The One Thing You Need to Grow Deeper Friendships

40

 

When we live in the dark, we tend to hide all of our faults, failures, fears and flaws but if we live in the light we can bring them into the open and admit who we truly are. When this happens, friendships flourish.

Women and friendship go hand in hand don’t they? I mean when we speak about friendship in terms of gender, more than likely it involves females and the two words are synonymous with one another. Annoyingly, Hollywood glamorizes female friendships and makes them look “normal” when actually the way they are portrayed, they are everything but normal.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a friend that has been my “bestie” or BFF since grade school. Nor do I have a friend group of quirky girls with long curly hair, designer bags, and leopard print heels that match. I’m not in a friend group that talks to each other frequently during the day and shows up on each others doorstep unannounced.

Maybe I’m weird, but I don’t think that is normal. I’m not saying that those type of friendships aren’t out there, I’m just saying I don’t think there as frequent as we think.  Sure, the idea is neat. But I think the record needs to be set straight that it’s okay if we don’t have these types of friendships.

I believe that there are different types of friendships that are valuable and serve a purpose. Surface level friendships are cool because they require zero effort. Usually these types of friendships go no deeper than casual conversations discussing the weather and how the humidity makes our hair frizz. The only value they may have is simply bringing a smile or to produce laughter. Nothing wrong with that. 

Then there are temporary friendships. Because “life” happens they come and go. This isn’t particularly a bad thing even though we tend to think that it is. It can take work to develop and maintain a friendship and most won’t or simply can’t do the work necessary. It’s all good.

Sadly, sometimes friendships that were once very close and maybe even deep can turn temporary. Oftentimes trying to maintain a friendship can become wearisome and toxic. This doesn’t reflect poorly on the other person, it just means that you’ve had to make a choice of what your priorities are in your current season of life. No matter how much we think we know, we have absolutely no idea what the other person is going through.

Even if you’re close with someone and may know all their “dirt,” you really have no idea. They may be doing all they can do just to keep their head above water. There are times in our life that our full focus must be on our own family or household. Times when everything we have to give goes completely to them. Knowing that there are friends patiently standing on the sidelines who are silently praying and offering simple words of encouragement without expecting anything in return are rare gifts in friendship.

True friendship is never “look what I have done for you” but instead “what else can I do for you”

Authenticity is the one thing you need to grow deeper in friendships. When we live in the dark, we tend to hide all of our faults, failures, fears and flaws but if we live in the light we can bring them into the open and admit who we truly are. When this happens, friendships flourish.

In general, women long for deep, close friendships. But most either don’t know how to get there, or they aren’t willing to do what it takes because of fear. Honestly I think we make it harder than it has to be.

I believe that there’s one thing we need in order to grow deeper in our friendships:

Authenticity.

 

But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin but if we say we have no sin we are fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 1 John 1:7-8

When we live in the dark, we tend to hide all of our faults, failures, fears and flaws, but if we live in the light we can bring them into the open and admit who we truly are.
Here’s the thing: If you want to build deep meaningful friendships you’re going to have to let others see your weaknesses. You’re going to have to practice authenticity. This requires both courage and humility. And it requires you to take a risk. So why take the risk?

Being authentic is the only way to grow spiritually and be emotionally healthy in your friendships.

“Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed.” James 5:16

If you want deep friendships it’s up to YOU. If you want better friendships you’ve got to start with some changes in yourself first rather than expecting everyone around you to change.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

If you struggle with being authentic in your friendships do you know why? One word:

Fear.

Yep, good ol’, ugly fear. We are scared.

  • Fear of being exposed. We don’t want others to think that we don’t have it all together.

Not one of us has it all together.

Just because someone appears to have it all together on the outside, that doesn’t mean that everything is together on the inside. We really have no idea what others go through.

  • Fear of being rejected. We are afraid that we won’t be pretty enough, smart enough or good enough.

“Fear of man is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.” Proverbs 29:25.

Whoa. Well there ya go. Where is your trust. Do you trust in Him? If you truly trust in Him, shouldn’t you be able to lose the fear?

  • Fear of getting hurt. Here’s the simple truth. When we are scared of getting hurt we are defensive and protective. This causes us to be fake or un-genuine. We then build walls that no one can get through and we end up pushing people away.

But then there’s this:

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26

I don’t know about you, but that makes me completely giddy. That’s a promise from God right there my friend! He will give you a new heart! The question is,

will you accept it?

A friendship is one of the most beautiful relationships you'll ever have.

What now?

Pray.

Authenticity in friendship starts with prayer. It starts by seeking Him with all of your heart. Pray that He would soften your heart and open it up so that you can receive and give authentic friendship.

True and deep authentic friendships help us grow. They cause us to believe and to hope and to dream. They can help us be a better mom and wife.

Be the friend you want to have.

