Birthdays & Friends…How many of us have them?
To know me is to know that my birthday is a pretty big deal to me. I have been that way all of my life. It doesn’t matter if it is a significant year or not. The only thing that matters is that it is MY BIRTHDAY! But since I’ve turned 30, birthdays just seem to have gone downhill. I could attribute the decline to my constant changing of “seasons” since I’ve been here in Phoenix, not being in Texas, and other things. But nevertheless it has caused me to look at life and friendships differently.
Over the past year and a half it seems that I have been enrolled in the “Relationship Hard Knocks School”. I have experienced a season of loneliness , a lot of misunderstandings, friendships lost, friendships reconciled, friendships strengthened, and friendships gained. When you experience all of those things, you find yourself reluctant to trust people, wanting to be closed off, and not wanting to let anyone else in again. That sounds so dark and believe me it was! How can you live your life withdrawn from people? Especially me! I love people and it can be unfortunate at times that I love hard!
My mom has always told me that I make people my “friends” too fast, and that is when I get used and taken advantage of. There is some truth in that, and I can be loyal to a fault at times. But I’ve learned that love is a choice and it involves a lot of risk. It isn’t something that I get to be afraid of and put up walls to protect myself. I get to be powerful in my relationships. And not in a negative way, but I do not have to be fearful. Love casts out all fear right?
And you have to be willing to fight for friendships that matter, especially covenant relationships. There are some relationships that the enemy really would like to not exist, and those are the ones that he attacks the most. Those are the ones where we experience the most hurt, because he knows it will be difficult for us to bounce back. But I have learned that you have to recognize his schemes and refuse to let anything stand in the way of reconciliation and restoration. Obviously those relationships are a threat to his plans, so they are worth fighting for. (Lesson for future marriage, too! Noted…)
I’ve also made it a point to celebrate people on their birthdays. Having a birthday in the midst of my “school” enrollment was super hard. There has always been something that happens since I’ve lived here that deflates the fun out of my day, but last year was pretty rough. However, I had a few friends that made it better as the days and weeks went on, which made me very thankful for genuine friends.
The kind that are unassuming. The kind that celebrate you and with you. Check you when you are wrong. Offer advice even when it’s not something you want to hear. Push you to be the best you can be. Let you vent, but then lead you back to what Jesus says about the situation. Pray with you and for you. Make sure you eat, have gas in your car, etc!!
And that’s the kind of friend I want to be. I know everyone is not meant to be in your inner circle and we have to place boundaries on our friendships, but I am thankful that I am learning what it really means to be a friend. And I am looking forward to sharing this upcoming birthday with some of those I choose to call friends.
Feeling thankful…and obviously missing my Texas crew…