Showing Love and Sacrifice in Friendship
God has definitely been working on my heart lately when it comes to friendships. For the longest time I thought that friendships were gifts from God…they just sort of happened. That kind of thinking has really led me to taking my friendships for granted. I thought that if they were given to me by God, then God would put everything in place. The key here is that they’re given to ME. Therefore it’s up to ME to make sure the friendships remain.
Our lives are incredibly fast paced. Because we’re constantly running from one place to the next, we tend to convince ourselves that we just don’t have time to write letters or make phone calls to those nearest and dearest to us. The truth is, though, the time IS there, we just need to make room for it. Let’s face it, our friends need to hear our voices and we need to hear theirs.
Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times.” So often I think of that verse in times of strife. I tell myself, “Even though things are difficult, I will still love her through this time.” What if I literally apply this verse to time, though? “A friend loves at ALL TIMES.” No matter how busy I think I am, I still need to show love. Why? Because love shown means much more than love felt. Whether it’s a quick email at 5AM as I’m starting my day, or a phone call while I’m cleaning, I must show love at all times in my day, even if I have to MAKE time for it.
What about social media? Doesn’t that make maintaining friendships so much easier? I used to think so. That was until I realized that text messages and Facebook posts became the only real contact I had with friends. Gone were the days of long phone calls, cards to celebrate holidays, and even emails. I miss real connection. I miss hearing my friends’ voices. I miss the interaction with their day to day lives. For me, social networking just isn’t enough, and after talking to a few friends about this, I’m betting that it’s not for most of us.
Friendships are not founded on text messages and Facebook posts. They are based on and cultivated through mutual time spent in the presence of each other. I fully realize that literally spending time in the presence of our friends may be difficult. We are busy, and I’m not discounting that. Heck, I could write for days on the ways I’ve banged up my own friendships due to my “busyness.” What I’d like for us to realize, though, is that friendships cannot possibly survive through the quick, fast-paced correspondence that our country seems to thrive on.
John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” I used to think of this only in the literal sense of making the ultimate sacrifice for my friends the way that Jesus did for me. Here God goes again, though, showing me that another application can be made. Laying down your life for another requires a sacrifice. Obviously in our chaotic world, making a phone call to a friend or sitting down to write an email may truly be a sacrifice. Real friendships are based on sacrifices. What are we willing to give up of our own to ensure a lasting relationship with our friends? The answer always ends the same…time. If we desire lasting, real, authentic friendships, we must be willing to “lay down our lives” in the sense of laying down our control of our time.
It takes work to maintain friendships. Real…time invested…work. It is definitely much easier to send a quick text or make a Facebook post to tell a friend that I’m thinking of her, but what is the payoff? Not much. What if I carved out some time to sit down and write a letter, or even call, or better yet, schedule some time together? If I hold the person close enough to me to call her a friend, I must be willing to show her that she is.
Don’t get me wrong, communicating through the latest and greatest technology isn’t all bad. It can be a great help when connecting with friends who are separated by distance. Sharing coffee over Skype or chatting on Facebook after the kids go to bed can be wonderful ways to maintain friendships. No matter where your friends are, though, never underestimate the power of a quick phone call, email, or invitation to grab lunch. Even though you may be incredibly busy, show your love for them by giving them the best sacrifice you can…time.
About the Author:
Emily Alley has been a Navy submarine spouse for nine years. She has a five-year-old son, Noah, who is her greatest joy, and she works full-time as a high school Language Arts teacher. Emily loves to share the amazing things God does with her co-workers and friends, writing it all out is her way of not forgetting!