True friendship cause us to believe, hope and dream. #friendship Click To Tweet

I love this description of a true friend. Try quoting 1 Corinthians 13 and replace “love” with “friend” like below.

A friend is patient and kind. Friends do not envy, they don’t boast, and they aren’t proud.   Friends do not dishonor each other. They aren’t self-seeking. Friends are not easily angered and they keep no record of wrong doing. Friends do not delight in evil but rejoice in the truth. Friends always protect.
Friends always trust. Friends always hope. Friends always persevere.

A friendship is one of the most beautiful relationships you will ever have.

This is the 3rd Part of my Friendship Series. If you missed out on the first two be sure and hop on over there!

How to Be a Friend
Friendship Struggles | How to Confront a Friend

I love hearing from you! Please take a minute to say ‘hi’ and share your thoughts below. Also leave any prayer requests. I love praying for you!

Also, would you do me a favor? -If you resonate with this article or it has helped you today— would you share it with someone else? Maybe a friend, coworker, or family member?

You might also enjoy:

  1. lc says:

    Fear of rejection and being hurt…….again. …..Much healing needed. ……still :-‘(
    I’m battling for my life.
    I appreciate your prayers ♡

    • Shannon says:

      Sweet Lela (is that your first name) I prayed for you when I read this. You are so loved! I prayed that you would feel Jesus’ loving arms around you today and that you would feel His presence so strong. He’s right there with you! Lean on Him and trust Him!

  2. Kiim says:

    Love your definition of friendship! So true!

  3. So much goodness in these words! True friends are hard to find (and keep!), but “iron sharpening iron” is so essential as a believer! Thanks for sharing this truth.

    • Shannon says:

      Yes Krystal- iron sharpening iron is honestly so necessary and I’m grateful that I have people in my life to help sharpen me!

  4. Dawn says:

    I am always blessed when I stop by and read your words, Shannon. I really appreciate how you mentioned that developing real friendships of authenticity starts with us not them. That can be such a black hole in our relationships and is so contradictory to being an image bearer of God. If we adopt the servant’s heart and choose to be less so He can be more, we can find joy in our relationships with His perspective, always pointing to Christ. It takes the fear out when you know you are both walking to the same destination and you can enjoy the journey together….even when your paths part. That was a hard lesson for me, but it also opened my eyes to His grace.

    Blessings,
    Dawn

  5. Deb Wolf says:

    This one is so hard for me, Shannon! After 25 years, my best friend distorted and used my trust of her against me. It’s been hard for me to feel safe with a girlfriend since that time. I love your 1 Corinthians 13 for Friends – so good! Now to just consistently apply it! Great post! I will continue to hope and believe this kind of friendship is possible.

    • Shannon says:

      Aw Deb…I’m so sorry you were betrayed by your friend. That’s so hard..and friendships are just hard. I can relate to you! Thank God for his friendship, right? Where would we be without him?

  6. Lovely! Yes. There are so many different types of friendships. “Temporary” and “Surface” do not equate to failed. I can’t figure out (really, I just looked!!) which book it’s from, but something I recently read showed two ladders side by side. Each person in a relationship had their own ladder and they had a rope in between them. Each person’s authenticity and mutual investment determine if that rope is tense and strained between them or if it is relaxed as they climb up together. Anyway….really love what you shared here : ) Thank you!

  7. Carol says:

    Authenticity. I love that word. While I was at The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference I listened to Cathy Keller speak and was drawn to her transparency as she talked about prayer. You are right–we need to be authentic, willing to share our weakness to develop deep friendship.

    I have friends that have been close for a season . . . and then family events & situations intervene. But then there has been a new season of catching up and supporting.

    • Shannon says:

      Yes Carol..I think it’s important that friends be patient with one another through times of hard seasons! Thanks for stopping by today!

  8. MELANIE REDD says:

    Be the friend you want to have.
    What good advice, Shannon!
    Another wonderful post on friendship!

  9. Authenticity is definitely what makes friendship the best. And I think in various seasons there are stages of friendship with he same friend and that is okay. Like you said with needs from our families and such, it can change without us wanting it to.

  10. Shannon, a friend is a special treasure. Love how you adapted 1 Cor. 13 to friends!

  11. This spoke to me so deeply today. I cried at the beginning because it was the first time I felt like someone else was like me in the friendship department, but more than that: that it’s ok. All those types of friendship are ok. So much freedom here. No room for guilty or loathing or insecurity because each friendship has a purpose (even if it’s temporary). Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

    • Shannon says:

      HI dear Becky! I’m so glad to hear that it encouraged you…honestly it’s the only reason I write! SO to hear that just makes me beyond giddy! Have a great weekend!

  12. Susannah says:

    This speaks to my heart as I’m in a season of being new and making new friends. Thank you so much for these truths!

