Encouragement for Today - May 4, 2012
May 4, 2012
Women: Friend or Foe?
" ... a sweet friendship refreshes the soul." Proverbs 27:9 (MSG)
Years ago I would've told you that I don't much like women. I counted a few as friends, but the rest I dismissed as too much trouble. Never a "tomboy" by any stretch of the imagination, I just found guys easier to deal with. They generally say what they mean, let you know where you stand, and never size you up to determine who has the better haircut.
I didn't want to distrust women, but the majority of females in my life at the time evoked that response. They were catty, competitive and conniving. They gossiped, backstabbed and manipulated. I have to admit that I often responded in kind. Isn't it strange how addictive relational drama can be?
I'm told you can put a frog in a pot of cold water on the stove and gradually turn up the heat, and it will stay in the pot until it reaches a fatal boil without attempting to escape. Evidently the frog doesn't realize how unhealthy the situation is slowly becoming. I can't vouch for the accuracy of that fable - I'd never boil a frog! - but I've been in a few friendships like that. I stayed way too long in the pot before I realized this isn't healthy for me, and I got burned.
So what lead me to flip-flop my position on having girlfriends? First, I decided to become friends with God. This sparked beneficial changes in my mind and spirit. Where I had been cynical and guarded, God's love penetrated and softened my heart. I learned the meaning of Proverbs 18:24, "A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother" (NIV 1984). Christ was now my forever friend who could be trusted completely.
I also made changes in my choice of girlfriends. Through the Holy Spirit and lessons on character in the book of Proverbs, I learned to recognize which people and relational patterns were unhealthy for me.
I was ready to be rid of the drama! The Bible teaches, "He who walks with the wise grows wise" (Proverbs 13:20a NIV). I wanted to walk with wise women through life. Many of my current-at-the-time friendships ran their natural course and dissolved. A few transformed along with me.
But there were a few I deliberately phased out because my own character wasn't strong enough yet to remain Christ-like in their company.
Meanwhile, I prayed for quality friendships with women of faith. God heard my prayers. Fun-loving, God-loving, gracious women at my church sought me out and invited me out. And I made the choice to trust and invest in them. I discovered how beneficial it is to surround yourself with women who inspire your walk with God.
Over time, God birthed in me a huge love and great compassion for women. I began seeing them through His eyes and not just the lens of my own hurtful past. I realized that not all women are like those I had known. I also learned to forgive and pray for those who've hurt me. Today I cherish my friendships with the women in my life.
Dear Lord, I want to have good friends, and to be a good friend. Help me to develop godly friendships that honor and draw others to You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Do You Know Him?
It's No Secret: Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know by Rachel Olsen
Reflect and Respond:
Study the book of Proverbs and learn the traits of trustworthy character so you can develop them yourself and recognize them in others.
Is there someone you can befriend? Striking up a friendship can be a great way to introduce a gal to Christ.
Do you find yourself entangled in an unhealthy relationship? Are you in emotional hiding after being burned? Take that to God and ask Him to heal and bring restoration to your heart. Ask Him to send godly, wise women into your life. Then muster up the courage to respond and befriend them.
James 2:23, "And the scripture was fulfilled that says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,' and he was called God's friend." (NIV)
Proverbs 22:11, "If you love purity of heart and graciousness of speech, the king will be your friend." (GNT)
© 2012 by Rachel Olsen. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105