Desiring Godly Friendships
By: Chelsey DeMatteis
I remember the day my parents and I loaded up all of my things, the day they moved me to Columbus, Ohio. I still can see myself standing by the door with a heaviness over me as I watched them shut the door to the trailer that held all of my things. It was like a giant door closing on all the friendships I’d ever known and a life I quite honestly never wanted to go back to. Brokenness plagued my relationships and choices.
This new beginning ahead of me was so much than just a move or joining a new school, it also meant a new season of life that would forever define what friendship really meant. It didn’t hit me until the third week of living alone, that I was truly alone.
I remember talking to the Lord, my faith the size of a mustard seed, in that little 650 square foot studio apartment.
“When will I meet forever friends?” I’d whisper. It seemed every other person around me had more than enough friends and I couldn’t find one.
I look back over that season and see two ways God protected me by not answering this prayer:
1) The newly-moved-to-Columbus Chelsey wasn’t in the place to have new friendships, I was in deep need of developing a relationship with my Heavenly Father.
2) I didn’t know how to choose friends who would love me, lead me, and point me to Jesus.
By God’s grace He has shown me over the last 9 years that I didn’t need to be living in waiting for “forever” friends. I needed to love Him first and live expectant for the friendships I could trust He had for me. This perspective changed everything for me and I pray it does for you. Once we love God we can trust in this; God will send different people to help steward us, challenge us, and point us to Him. He will send different personalities who can speak truth to us in ways we couldn’t receive otherwise.
The heart of God doesn’t sit within one earthly friendship, the heart of God is within a lifetime of meeting people who show the different characteristics and complexities of who God is.
In Romans 12:10, God calls us “to outdo one another in showing honor.” He is calling us as Christians to live out His character and when we honor the people He puts in front of us or trust Him to send us the friendships we’re desiring, ultimately we’re honoring Him.
Another thing I’ve had to learn over time is this; friendships with Christ sown at the center have a mutual understanding that seasons change and God calls us to other things. It doesn’t make someone a bad person if your paths no longer seem to cross. It doesn’t mean they don’t care for you anymore if the phone calls end up being 3 times a year and not every month. If you’re both honoring God with your lives and honoring each other, you can trust what God is doing within the parameters of your friendship. We can rest in His security that no matter where the friendship leads He is in control. Perhaps you’re finding yourself in a season of desiring friendships the way I was when I moved, but instead of asking God what I did all those years ago, try praying this; “God I trust you will bring Godly friendships in my life, please lead me to what you have for me.” A heart that’s tethered to the love of God and desires His will always ends up exactly where He wants you.
As we navigate this (sometimes tricky) area of Christ-centered friendships, I hope we find ourselves running to His word instead of allowing our feelings to run our minds. Look at Romans 12:9-10, the heading is this, “Marks of a True Christian.”
The way we honor this season of desiring Godly friendships and living that out gives us is an outward representation to the world of someone who truly loves God and His people. Let us not get hung up on the what could be’s or how things ended with someone else who skated through our lives. Those thoughts keep us from going deeper with others.
Ruth and Naomi are a wonderful biblical example of this. Their relationship was anything but easy. It was filled with heartache and hardships. But, we see that when Naomi and Ruth united in the relationship God was calling them too it was abundantly blessed by Him. The Lord brought them together for His mission and His glory, to display His redeeming love and unwavering grace.
You can find more from Chelsey on her website, https://www.chelseydematteis.com/.
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