    • Shannon says:

      Hi Susannah- I’m moving to a different state in August, so I will be right there with you. I’m sure it will be difficult at times for me, but I believe God has prepared the way for me just as He has for you (whether you have just moved or not). Hang in there, and put yourself out there! I’m praying for you!

  13. Kathryn says:

    Hi Shannon!

    This was such a great post that I needed to read today. I am just a year out of college and am still in the same town that I graduated college from. Most of my good friends have moved away and it’s been hard for me to meet new people and put myself out there. I’ve joined a church and have some women in my Bible Study who seem like great women. I have prayed to God to help me find the right friends! They might be “temporary” as you said, since I don’t plan to stay here for much longer. But I miss weekly encouragement, laughter and support from great friends.

    xoxo – Kathryn

    • Shannon says:

      Hi Kathryn! Good for you, for putting yourself out there and joining a bible study. God has already gone before you, and even though you may be lonely right now, if you just hang on, and keep putting yourself out there, God will bring you friendships! I’m praying for you!

  14. Laura Strand says:

    What a beautiful reminder that different types of friendship are okay, that our seasons of life are going to determine at times who are friends are…and that’s ok! Someone once said, to have a friend you have to be a friend. I believe that goes hand in hand with your encouragement to be authentic, let go of fear, and see what you can bring to a relationship.

    • Shannon says:

      Laura- I’m so glad you stopped by today. Friendship is just difficult, but if we can learn to just accept each other as we are without expectations and practice authenticity with out fear, than I believe we are on the road to fullfiling friendships!

  15. Shannon, I found your blog via Pinterest and I’m so glad that I did! This exact thing has been on my heart lately and a recurring theme recently in my time with the Lord. It’s so easy to get lost in a pity party and but the truth really is that it’s up to us to find and cultivate these relationships! Thanks for writing this. I needed it today! (P.s. I’m a Tulsa girl too!) God bless!

    • Shannon says:

      Hi Chelsea! You’re in T-Town too, huh?? So so cool and I’m so glad you found me! Yes…pity parties seem to be prevelant among friendships don’t they? No matter how old women are, friendship is just kind of a big deal!

  16. I couldn’t agree more with this: “There are times in our life that our full focus must be on our own family or household. Times when everything we have to give goes completely to them. Knowing that there are friends patiently standing on the sidelines who are silently praying and offering simple words of encouragement without expecting anything in return are rare gifts in friendship.” This struck a nerve with me because I begin to feel guilty about “neglecting” my friendships, but my family is the first place God calls me to. I can’t feel guilty about God’s calling.

    Thank you for beautiful words and for this series. Have a blessed week, sweet friend. <3 xxxx

    • Shannon says:

      Carolina- don’t feel guilty! We’re not superwomen- lol..sometimes caring for our family is the best we can do! xoxoxo

  17. So true for friendship and marriage, especially “what else can I do for you?” I’ve often wondered why as adults we forget how to make and keep friends like when we were children. So glad to visit today! Crystal~

  18. Shannon, this post is so spot on! I am with you in the type of friends I have! They might have a cute handbag or two, but it’s not the norm or the focus! As I have gotten older, unless it’s authentic, I have found myself literally feeling uncomfortable.

    I have loved your friendship series and am thankful to call you friend! I love that from day 1 we could be authentic without fear!

    Thanks so much for helping make #MomentsofHope a place where Jesus shines brightly!
    Blessings and hugs,
    Lori

  19. Autumn says:

    Love this post! I have never had a solid friend all the way growing up either, but sometimes I definitely envy it after watching TV shows. However, since moving cross country four years ago I have been blessed with several very good friendships which helped me stop having the fear of rejection and put myself out there. I don’t click with everyone, but it has definitely made me feel secure enough that I don’t really care so much (because I recognize that is normal).

  20. Michelle says:

    I’ve soaked in every word in this post. It is true. Fear keeps us from many friendships and relationships in general. As I’m struggling right now with a relationship within my family I can’t help but think of the words of Jesus in 1 Cor. 13 as you have so eloquently stated. Will be sharing this!

    • Shannon says:

      Michelle- for some reason this went to my spam folder! I need to clean that thing out more often! Thank you for your kind words! I’m saying a prayer for you and your situation right noq!

  21. Stacy says:

    Thank you for this reminder! The devil tries to keep us secluded and lonely by telling us the lies that we aren’t good enough or that we will get hurt again…because he knows what an important source of encouragement and prayer a group of women friends are! There is a verse about searching for faithful friends… when I find it ill post it! So important! Thanks again!

  22. Lizi hurni says:

    Hi my name is lizi i have special needs Williams syndrome I have Christian friends that love and care about me is there a new way to apruch them I’ve felt of Jesus when he was rejected by so many people I feel the same way how should I show them how much I care about them and love them ?😢

CommentLuv badge

On Instagram