You know those people you can’t live without? The ones who push you toward Jesus daily. Who pick you up when you fall down. Maybe you’re still searching for those people. If that’s the case, then trust me when I say I was right there with you for years.
I struggled in the friend department. No, I didn’t do the sorority thing. I was never the kid with a bunch of neighborhood friends and I never took dance lessons where everyone seemed to meet their best friends. I grew up with two brothers, okay. There weren’t exactly any “sisterly bonds” in my household. No mani-pedi dates or late night talks. More like swinging open my bedroom door on a Saturday morning with the speaker blaring to wake me up and annoy me. While I love my brothers, I always had slight envy toward my friends with sisters. I mean, a built-in best friend? Heck yeah, I would have taken that when I seemed to have no close friends or was so wrapped up in drama with the friends I did have. But what I found is that I was looking for true friendship in all the wrong places.
I’ll put it the way scripture does..
“Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” (1 Corinthians 15:33)
And quite frankly, my view of true friendship was a little off. I thought in order to have true friends I had to act “cool”, show up to parties, spill the latest gossip, just be the girl everyone likes. The friendships I had were surface level and stagnant, but the type of friendship I was yearning for dove far deeper than the surface. I prayed for Godly friends. Literally begged God for them. Which is quite ironic considering I wasn’t even living like the type of friend I wanted. I found myself crying while writing in my journal over and over these words: “I just want someone to really see me.” “If only someone could understand me.” Looking back, that sounds so dramatic. But I remember how real it felt in the moment. The loneliness. The hopelessness. Maybe you’re in that place today. Maybe you feel alone or completely hidden. Like you have no one to turn to and no one to listen. Well I have some good news for you, friend. You are not alone and you are not hidden. And you always have a friend. Scripture says so, and God’s Word doesn’t lie.
“The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry.” (Psalm 34:15)
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6-7)
The character of Jesus is steadfast and His presence is not dependent on our obedience. Thank you, Lord. Because if that were the case, He would have left my world a long time ago. I once heard a pastor say he believes when we get to Heaven we’ll look back and be shocked to realize Jesus was there in the mundane moments just as He was in the life altering ones. It’s easy to acknowledge Him when we need Him most. When we’re desperate for Him. But what about the drive to work or the walk to class? When we’re pumping gas or in a coffee shop. Even in the little argument with your boyfriend. Each mundane moment connects to another and leads to the life altering ones. And Jesus is a part of it all.
“The eyes of the Lord are in every place, watching the evil and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3)
So, if God assures us that He’s in every moment, we just have to learn to prioritize His presence.
I used to take walks with Jesus. Just Him and me down my street. I’d take the time to tell Him about my day and He’d take the time to listen. Even if I tried, I couldn’t put into words how much the fruits from those walks meant to me. Joy, peace, love, gentleness. It was as if Jesus took every worry away for those moments in time and allowed me to fully experience what truly matters in life: Him. But somehow I let myself get out of that habit and sucked into the busyness of life and I’ll be the first to say it took a toll on my relationships. And while I’m still slowly getting back into the habit, man I see such a shift in my thoughts and perspective when I take them. There’s just something about understanding that God knows everything we plan on telling Him, but He’d walk with us all day just to hear it from His children. If you’ve never taken a walk with Jesus, I highly recommend it. You can thank me later 😉
Friends are great and mine are some of my greatest treasures, but we will never know a friend like Jesus. One who can flood us with peace and make sense of our mess, even when we often press our own self-destruct button.
Once I stopped searching for fulfillment at every dead end and wrong relationship, my world changed. My perspective changed. Everything changed.
My pastor always used to say, “If you want to see God work in your life, go do the last thing He told you to do.”
Before I completely surrendered to God, I remember hearing His voice so clearly that I would write it all down in my notes so I wouldn’t miss a thing. The Lord was so patient with me and I’ll never forget the peace that came over me when I finally said yes to Him. Along with that peace came fear and heartache. Thankfully, the other two came and went, but the peace never left.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that when I started truly living for Jesus and was obedient to do the last thing He asked me to do, it was only 2 weeks later that I met my best friend, Summer Otwell, who is like a sister to me. An answered prayer. And not too long after that, my two other best friends, Olivia Telano and Lydia Dozier, stepped into my life. It was during that time I learned the beauty of Godly friendships. The ones that are rooted far deeper than the surface. Here’s some scripture to sum up what I’ve found this kind of friendship to be:
“If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:10)
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:12-13)
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:12-14)
When we get our relationship right with the Lord, then we can experience our relationships here on Earth the way Jesus intended them to be. True friends tell you who you are instead of who you’re not. But at the same time, they’re not afraid to hold you accountable to be the person they know God created you to be. They’ll laugh with you on your good days and love you on your worst. They’re compassionate and forgiving. And they don’t let you forget what God says is true about you. Friends like these are hard to find and irreplaceable once you do. If you’re in the process of searching for Godly friendships, my advice to you is to be the friend you want to have and ask God to send them your way. Then be obedient to follow wherever He leads in your life.
Finally, when God gives you those people, don’t let them go. And thank Him for them every day. You are so loved and God has not forgotten about you, friend. I’ll bet He’s preparing those friendships for you even in this moment!
Elizabeth is a writer for Team LO and is crazy about Jesus! She attends Louisiana Tech University and in her free time she loves spending time with friends, drinking coffee, and leading worship at her church in West Monroe, Louisiana.
Follow Elizabeth on Instagram @elizabethamercer