Although women generally speak candidly about their trust issues due to their interactions with our beloved male species, all my heartache (okay, most) have come in form of women I once called friends. As time goes on I will fully divulge all the…interesting friendships I have had -the ones I broke and the ones that broke me. To be quite honest, I think I’m the problem. Once I have decided that you and I are on the same team and once the walls I built come tumbling down, I am prone to riding for you, kicking down trees
and people for you, praying for you, calling you (everyone that read the call anxiety post knows that this is a big deal) and ultimately trying to make sure that you are living the best life possible.
I am intense (can you tell?) which means until I (recently) learnt how to control the intensity of my friendships a lot of them weren’t very healthy. Over time, I had to learn that if a friendship wasn’t healthy it was okay to walk away; I had to stop giving myself to people who would never truly appreciate what I was giving them. Walking away doesn’t mean that there has to be an intense burning of the bridge we once walked together, and it doesn’t mean that we don’t love each other anymore, it just means that the nature of the relationship adjusts in accordance with the new expectations both parties have.
So what does Drake have to do with all this?
In 2011 Drake taught me that because of the sheer fact that I would only ever live once, I should do whatever I pleased (I think YOLO is the ghetto version of carpe diem). Since then I have listened avidly to all new Drake songs hoping for a new life lesson.
I was in my room on January 1st 2014, spring-cleaning and suddenly Drake’s ‘No New Friends’ came on. It dawned on me how profound the statement was; Drake had done it again, he had managed to encapsulate a phenomenon in a catchy and sexy way, which would once again tell the masses how to think, how to feel and how to treat people.
….Okay, let me be honest…
I didn’t clean my room on January 1st and I think I only heard this Drake song in passing
coz my sisters are way cooler than me and keep me in the loop.
Although Drake’s involvement in my decision-making wasn’t as high as the title suggests, this year I did decide that it was time to pick a team carefully which would involve NO new additions. I looked across all my social ties and picked a few people who had shown themselves to be supportive and reliable for a substantial amount of time, and were therefore less likely to let me down. For these chosen ones, I would give my time, my resources and my heart. Everyone else? Well, if we crossed paths, we could cook it up and chill, but really, it wasn’t going to go any deeper than that anymore.
I was done, bruised in many ways and screaming NO NEW FRIENDS, NO NEW FRIENDS, NO NEW FRIENDS NO, NO, NO.
It went well at first. I was supported, loved, no longer giving myself to people who could potentially hurt me and I had successfully decreased the probability of being wounded. To be quite honest, I was loving life.
(I’m not sure if I was actually. Let’s just say I was.) Due to the horrifically beautiful 2013, I was prepared for 2014’s first major hurdle. What I wasn’t prepared for was the team I had so carefully chosen at the start of the year having their own life hurdles to contend with while I was struggling to jump over mine. Where there were once uplifting conversations and text messages telling me that everything was going to be okay, there was only silence. In the silence, I found myself trying to find the balance between understanding the hurdles they were facing and feeling indignant that no one was around to help me get over mine.
SO in this season of self-absorption, anger, hurt and fear I learnt a couple of lessons which I’ll share now, and a few more I’ll share after the smoke clears and I’m running the home stretch.
1) Choose your number One
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
Could you do something for me?
Exchange the words ‘chariots’ and ‘horses’ with the names of your two closest friends.
Now read the Psalm again.
Yes, to some degree you can trust in these people to pull you through your storms but at the end of the day, the only friend who will die for you is Jesus. It is that real. We can’t place mere mortals on pedestals and expect them to be there all the time – it is not their job to tend to our needs and ultimately, humans are concerned primarily with their own self-preservation. We are all battling our demons and it is unfair for us to have irrational expectations of those who love us the most and expect them to drop their own issues and come running just because we’ve slightly bruised our knees.
Thankfully, God can handle the weight of our expectations and will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6)
Who do regard as your team? It’s okay to have a team, just as long as God is the most important person on it – everyone else will eventually let you down.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
2) God will bring new friends – whether you like it or not
You can scream ‘no new friends’ as much as you like, God is going to bring new people into your life that you are required to change through your perspectives and your love. I know you have trust issues, I know people have hurt you in the past – they’ve hurt me too – but in hiding from new people, we do ourselves a disservice.
Look at all the beautiful friends you have –they were once ‘new friends’. We are changed most by people, the experiences we share with them and the worlds they birth within us, to shield ourselves from these new friendships is to live a life that is lesser than the one God intended for us to live.
3) What about your old(er) friends?
I sat with a friend this week. Although time and distance had passed between us, I thought everything was fine. They weren’t. Her words broke my heart and I sat in the middle of the shopping centre with tears streaming down my face as she revealed to me the depths of her current situation. In that moment, I realised that I had missed the point (once again). You may not need any more new friends but there are people out there that still need you. Your job is to give yourself to old and new friends believing that God is able to fill you up again if you are left empty and heal the parts of you that may be broken during the giving process.
I could have written this post about how sad I was that my team had let me down but I think we need to shift our focus from viewing people as sources to viewing ourselves as resources that can be drawn from in times of need. We should seek to lay the trust issues we have accumulated over time aside if we want to become the light that shines for those in the darkness.
Lots of light on this dreary day,
(Can we all take a moment today to pray that it will stop raining? Many thanks.)