No, no, no. You’re not going to scroll through this post and find Shia Labeouf’s “Just Do It!” motivational video. (Although, you could stop right here and YouTube the video right now). Just remember to come back!
She was known as the shy girl. The one who liked arts and crafts, story time, and singing songs, whose favourite shows were Art Attack, Arthur, Power Rangers, Garfield, and Angela Anaconda. #90skid Her childhood dream was to become a crossing guard. (Wanna know why? – On her walk to school one very windy day, her favourite Winnie the Pooh baseball cap flew off and landed in the middle of the road. Her trusty crossing guard whom she saw every morning and afternoon had controlled all traffic to run and grab her cap for her. That was the start of a childhood dream that may or may not become reality. LOL. Maybe when she retires 😛 ).
She was the new girl one, too many times. She was bullied, got bruised, came home crying and afraid to see that kid who “did it”. Her therapy was arts and crafts, music, and skipping rope. She learned to be the “quiet new girl” because she didn’t want to be bullied anymore. She knew she would come home to her mom and dad who loved her, and that’s all that mattered.
She started high school and things started to change. It wasn’t just about making friends and resorting to arts and music – her life revolved around being accepted and getting good grades. Near the end of her high school years, she was focused on making her parents proud, reaching success in university, and being a good friend.
She grew up. She gave up. She broke up. She had no choice but to look up after looking down for so long. #ohsnap !
As a young adult, she’s learning the true meaning of friendship, and what it means to be and have friends.
This post is inspired by Robin Jones Gunn and Alyssa Joy Bethke’s book, “Spoken For”. The titles of these posts are directly taken from the book (with a little modification on my part) each a reflection of how I’m personally growing closer to Jesus.
This past week I’ve leaned into a gift that I often forget to acknowledge: The value of friends. Let’s get real – yeah?
I asked some friends what a “friend” looked like:
Honest: they tell you how it is;
Accepting: they let you ‘ugly cry’ and don’t judge you (ugly cry is ugly but beautiful, cry it out yo!);
Reliable: they always come through;
A ‘good listener’;
They remember to pray for you;
Loyal, trustworthy, kind, supportive, genuine, loving;
“Someone who always wants to experience much love and happiness as you go through life.”;
“One who reflects God’s love and loves you because of their love for God.”
“They remind you of how great God is.”
“Someone I used to ‘use’ for my needs –> Someone who needs something and I shift my motives by asking myself – ‘how may I help them?”
“They care about your well-being without expecting a reward in return.”
Thanks friends 🙂 ❤
As the week progressed and I read over these ‘qualities in a friend’ and thought… wow, am I a friend? What are friends to me? How do I see my friends? The trying years of being the ‘new girl’ and the ‘quiet one’, had taught me the value in just being a good person.
I consider myself to be a caring, encouraging, and genuine friend. But who am I to claim the “best friend” award? The only way I’m able to love my friends as much as I do, is believing God loved them first.
Being a friend isn’t just about honesty and acceptance. Heck, I start conversations on the bus all the time. One I talked to about a book she was reading, The Case For Christ, also a movie, and we added each other on Instagram! Another, I helped carry groceries to his home from the bus stop and ended up being one of my passengers when I got a flat tire! One recent one resulted with a sushi lunch date with one of my school’s librarians! (Oh, and did I mention we’re neighbours?!)
Being a friend isn’t just being loyal, genuine, and loving. There are people who have walked in and out of my life. Some who were present for a second or two, but still made an impact.
Being a friend isn’t just about wanting to see you happy. Less than a handful of my closest friends are people I had disappointed time and time again. How we still keep in touch? Only God knows.
Friends don’t have to last a lifetime, but when they do, it’s amazing – words can’t express how great.
There was a time in September where I wanted to stop everything and just give up. I was frustrated, tried avoiding people, and broke down. That day I broke down, oh did it get ugly! One friend mentioned “a friend is one who lets you ‘ugly cry’ and don’t judge you.” – this was one of those moments. Weeping, breathing so heavily, and thoughts so clouded I never thought I’d get to this state. But I did.
I just came home from school, ate, and went up to my room. I felt tired, drained and just done… but why? Why was I so tired? It’s my last year of university, this is the last hurrah. I curled up on my bed and just laid there. Tears started rolling down my eyes. Why am I so sad? Am I even sad? I called my room mates up. Without considering what their first days of school could’ve been like, I just poured out my heart. They came up. We talked. I opened up, they listened. We prayed. There was peace.
