[Listen to advice]
I woke up melancholy, troubled by a corroding friendship. Since my friend, Robert, passed away, I’ve had occasions where I miss him dearly. Robert would have known what to say.
Thankfully, I know exactly what he’d say; he gave me these words years ago. He’d say, You have to stop letting people drive you crazy. He was right, but I’m stubborn. Why does it take someone being absent from your life to really listen to them?
I’m Not A Tug Boat
Allowing people to drive me crazy has more to do with my mindset than how anyone reacts to what I share. (Luke 6:28-29 )
Scripture tells us to correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction, but it’s God who does the work in all of us. (2 Timothy 4:2 , Phillipians 2:13 ) I’m just a vessel who needs as much careful instruction (2 Corinthians 4:7-9) The Holy Spirit makes those miracles happen in our hearts. (2 Corinthians 4:4-13 )
Nevertheless, sometimes friendship encounters a Tidal Wave because the momentum changes: one person strives to progress forward as the other person starts to run aground.
So what do you do when the momentum changes? We’re told to love one another, and bear the infirmities of the weak, but I was running out of steam.
Robert was right about something else. He said, people need to know when they need to help themselves. That’s where the power of prayer comes in. We occasionally have to pray for ourselves, though it is better to pray for others.
I agreed with him, but I never put this into practice. Instead I believed that my friends would crumble if they didn’t have my love and support. (Or maybe that should be my mothering…ugh…) This put way too much pressure on me. Who they really need is Jesus. I can speak the truth with love, and pray for them, however, they also need to pray for themselves.
Admittedly, (unfortunately) I haven’t always spoken with love. I’ve become frustrated and impatient. With this particular friendship it went both ways. We forgave each other, too, but things continued to corrode.
Fear and Confusion
When Robert originally asked me why I let people drive me crazy, I told him it was because I care. I said that I don’t give up on people easily. Little did I know that I have a problem leaving things in God’s hands.
Hence, I woke up agonizing over what to do about this friendship, and the devil was creating a lot of confusion as I meditated on Scripture. I was so discouraged and afraid that I’d make the wrong choice. Praying for God’s help–that is, deciding not to lean on my own understanding, provided the answers that finally calmed this troubled sea. I’m thankful for the Holy Spirit. God is faithful, we just have to choose to follow Him.
When I was growing up, I went over to my best friend’s house nearly everyday. (Or vice versa.) My parents would tell us that if we spent too much time together we’d get sick of one another. Neither of us believed this could ever happen, so we didn’t listen. Though it took 5 years before the momentum in our friendship changed, we did drift apart.
“Don’t go to your neighbor’s house too often; too much of you will make him hate you.” –Proverbs 25:17
Unfortunately, when iron is no longer sharpening iron, spending too much time together will lead to a corrosive situation. Sadly, I could see no way to repair it, so we peacefully agreed to part ways. All we can do is learn from our mistakes and make adjustments to our own sails. We can’t adjust anyone elses sails. That’s up to them. So the peace that we once shared was dividing us rather than keeping us together.
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” –Romans 12:18(NIV)
“You are joined together with peace through the Spirit. Do all you can to continue together in this way. Let peace hold you together.” –Ephesians 4:3
I never realized this until I came across the verse about peace in Ephesians, but when it comes to my marriage, above all else, peace in our home has been the most important thing to me. Little did I know, that this truly is the most important goal. Peace is the nail that hold us together. We have this peace through the Holy Spirit .
“Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.” –Proverbs 19:20
P.S. When I parted company with this friend, I was at witts end, so I was convinced that this “ship” was totally wrecked. However, our God does bring things back to life again, so those Peace Talks have started up again. Praise God for His amazing grace. ☺