I often think that I have understood sooooo much about friendship. Why is that? I’ve made friends since I was in elementary school. This friendship was not a fake one. At least for me, I’ve never made friends for self-gain. I’ve never been friends for the sake of some sort of popularity–it’s different if that friendship culminates in popularity, tho. Never did I think manipulative to any friendship I was in. Even though I was very young to understand the true meaning of friendship, the innocence instinct was deep in my soul.
I create best-friendships. I have best friends in elementary school, junior high school, high school, and even when I was in college. I’m not a typical person who is superbly private that I do not need a friend. In fact, I love to be in a friendship, the true one. I am also not a typical person who tries to be everyone’s best friend that I can not get the true meaning of best-friendship.
Sorry, you will read more of the word “I” in this post, because this is the story of me; my personal experience, my reflective material, and something that has caused me a headache. Yes, the friendship and all the phenomenons have caused me a lot of headaches.
Disclaimer: this post is not meant to offend one or two persons, or even anyone. This post is purely my way out of the headache I’ve suffered. And… please, wouldn’t you let me be healed?
Let me tell you something. I have already known myself as the one who quite understands about friendship. Obviously, on that basis, I must have felt that I was (or at least fighting) being a friend. I recall some examples I made as a proof of my statement and I came to a point: I’ve done so much, I’ve done my best. So, what’s the problem? Should not I be alright? Then what’s the point of me understanding things about friendship? Isn’t it to be able to apply them well in this life? Why now am I having headache?
Disclaimer again: this is not the first time I feel like this and obviously, I thought I’d found some reasons.
Before writing on this page, I spent a few minutes reading foreign psychologist’s articles about friendship. In addition, I also read the writings of some people who base their arguments on biblical principles and values. In my opinion, both are much different. In fact, I think this version of psychologist is too ordinary and does not touch the gray area of issues that often occur in friendship. Sorry to conclude that too fast, but at least that’s what I think after comparing the two of it.
BUT anyway, one of the heart-stopping writings is here. The author is Kelly Needham (gosh, me too, need ham, sorry, jk). True friends are hard to find, as she gives a title. I suggest you to read this article for a moment, of course after finishing mine. #yha #biar #fokus #aja
I cried as I read the article while imagining some of the friendships I’m in. Why? Because I only find a handful of people whom I think have applied the principles in that article to me, or vice versa. Much less than how many people I consider friends. Much less than I thought. The testing-year I use is 2017. There are some events that surprisingly made me really sad. I admit I am a crybaby, but I know why.
After so long not experiencing it, I finally (?) heard someone talked about me behind my back, I was being underestimated, being considered inappropriate to get something, considered sok suci, being marginalized from one particular topic of conversation. I also experienced when I was accused about something, in front of many people, no one (even the ones I call best friends) expressed their opinion about me although they know I didn’t do as what I’d been accused. I also experienced bad communication in friendships, the efforts I did seemed meaningless, I was being misunderstood, and last but not least (lol), having people came to me only when they need something (it often happens, anyway).
Truly I say, I knew it all but often keep them to myself because I want to love them and forgive what I considered mistakes. I don’t want to record all those wrongs in my heart. I also keep it to bring it to God, asking Him to search me, look at my heart, try me, if I’ve been overly sensitive & have sinned with my negative thoughts and feelings. I did a lot of ways for self-introspection before it leads me to these conclusions.
I bow and confess those sins to God, still, I am also aware, the facts that have happened can’t be changed, and that’s what makes me more sad. Those things I clearly experienced already put gray color in my 2017. But yeah, that should make me grow.
I think it’s just about it, full stop, about me who feels sad because friends ain’t like friends, but no. I was rebuked by some of God’s words in this article. This article generally talks about whether existing friendships have become idols that replace God’s place in our hearts. There are some good testers to ask ourselves about whether we have created a god that looks beautiful and fine, but definitely destroys us inside, destroys our identity. Some people have a tendency to idolize other good things such as academic intelligence, social activism, economic maturity, professional status/service/ministry, but I may have a tendency to idolize relationships. Uniquely, it’s a friendship-kinda relationship. Rarely do I find any posts/seminars/books on this particular subject. Most relationships that are often used as an idol is a man-woman relationship. You know what I mean right.
The questions in the article are mostly I answered “no”–it means I try not to replace God with my friendship, thank God. But, obviously, God’s words there remind me not to fall into that sin (because it seems like a typical person like me has a tendency towards it). To be honest, I’m happy to befriend anyone, I once even realized that I’d rather help my friend than help myself. Because helping them is helping me. I do not know what it is, I do not understand why. But if we are not careful and sensitive to such good things and harmless like this, we may arrive at the point of being drained and tired. Because that’s what I’m going through. We can not find a logical and powerful reason why we are friends and how we should be friends. Oh yes, being friendly does not mean being naive.
I mean, this article brings me to another contemplation of the friendship that causes me headache: do I exaggerate friendships (because of the tendency to idolize it) so I do not get real joy when I go through it? Why headache, right? Or if we go back to the first article from Needham, maybe I have so-called best friends, but not the real ones.
Do not be afraid to end the friendships which of course we must have been thinking and praying before God. True friendship, Christian friendship, brings us deeper to feel the true joy that is only in God. Those who truly love you will share what makes them rejoice–that is God. Not only that, true friendship will expose our sins, before us, and dare to rebuke us and counsel us in love. To rebuke us is indeed a good thing, but it is also important to be friends with those who continue to encourage us in honoring and obeying God. A true friend understands where he should take us when we are in weakness, it’s to God. True friends pray for you. Take some time to remember, who did you ever pray for? Ask your best friend, has he/she prayed for you? Really pray for you? True friends also know why they love us: for the glory of God. “Like everything else, the end goal of our friendships should be God and his glory.” Needham said, and I agree.
Once again, God proves that Elisabeth is indeed broken and know nothing. God proves that Elisabeth is the first to examine herself before confusing things outside of her. So that introspection will lead to a clearer vision of what is really going on out there, leading to a genuine motivation in testing friendship for the sake of a true friendship.
Be wise in everything, including in such thing as normal, as fine, as friendship.