I read C.S. Lewis’s “Four Loves” this summer and it really called me out on a few things – primarily my thoughts toward friendship in terms of fears, insecurities + our call to be vulnerable!
While there is biblical guidance & obvious answers to how to go about life , there are aspects that aren’t so clear cut & that can easily run confusion amuck in our lives if we don’t acknowledge the need for God to be involved & consulted regularly!
Life throws a number of different circumstances our way and as believers it glorifies God to have a “30,000 ft. view” – trusting that God is sovereign and that He will work for His glory & for our good – even when we can’t see the outcome. However, the reality is that we have to pray & fight through issues we face in life on the ground. While there is biblical guidance & obvious answers to how to go about life , there are aspects that aren’t so clear cut & that can easily run confusion amuck in our lives if we don’t acknowledge the need for God to be involved & consulted regularly!
I’ve been especially comforted by the fact that God has ushered in & appointed individuals for His purposes in my life through friendships. Some of those purposes have been to draw me closer to Himself and some of those purposes have evidently been to draw me out & get me to face fears that stand in the way of me walking in the Lords purpose for my life. I have had circumstances where I’ve had to speak up despite fears and vulnerability. However I call to mind the Lord’s love and care for me – all He’s done & is doing – and it compels me to love out of that ,not out of what I can gain from a friendship or safely out of fear of rejection + hurt. I want the hallmark of my friendships to be knowing + savoring Christ and enjoying Him in all we do ! Furthermore – getting to share this “same truth” that we see with the world !
“In friendship…we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting–any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends, “Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.” The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.”
-C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)
Because friendships are an instrument wielded by God – sometimes it’s tough (especially the vulnerability required at times). Quite honestly for much of my life – when life and relationships threatens my “safety,” I run. Sometimes that’s been warranted (e.g. someone with a major anger problem – I’m not going to listen if you’re cussing me out or yelling at me – I’m going to walk away or leave the room). However, the constant fear of being berated, picked apart, and rejected can also cause you to push away when healthy relationships get rocky or avoid them altogether. I have allowed the fear of rejection, on one too many occasions, to rule my life. This is not the end of the story though.
I have found recently that in light of God’s deep & steadfast love for me, I don’t need to live in fear of rejection! The more I dwell on this, and the more I seek out learning about who He is & who he has made me to be (what He has purposed me for), the more my soul is anchored in my hope in Him. My automatic solution tends to be to “get everything in order” & isolate myself when life and relationships throw challenges my way that are reminiscent of or exactly the same as a past situation in which I felt rejected and/or unkind words were spoken to me. I also don’t like my “normalcy” to be disturbed, and I don’t like being vulnerable beyond what I deem safe (quite often for selfish reasons of protecting myself from painful experiences). But the nature of life & relationships is that each is unpredictable & the more you rest in who God is, the more humans are given room to be just that – flawed, fragile, and broken. People make mistakes and life is riddled with suffering and pain. So to those old fears & past hurts- I am actively seeking to engage the lies you’ve laid with biblical truth- combatting wrong thought patterns & feelings with what God says. This isn’t a “one & done” thing – it’s a work in progress, but I know that the work He has begun, He will bring to completion!
So cheers to a life of pruning by the Divine vine !