Being a friend means being real. Sometimes I think, no I know we resort to hiding behind our phones and computers, we forget what it’s like to actually ‘be’. Opening up to my room mates opened a door to a whole new level of friendship.
There are several of you, reading this, who have reached out to me time and time again. For prayer, for encouragement, and just to listen. I love you guys, I really do. But sometimes, I know I can’t handle what you’e going through, and while listening to you – only God can take over.
“Being a christian [is] not one more thing I [have] to succeed at. Instead, it [is] the place which I [need] to say, ‘I can’t live this life, but You, O God, can do it in me.’ I think God cheers when we say, ‘I can’t!’ Living the christian life is not about success, it’s about surrender.” – Susan Alexander Yates
My definition of a friend is this: one who loves and gives love. That’s it. Short and simple, yet so deep and real. One thing’s for sure, when my friends fail me (and sorry friends, there are times that you do) let’s be real – I fail you too. I believe all are called to be a friend to those within their communities; everybody needs someone because being a friend and recognizing what a ‘friend’ is is key to all relationships. You don’t have to be a close friend, but you should care enough to be there when someone needs you to be.
If there’s one thing you can take away from this post, I hope it’s this: being a friend is being selfless. The previous post, You Are Loved, Now What?, steps into what being a ‘prayer warrior’ was like. This selflessness requires you to just do it even when you think you can’t – just do it anyway – BE a friend.
Why use the Nike tag line? Because it’s so catchy – JUST DO IT. When you see it, you know what it’s associated with. Fun fact: “Just Do It” marked a pivotal point in Nike’s history. The brand focused on catering to ‘male elite professional athletes’. In the late 1980s, Directors of Marketing and Advertising, Jerome Conlon and Scott Bedbury came together and envisioned the brand to overflow beyond the pros. They realized athletes came from a “fitness universe”. So they took several steps back and to reach customers who hadn’t ‘reached’ their ‘elite athlete’ potential yet. (For more info: http://www.complex.com/sneakers/2015/08/nike-just-do-it-history)
They didn’t know how the reshaping of the brand would turn out, but they went with it. Haha, they just did it. LOL. And you can, too. “Just Do It” is to Nike – I say, “Just do it” is to show love. Like this turning point with Nike, sometimes you just have to go with it and be a friend to who needs you to be there. But, remember to do it out of love (Matthew 25:35-40) and trust that God will use you to show your friend what love looks like. As common and known “Just Do It” is, I hope being a friend is as evident to recognizing those important people in your life.
A friend named Jesus is calling you to be His friend (John 15:15). He loves you more than any of your friends could ever show love (1 John 4:12). He knows everything about us before we even say anything (Romans 8:26). He has our best interests in mind (Isaiah 55:8-9) and prays for us (John 17:9, 11). What a friend!
I don’t believe I’m a perfect friend, and I don’t have perfect friends. However, what I do have is a friend in Jesus. I’ll never be a ‘good enough’ friend, and I’ll never have ‘good enough’ friends; Jesus is the best friend. I call Him my friend because of love and I hope you can, too. So the next time you feel inadequate, remember this:
You have been called to love so just do it.
Thank you friends, for being a friend. I love you guys. And when you forget, know that God loves you more ❤
“You are merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” – Psalm 103:8
QUESTIONS TO REFELCT ON:
- What or who is keeping you from being in a fully committed relationship with the Lord?
- In what ways do you think God might be calling you out of darkness? Think about the friends you have, the sort of entertainment you engage in, your secret thoughts and actions.
- Recall a time of loss, hurt, or rejection that cut deep into your life. What or who helped you to heal and to be restored?
- How does it feel when you think about being chosen and called out from the darkness?
- Is any shame, guilt, or sin weighing you down or preventing you from fully running into the Lord’s arms? Read Psalm 103:12; Micah 7:19; and 1 John 1:9. What do those verses say about your sin?
“Whether you realize it or not, God is calling you out daily. Every moment of every day. He is waiting. He is there. He wants you. He does not give up. He longs for you to catch His gaze, read His invitation, and come to Him. He will go to any length to win your heart. And here’s the crazy thing – He did.” – Robin Jones Gunn