Friendship: Who Do You Need? Who Needs You?

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Who Do You Need?

We don’t just need people; we need the right people. Sometimes finding the right people takes discipline and effort. And then when we find them, we have to fight for them. We have to prioritize time and issue grace over and over, because even the best human on this earth will disappoint us. And when that happens, you love and fight for that person even harder.

If any part of you listening to these words right now thinks to yourself, I don’t know if I have enough of the right people in my life, you probably don’t.

We all fell in love with shows like Friends because we deeply want to have “our people.” Close friends and mentors don’t fall in our laps. You search and invest, and then you allow them to be imperfect versions of what you were hoping for in your head. Most of us are waiting to be invited, waiting to be pursued, waiting for friends to come to us. But that’s not the way it happens. Instead, the Bible says:

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. – Colossians 3:12-15

Love is an active process, and we are fairly lazy. So initiate.

Then, when you come together, initiate depth. Great conversations come from great questions and honest answers. One of the ways I grow and experience God is over queso and salsa with kindred friends talking about deep things. It takes initiative to ask deeper questions and sheer bravery to give sincere answers. Pray and find ways to take your friendships to a deeper level.

Who Needs You?

Before any knowledge of her faulty heart, Julie trained and became a pediatric cardiology RN. Last week I walked into an enormous room as Julie shared about her heart and death and faith to a room full of men and women in the cardiology community. She has her close people to run beside her in this journey, but she also has her patients and the cardio community. They need to hear hope and believe that there is life after death and a God who has rescued them with the blood of his Son.

Dare you tell me that is all an accident? That she trained to take care of hearts while her own heart was failing and she didn’t even know? That she is placed at the bedsides of children who are dying of heart disease and she can tell them about heaven? Tell me it was random coincidence. God placed her in her spot. And Acts 17:27 says,

God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him.

He is after the people around you, and He pursues them through us.

I know your life may feel more random and disconnected than Julie’s seems, but you cannot hear her story and tell me God didn’t orchestrate the good and the bad to intersect. And you also can’t tell me he would plan the details of Julie’s and Joseph’s lives and ignore yours.

Next time you are in a public space, be awkward and look in people’s eyes. People – nearly every one of them – are hurting, even if they don’t say it. And we hold their cure. We get to give God away, and it is for our joy. I am never more content than when I am meeting needs.

Joseph looked at his brothers and said essentially, “What you meant as harm, God meant for the saving of many lives.” Even after all they did to him, he thought it was worth it for people.

At some point we have to decide whether or not it is worth it to spend our lives helping people be free from bondage, meeting their needs, cheering for them as they run, giving them God. And at some point, if I find myself being completely mocked and rejected and hurt, is it still worth it for me?

That is the question we all have to ask. Is it worth the saving of many lives to you?

So who needs God around you?

Pray.

Pursue them.

Ask them great questions.

Share your struggles and your God.

Dream of ways you can meet their needs.

Seek out relationships with people outside of your circles.

Some of my favorite moments in my life have happened as I have stepped out of my comfort zone. Like taking some women from a local halfway house out to bowl with some of my friends. I remember sitting in a bowling alley with a woman just out of prison who exuded more joy than I remember ever feeling in my life. She was about to see her kids, and it had been years. Her joy and perspective changed me – and I need to be changed. God’s economy makes beautiful exchanges: as we give, we grow.

Seek risks and uncomfortable things. You do not risk like a fool; you are wisely investing in the only two things that will not die: God and people’s souls. But if we keep piddling, we will miss it all.

Be Intentional

Five years before [my friend] Sarah Henry had her strokes, she sat on my bed and watched me pack for a trip. She was impatient that I was leaving. I was one of her only friends because she had recently moved to Austin. She wondered out loud if she would ever have friends like she had in college. I looked at her and said, “Quit waiting for people to pursue you. They won’t. Pursue them.”

Outside of the ICU while Sarah was facing death because of her strokes, waiting rooms could not contain us all. Somewhere in the midst of three kids and a busy, full life over those five years, she pursued. She asked great questions and risked vulnerable pieces of herself and spoke about her God to us. She loved well, and many, many people call Sarah friend.

Together, through our suffering and her loss, we are doing our best to give back what she has given us. As she heals, we pray. We pursue. We ask great questions she can’t answer with words just yet. We bare our souls while she listens with her whole body and all of her old Sarah personality, and then we give her back the God she gave us so well.

As the world has watched, we’ve all wondered… If it were us in that bed, have we loved deep enough to have friends like this?

Adapted from Restless by Jennie Allen, copyright Thomas Nelson.

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Your Turn

Have you recklessly loved people and been terribly hurt in the process? I sure have! But, as Jennie says, the enemy (Satan, not the person or people who hurt us) would love nothing more than to sideline us with hurt and isolation keeping us as incapacitated as possible from our purpose and calling — to love others for the sake of the Kingdom! Remember, if he or she has flesh and blood, they’re not the enemy. Who are you strategically and unconditionally loving and serving even though it may cost you? Come join the conversation on our blog! We would love to hear from you about who you need and who needs you! ~ Laurie McClure, FaithGateway Women

Jennie Allen

Jennie Allen is an award-winning and bestselling author of Anything and Restless, as well as the Bible studies Stuck, Chase, and Restless. The founder and visionary for the IF: Gathering, she is a passionate leader following God's call on her life to catalyze a generation of women to live what they believe. Jennie has a master's in biblical studies from Dallas Theological Seminary and lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, Zac. Together they have been blessed with four children, the youngest of whom was adopted from Rwanda. Follow her on the web at JennieAllen.com

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