I met with three new friends for coffee recently. During our time together, one was talking and spilled coffee on the table and on her friend’s phone. With the spilling of coffee came the spilling of tears. But her tears weren’t just about a potentially ruined (extremely expensive) phone. They’re best friends, and little did I know, one is moving from North Carolina to Texas in a few weeks.
WHEN FRIENDS LEAVE... TEARS MAKE THEIR WAY
I watched, listened and attempted to comfort my new friend with words, but as she sobbed I couldn’t help but think back to my college days.
We were inseparable after meeting that day in music theory. So much in common, we went at the world united. We sang together. We studied together. We prayed together. This was a spiritually growing time for both of us. She knew all my secrets, and I knew all her struggles.
When I changed my major to nursing, I also changed schools. But we made it. Our hearts stayed connected. At my wedding she was maid of honor and sang the song she had written called Love Never Fails.
This time the miles between us were longer. California was where my husband was from, so I went.
At first days would pass, then weeks, then months between times that we would talk. I always thought there was just an understanding between us. We each had busy lives, but our love for each other would never change.
EMOTIONALLY LEAVING CUTS DEEP
And she did! My world came crashing down the day she called to tell me she had been engaged for a couple of months. I thought it was odd that she didn’t call me right away. An engagement was too exciting to keep from one of your dearest friends. (My thoughts anyway.) She went on to tell me her plans for the wedding but that she wasn’t planning to invite me. She didn’t “want me to have to spend the money.” Not only was I not asked to be in her wedding, I wasn’t even welcome to be there. What?
I asked for explanations. Had I done or said something? What in the world?? No real reasons were given. She was done. She was moving forward in her life and didn’t want me to be part of it. End of story.
My so-called “best” friend decided to leave. She checked out of our friendship completely. I was left to wonder why. We didn’t talk again after that.
When friends leave tears make their way. And for months, even years, I cried every time I thought of it. It was a desperately painful loss. I grieved as if someone had died. Our friendship had for sure!
SATAN IS THE FATHER OF LIES
From then on Insecurity whispered lies, “It was all your fault. If you hadn’t been so outspoken. See, you should never have been so transparent. You shouldn’t share your heart. You shouldn’t love so deeply, it only leads to hurt. You are incapable of having close friends.”
Insecurity’s friend Rejection said, “No one’s ever going to love you again. Your friends are just going to get close, drain you, and leave. You can’t trust people, especially women. If you don’t let anyone get close, then it won’t hurt when they decide to leave.”
I fell for the lies. Some people choose to put up walls to protect themselves. For me, the insecurity and fear of rejection caused me to try to control those closest, while keeping others at a safe distance. I wanted my new closest friend all to myself. For fear of loss and abandonment, I held on tight. So tight it was toxic, but I was oblivious. She became as dependent on me, if not more, than I was of the relationship. The friendship couldn’t survive the unhealthy codependency. After all, it was worship of someone other than God, idolatry of sorts. It began falling apart.
FRIENDSHIP-LOVE IS A CHOICE
What Satan meant for harm, God used for good. He has more than restored what the locusts had devoured in my life.
When we moved back to NC a few years ago, I began to pray for a healthy friend relationship. God gave me a friend who helped me see the lies versus truth. He used her to love me through the hurt and healing. Any time Insecurity would raise its ugly head, she would gently speak truth over the situation. I prayed specifically, and today I’m blessed with an abundance of healthy, Spirit-filled, God-ordained friendships (even ones I never see face to face). My heart overflows with thankfulness.
FORGIVENESS IS A MUST
As for my college friend, after 13 years had passed, we stood face to face. Our daughters were at the same dance competition. Years ago, I forgave her. Forgiveness didn’t change the fact that I had been hurt. I took responsibility for whatever my role may have been in our separation. We don’t stay in touch, but I know I’ve done all I can do to make it right. I genuinely love her and pray blessings over her life.
As for the longtime California friendship, we had grown apart for some time but had tried to keep the relationship intact. We never could reach a completely healthy place. We recently agreed to go our separate ways. God protected my heart. It hurt, of course. The feeling of loss always does. Because God knew I genuinely loved her, He gave me a dream with her in it, the same night we went our separate ways. In the dream He showed me clearly that she would be okay. I had peace after that. I knew she was in the best hands possible… His! A few weeks later I had another dream, He revealed that breaking ties was healthy in this situation. Because I trust Him, I severed all ties. I pray God’s blessing and protection over her often. I want nothing but the best for her and her family.
KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL FRIENDSHIP
1) No matter what’s happened in your past relationships, remember your security doesn’t depend on any earthly relationship. It can only be found with Jesus.
2) Don’t choose your own friends. Pray and let God choose them for you.
3) Choose to love deeply!
4) Pray together. Always remember to place God at the center. Cultivate an atmosphere of spiritual growth.
5) Forgive one another.
6) Don’t set your friends up as idols.
Have you ever had a friend leave? Was it a physical leaving, or emotional? Did you fall for any lies? What was the result?