If you don’t consider yourself a “runner”, have you ever tried it? Have you ever laced up your tennis shoes, thrown on a hat and taken off down the street for a jog? You probably figured out real quick that it’s not as easy as it looks, especially when you’re alone.
After just a few minutes the body starts to warm up, the calves start to stiffen, the shins start to burn and the lungs just can’t keep up! That’s when you slow back to a walk and start asking yourself “what on earth was I thinking?!”
On the flip side of that, have you ever gone out as a new runner and taken a friend or two with you? You meet up at the local track, do some stretches in the parking lot, and start with smiles and a warm up walk. After a few minutes of that, you’re ready to jog. You can hear your friends breathing just as loud ( YES Jesus!) as you and you identify with their struggle. You may be ready to slow down but there’s just something about running with friends that helps keep you going further. By the end of your time together, you’re high-fiving and proud of your accomplishment, even if it takes a few minutes to catch your breath.
There’s something about doing it together that makes it a little easier.
When I am walking through something hard, my closest friends are a source of encouragement. They send me texts with just a few words to push me forward and keep a smile on my face. They let me know when they’ve prayed for me and they make sure I’m not isolating myself and I try to do the same for them.
The flip side is we have fun together! Human contact is priceless. We solve a lot of problems when we go antiquing or grab a meal together. We go back home to our families feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever comes next.
Friendship. Camaraderie. Belonging. People who “get you”.
This is a gift that is meant for you. A rich, fluid gift that God uses at times to take care of our needs, to bring us joy and to encourage and lift us up.
God’s word says this…
” And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds”
We were created for relationship. That whole “hands and feet of Jesus” thing, this is your playground for it.
Jesus himself did life with friends. He had 12 who walked with him throughout his ministry. He held 3 of those closer than the rest. He had one betray him in the end.
Can you relate?
A large circle, a smaller circle within those and one who loses their way.
I relate. Jesus gets this, He’s been there and I can talk to him about all of it.
I have been reminded this season just how unpredictable our lives can be. That they can be cut short in an instant. These relationships, this is where the good stuff is. This is where our souls can find satisfaction and the thirst we have for deep conversation and authenticity can be quenched.
Can I encourage you to step out? To send that text or speak to that mom in the carpool line? Even if with fear and trembling. We need each other. We were built to need each other. But, sometimes, you and I have to take the first step in starting a new friendship.
“By yourself you’re unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round-up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.”
Ecclesiastes 4:12 (The Message)
The enemy would have you isolate yourself. He’ll use your weaknesses and try to convince you that you should keep your distance. The enemy will also keep you too busy with good things to make the time to spend with others. He has a big bag of tricks and he’s not afraid to use them.
A friendship that reflects Biblical principles is a dangerous thing in the eyes of your enemy. You may think that he could care less…that’s another lie.
Be on guard. You may have to fight to keep some people in your life and they may fight for you to be in theirs if you’re putting up walls.
If I could sit down with you over a coffee and implore you to make the effort to engage and seek out these relationships, I would have my purse in hand already.
Put friendship on your priority list. Ask the Lord to send those that you need and to push away the ones that are meant for someone else.
You need this.
They need you.
We are better together.