with our priorities. Other times, it’s a natural progression; for example, when a friend moves away or moves into a new phase of life. But it can also happen as a painful reaction to something that was done or said.

Regardless of what’s causing my friendship shift, I miss my friend. I miss the way we used to laugh at the same thing and hurt over similar things. The pace of our lives changes, new needs constantly surface and new priorities often appear. Yet, I believe…

A true friend loves regardless of the situation,
and a real brother exists to share the tough times. – Proverb 17:17 Voice

How can friends remain true in every circumstance?

I believe tough times provide the biggest opportunity. However, if much of our time is spent second guessing and fault finding, the toughest thing to share could be an honest conversation about how we really feel.

When friendships fail to adapt to what’s new, it’s hard to hold onto what was.

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I want to rally around the Proverbs 17:17 cry. But I don’t want to rally alone. However, John 15:12-13 reminds us friendship requires selflessness and even sacrifice. Jesus was willing to lay down His life for His friends. Now, I find it hard just to pick up the phone to call her.

Help me to do better Jesus.

Help me show her You, Jesus. You show love to the failing and compassion to the weak.

You show love and compassion to me.

Some friendships are for a reason. Some are for a season and some are for a lifetime. It’s a familiar saying, but it’s not always easy to know the reasons behind a season in a friendship.

However, I do know where to take my hurting heart. I’m taking it straight to Jesus.
He helps me sort through my emotions. He forgives my faults. He offers His counsel for my regrets. Until…

I have the words to express His heart.

The heart to hold His compassion.

His peace for this friendship’s path.

If you’re feeling a friendship shift too, here’s some good news: People fail each other; but Jesus never will. He knows how to mend what’s broken in and around us. I’m praying for friendships to heal and to become powerful places to share hope for the heart and joy to the soul.

Joy A. Williams is a writer, speaker and the author of Friendship MAPS: A Journey through Maturity, Aspirations, Perspectives and Struggles. Through her weekly blog, she encourages sincere or side-tracked truth seekers with “hope for the heart and joy to the soul” at joyAwilliams.com. You can also connect with Joy on Twitter @joytothesoul or on Facebook fb.me/joytothesoul.

 

 

Ants and Application

Ants love sugar water, but they hate chalk.

For years, I fought an army of ants crawling down the chain that holds my hummingbird feeder. Drowned ants floated in the sweet liquid, clogged up the tiny drinking holes.

When I read that ants won’t walk over chalk, I decided to draw a line of chalk around the nail that holds my hummingbird feeder.

Sure enough, the chalk acts like a barricade. I also outline the area around my cat bowl with chalk….no more ants crawling in the leftover food.

Here’s my point.

Last weekend, I allowed disappointing circumstances to put me in a melancholy mood. My emotions took precedent over rational thoughts.

I cried. I vented. I wallowed in self-pity.

And when I’d had enough of ME, I applied what always works for me.

I rejoiced in the Lord, and asked Him to use my circumstances to teach me.

And because God draws near to those who seek Him, the Holy Spirit showed me 2 Samuel 18 & 19.

King David’s son Absalom leads a revolt against his father in order to seize the throne for himself. As civil war breaks out, David and his family must flee Jerusalem. In the ensuing battle, King David’s men win and Absalom is killed.

Despite Absalom’s treasonous act, David is overcome with grief. He mourns the death of his son instead of rejoicing in victory. But Joab, David’s military commander, holds him accountable. He tells David to “snap out of it” and recognize the people who fought for him.

 These events happened centuries ago, but “scripture is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12)

Rather than read the Bible for content….I search for personal application.

One brings head knowledge.

The latter brings heart change.

In this case, I had two options.

Allow my emotions to become a stronghold which leaves me like King David …. in a funk which robs me of joy.

Apply Biblical knowledge to my circumstances and achieve victory over self.

Like drawing a chalk line, I chose to apply what the Bible says.

I took “captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Because thoughts precede emotions which determine my mood.

And in the process, I was changed for the better.

A Pocketful of Promises

On Monday morning, I looked at my calendar and drew a diagonal line through each day of the previous week.

Activities that once occupied the twenty-four hour spaces of my life were history.

  • Appointments
  • Meetings
  • School projects
  • Athletic events
  • Lunch dates
  • Errands
  • Work.

What my calendar didn’t reflect was the myriad of emotions I experienced during that time.

  • Regret
  • Frustration 
  • Anger 
  • Depression
  • Fear
  • Joy
  • Satisfaction

No, I’m not going through “the change.” LIFE HAPPENS!

Some days might feel like a treadmill, going nowhere, but my emotions don’t flat line.  

While my heart is beating, I will experience the rugged terrain that comes with this territory called life. All I can do is walk it out as best I can.

One day at a time.

Accepting whatever comes my way.

Learning to bend with the wind so I don’t break.

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And on the days I struggle toWalk by faith and not by sight”

When I CAN’T ….

  • Make sense of life
  • Control other people’s actions/responses
  • Control my own moods/flaws
  • Make a difference in the world

I CAN trust God’s promises because….

  • GOD CAN  But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:27)
  • GOD is ABLE:  to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” (Ephesians 3:20)
  • GOD DOES:  work for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
  • GOD SHALL:  “supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

Clinging to God’s promises enables me to look at the coming week and rest, assured He holds the future.

Confident I can trust Him even in the best and worst of times.