By way of offering more clarity to Thursdays post, I’d like to write a followup.
I wrote that post Thursday when instead I should have simply taken a nap. I was extremely tired & lack of sleep was finally catching. I kept thinking that I should just put the computer down. Sleep on the topic a little and then come back to it. But my brain didn’t want to co-operate mixed with the pressure to post before the toddler woke up from his nap created a post that came out terribly unclear and not very understandable. To which it left me wondering why I even tried to hurriedly go there.
Anyway, I’ve thought more about what ‘earning the right to speak‘ means.
Speaking the hard things to a friend is like confrontation. (I believe confrontation is the word I was missing on Thursday.) Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were being confronted? Does the term ‘being called out‘ sound familiar? That’s what I’m taking about. Have you ever approached a friend about something? Called them out?
Stay with me here.
Let me create an example:
You have a friend who is a great friend but your a little worried about her decision to host an exchange student beings that her marriage is on the rocks. From your point of view it seems like she is doing it because A) she’s outgoing, B) loves meeting new people and C) (why you’re worried) because maybe it’s a way to stay busy to escape the struggling marriage.
Point C is the reason you feel you should talk to her.
Isn’t it because we love and care deeply about our friends that it’s important to talk to them? I’m not saying that every time it’s us that needs to talk to them or that they even need talking to. But if it’s our friend we love dearly we care about what they do and decisions they make.
That is why it’s so important to listen to the Holy Spirit direct you in conversations with them. Wait for an opportune moment to open up – don’t force it. Trust God to use you if He must. Trust that God is working in their lives beyond what we can see. Trust God that he’s got your friend in the palm of His hand. God sees them and cares for them more than you do.
Yes, more than you do.
So, have you earned the right to speak to her? If you sit down with her and offer your concerns would she listen? Would she laugh it off? Would she get defensive and explain everything away that you bring up for her to consider? We can’t control their response any more than we can make decisions for them. All we can control or be responsible for is ourselves.
So thinking about your relationships, what kind of friend are you?
- Are you the type that derails any type controversy or criticism in your relationships?
- Do you frequently include your opinions?
- Do you protectively avoid any confrontation for the sake of peace?
- Are you a safe person that your friends trust their secrets with?
It’s so much easier to be the easy going type and just let whatever happens, happen. Avoiding any huge bumps and dwelling safely in the pleasantries, we stay. Isn’t it caring to not get in somebodies face about something they might not agree with? A part of me longs to slip over issues and let peace and smiles reign. Doesn’t the Bible talk about blessed are the peace makers?….
But, think about what could come out of confronting and talking over an issue with a friend? Stop thinking of the fear and rejection and imagine for a minute of what good could come out of it. A deeper friendship? A firmer trust? (Again, I”m not saying that you have to become this outspoken confrontational person that everyone wants to run and hide from from now on. If God prompts you or you sense the Holy Spirit stirring within, prayerfully consider it through time. Maybe talk with your spouse or another friend?)
I get that confrontation is NEVER easy! And, it’s NEVER fun. Ever. The only time I invite being confronted is when I’m open and ready for the criticism. Which is not every day. Maybe once and if I’m feeling it, twice a year. Ha ha! We don’t like to hear hard things. Especially when we can take care of our own lives, thank you very much. I don’t need your advise.
The type of criticism that I take the bast is from a safe and trusted friend. Because I know they love and care deeply for me. I know they are looking out for my best interest. I know they want to see me succeed in life. I know they desire for me to become more Christ like each day. Those are the friends I listen to. They earned the right to speak to me. I hear them.
I want to be that kind of friend. I want to genuinely love and care for my friends. I want them to hold value to my voice; to know that any confrontation or concern is coming from a heart that loves and dreams big for them. I want to have an aroma of hospitality and security that invites my best of friends near. I want friendships that speak to each other with love, realness and builds vision for each other. Because after all, we’ve earned.
And, that dear readers, takes lots of intention.
To catch up reading in the 31 Days of Intentional Friendships click HERE.