Friendships are like a Trapeze Act
Dear Children of Mine,
As I type this, you are all hanging out with friends and having a great time, but this hasn’t exactly been the easiest year for friendships. And so, I want to tell you a few things I have learned about friendships through the years in the hope that my words will help as you continue to grow and mature and navigate this crazy world we live in.
Friendships are like a trapeze act.
Stick with me, okay?
Ethan, remember how we watched the trapeze act on our date to Seabreeze this past summer? Each person had a different role to play, but when they were all jumping off of the trampolines and flipping in the air, the entire crowd was mesmerized.
Friendships are kind of like that. Each of your friends will be different. You might gravitate towards some because of similarities in personality, but you will all still be unique. When you are all being who God has made you to be, but seeking to enjoy and appreciate each other, it is a thing of beauty!
Difficulty sets in when there is a pressure to conform or you feel like you have to act a certain way in order to feel appreciated or be liked. At times like that, it can feel like the safety net is gone. And sometimes it is. Sometimes friends will let you down. You will trust them and you will jump and they won’t be there to catch you.
I know it is heartbreaking. But here is the thing that I have learned. Your friends are never meant to be your safety net. Only Jesus can be that. He is the ONLY one who will never let you down. He is the only one who will not judge you based on where you are or where you have been. When He looks at you, He sees where He is taking you!
When you live with Jesus as your safety net, you don’t have to worry about whether or not your friends will be there for you, because you aren’t depending on them to catch you. This will allow you to be a good friend regardless of how your friends treat you. It will allow you to soar, because you know that whether your friends stand by you or betray you, you are safe and held securely.
It is hard to trust again once you have been hurt. How do you get back out there and try again when not only have you been dropped, but former friends seem to laugh at your pain? It’s hard. But this is why it is so important to see Jesus as the only one who can bring you the security you long for. I can’t say this often enough. HE will never let you down. Not ever! It doesn’t matter how many times you fail or mess up, He loves you and thinks the world of you.
These are a few of the things that I hope and pray for you as you seek to be a friend to others…
1. I pray that you would figure out who you are and then live that out with everything that you have. I know this has been hard. You have been the “new kid” so often and when you come into situations where other kids have been friends forever, it’s tough. You have tried to fit in, but I want you to understand that being a good friend is not about fitting in. It is about being kind and loyal and generous to others. It is admitting when you have been mean and then having the courage to change. It is seeking the good in others and wanting the best for them. And your close friends should want the same for you. There is no hierarchy in friendship only a genuine desire for others (and yourself!) to be the very best version of YOU that God has made you to be.
2. I pray that you wouldn’t forget the hard lessons you have learned. As hard as it is, going through difficulty in friendships gives you compassion for others that is hard to learn any other way. Compassion is one of the best gifts ever. It allows you to love the unlovable. It makes you capable of forgiving the worst offense. Compassion makes the world a better place and that’s what I desire for each one of you!
3. I pray that you would extend grace to others understanding that you need grace to be extended to you. You are not yet who God is making you to be. You are a work in progress just as your friends are. This means that you will not always get it right and neither will your friends. True friendships will extend grace upon grace.
Friendship is one of the best gifts that God has given His people, but it can also be one of the most painful parts of life. I think this is why scripture teaches us to focus on knowing Christ. When He is our safety net (our Rock, our Refuge, our Strength, our Deliverer), we are then able to love others well, trusting that He will heal our broken hearts and allow us to walk in freedom and love.
May you all soar!