By Janet Mylin
I guess I’m not quite “old” yet but I am going grey and I’m almost 50 so maybe I’m old-ish. Regardless of my age label, I’ve learned a few things about friendship in my half century of life that I’d love to share with you, if you’re into it.
1.) Friendship can be an idol.
Honestly, I hadn’t really put this label on it until I read Kelly Needham’s book Friendish: Reclaiming Real Friendship in a Culture of Confusion. I would have also called it “obsession” or, more clinically, “co-dependency.” But as followers of Christ, well, obsession and co-dependency are synonymous with idolatry.
Romans 1:25 talks about the danger of worshiping and serving the creature rather than the Creator. When I find myself unwilling to share a friend with someone else OR thinking I’m the only one who can be what someone else needs, those are my red flags that I’m worshiping and serving people, instead of the One who made those people.
2) Friendships are often for a season.
I think we all begin to learn this after we’ve moved, graduated, or gone through big transitions. Over the years I’ve had friends move pretty far away from me and some remain close friends and some just don’t. Understanding this has helped me let go when I’ve needed to and not feel rejected when a friendship loses its significance over time. It’s also been very, very helpful in helping my kids navigate those friendship transitions.
On the other side of this, it’s good to ask the Lord if you let go of friendships a little too easily. Is the Lord telling you to have a little more “stick-to-it-ive-ness” when it comes to friendships?
3.) Friends in Christ are actually family.
Years ago I was with a group where we were assigned to memorize Romans chapter 8. Part of that chapter always hangs with me:
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
I have loved, loved, loved sharing this Truth with the body of Christ over the years. So many people come from really broken biological families and knowing that their friends who follow Christ are their eternal brothers and sisters can be transformative in healing their feelings of loneliness.
When we adopted our daughter Eve from China, she was 9. I said to her over and over, “We are your family and we’ve adopted you. But your family is much, much bigger than this because of the Church!” She still holds onto that and it helps her when “family” is a hard word.
You know, just like anything else, we need to evaluate if the things we do and say are things we’ve just learned from our environments or if they’re rooted in the Word of God. Today, if you have a minute or two, ask God to uproot anything you’re believing about friendships that isn’t honoring to Him or healthy for you. He is faithful and He’ll help you find beautiful, biblical relationships and then you can help your kids find the same.
Raise your hand if you've ever looked at your tween daughter like she has three heads because of how she handles relationships. ✋🏽
It happens. But have you ever watched some of her friendship interactions and thought, "Shoot. She definitely learned that from watching me?"
Besties, frenemies and foes (BFF's) are a real thing for girls AND their moms. Tween girls may not always look like it, but they are still copying their moms in many areas of life, including friendship. It's the old "apple doesn't fall far from the tree" saying.
That's why this workshop has a part for mom+daughter and a part that's just for mom. So you can find freedom and your daughter can follow in your footsteps. Featuring True Girl founder Dannah Gresh, lead teacher Janet Mylin, and author Kelly Needham, the BFF's Mom+Daughter Workshop has something for both of you! Get all the details at mytruegirl.com/bffworkshop/