-I rarely remember birthdays.
-I never call to chat.
-I forget to ask about the thing you asked me to pray about last week.
-I take the last piece of bread.
To make matters worse, I am an introvert. I play an extrovert on t.v. and in life, but I love, need, c.r.a.v.e. mental white space. In have a few really, really close friends. And they laugh every time I tell people I'm not a good friend. They testify (to my embarrassment) that I am a really good friend. Here are a few of the examples they use:
-I have a knack for making other people feel comfortable.
-I ask good questions to get people talking.
-I am so comfortable with new people.
So I started wondering. Where is the discrepancy? I am not a good friend. I have this on good authority from a Highly reputable source. God has convicted me about my lack of commitment to real biblical friendship. He is working on me, and I am working on it. So why do my friends think I'm a good friend?
I think it's because I'm a good acquaintance. I do acquaintance-ship well. I know how to get to know you only so far. I rarely make the leap from social to spiritual. I don't make the sacrifice to invest in women. Don't get me wrong I have friendships-deeply intimate, spiritually nourishing friendships. I could. not do life without these gals. But here's the rub. There are countless women in my circle of relationship and even influence who desperately need, yet lack those same kinds of friendships.
Here's what the Spirit said to me about those gals even as He brought their faces to my mind:
"Whitney, you are waiting for someone else to do the hard, dirty work of friendship. You keep hoping they will connect with anybody but you. You've learned to be polite yet evasive. You have brushed them off as needy and "unique." You've pleaded your inadequacy as a friend as excuse not to engage. Daughter, invest. Connect. Sacrifice. Give."
Oh, friends. I did not want to hear that. And maybe more particularly I did not want to do it. But I will. I am. Friendship ISN'T always mutually beneficial, sometimes is sacrificial. It isn't always a give and take, sometimes it's just give. It isn't always easy. Often it is really, really hard.
Here's what I've learned so far. I have relationships where I experience friendship.I get the "take" as I give. But there are relationships where I demonstrate friendship. I demonstrate it in hopes that this new friend will experience the joy of biblical friendship. I won't do it perfectly, but that's not really an excuse.
I'm doing it. You?
P.S. Please join the Friendship Project fan page on Facebook. I'll be posting more details about the project there (and here.)