Monday, January 24, 2011

The Importance of Friendship

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 NIV

When I said my vows to my husband, I vowed from that day forward to put him as the priority in my life, above everyone else (besides my relationship with the Lord).

As a newly married woman I have definitely struggled with the concept of maintaining and balancing friendships while cultivating my relationship with my husband and building our life together.

I am so blessed to have had the same best friend for 20 years. Since 2nd grade, Jessica and I have been inseparable. We were together every weekend in Jr. High, went to camps together, church together, went on vacations with each others families, double-dated to prom together, and when we were old enough to move out, we lived together. In fact we lived together up until I moved out to marry my husband. Yes, we have been through just about everything together.

Jessica and I

I'm sure that I am not the only one with a best friend who has been there through it all. In fact, I pray that all of you have someone who is there for you through thick and thin, unwavering.

The challenge in my heart lately has been maintaining close friendships while balancing my time with my husband and my family.

I have definitely been struggling to find a good balance between time at home and time in fellowship with friends. I know that one of the things the Lord laid on my heart was to be a better hostess (you can see my goals lists here) and I know I have been slacking on inviting friends and family into my home.

The purpose of this post, more than to just vent what's going on in my heart, is to encourage you all to make sure you keep your friends as a high priority in your life and to offer some simple ways to connect with them. 

It is so easy to get caught up in home/work life, especially if you have children. Its easy to think that you are too busy to cultivate relationships, and that they can be pushed to the side. While I do believe that God’s plan for our lives is to put our marriages/families before all other human relationships, I also strongly believe that Christian fellowship is vitally important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, a strong relationship with Jesus and to your overall happiness.

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22 NIV

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV

A bunch of my girlfriends at an engagement party

Simple ways to keep in touch with friends:

  • Plan lunch dates.
Most of us have an hour lunch break, or are at home during the day with our little ones. If you have friends who work close by, schedule a lunch date with them

  • Email back and forth throughout the day
If you are in the corporate world, you probably spend most of your day in front of a computer, utilize that to your benefit: shoot your friend(s) a quick email, ask them about their day, ect.

  •     Plan ahead
It may be that some of you are genuinely packed to the brim on your schedule and don’t have time for impromptu “girls nights”. Set a date, even if it is a month out, and put it on the calendar. Don’t schedule anything else at that time. Make it a priority to keep that date.

  •     Start a monthly/weekly “activity” night
A great way to keep in touch with a group of friends is to schedule a game night, such a Bunco, or a cooking night, a scrapbooking night, knitting, a weekly bible study. You know what best speaks to the ladies in your life, this is a great way to grow in a skill as well in fellowship with your friends.

  •     Keep in touch via text messaging, Facebook, instant messaging social media
With all the instant ways to keep in touch with friends, consider sending regular Facebook notes, text messages, get on a instant messaging site. This is a great way to stay involved in each other’s lives.

  •     Make a larger dinner and invite a friend over to share dinner with your family
I find evenings hardest to get together with friends, as I know I need to feed my family and that I probably have laundry to do, dishes to put away, chores to be done, ect. Try inviting a friend over to just spend the evening with you and your family. Make a larger portion of dinner and plan to incorporate a friend in your home life.

  •     Exercise together
Join a gym together and take a aerobic class together, join a dance class, jog together, ride bikes or hike together.

  •     Pray together and for each other
Nothing strengthens a friendship like prayer. “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:20. I encourage you to reach out to your friends and ask how you can pray for them. And then follow up on the request. Ask them how things are going and adjust your prayers as God begins to work in their situation.

There are so many ways to keep your friends involved in your life, and stay involved with theirs. I pray that you find some encouragement in the list above and that you and I both begin to cherish our friendships as the precious gifts that they are!

My other best friends, Natalie and Brandi

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