Monday

Friendship Project Update #3

Greetings friends. Hey! It's 2010!! Ain't that a kick in the head? If you've hopped here from the Encouragement for Today devotions by Proverbs 31, thanks and welcome. I hope you enjoyed today's devotion. Friendship is a topic I'd really rather not talk about. Why? Because I am a TERRIBLE friend; I mean really, really bad. Here are a few examples.

-I rarely remember birthdays.
-I never call to chat.
-I forget to ask about the thing you asked me to pray about last week.
-I take the last piece of bread.

To make matters worse, I am an introvert. I play an extrovert on t.v. and in life, but I love, need, c.r.a.v.e. mental white space. In have a few really, really close friends. And they laugh every time I tell people I'm not a good friend. They testify (to my embarrassment) that I am a really good friend. Here are a few of the examples they use:

-I have a knack for making other people feel comfortable.
-I ask good questions to get people talking.
-I am so comfortable with new people.

So I started wondering. Where is the discrepancy? I am not a good friend. I have this on good authority from a Highly reputable source. God has convicted me about my lack of commitment to real biblical friendship. He is working on me, and I am working on it. So why do my friends think I'm a good friend?

I think it's because I'm a good acquaintance. I do acquaintance-ship well. I know how to get to know you only so far. I rarely make the leap from social to spiritual. I don't make the sacrifice to invest in women. Don't get me wrong I have friendships-deeply intimate, spiritually nourishing friendships. I could. not do life without these gals. But here's the rub. There are countless women in my circle of relationship and even influence who desperately need, yet lack those same kinds of friendships.

Here's what the Spirit said to me about those gals even as He brought their faces to my mind:

"Whitney, you are waiting for someone else to do the hard, dirty work of friendship. You keep hoping they will connect with anybody but you. You've learned to be polite yet evasive. You have brushed them off as needy and "unique." You've pleaded your inadequacy as a friend as excuse not to engage. Daughter, invest. Connect. Sacrifice. Give."

Oh, friends. I did not want to hear that. And maybe more particularly I did not want to do it. But I will. I am. Friendship ISN'T always mutually beneficial, sometimes is sacrificial. It isn't always a give and take, sometimes it's just give. It isn't always easy. Often it is really, really hard.

Here's what I've learned so far. I have relationships where I experience friendship.I get the "take" as I give. But there are relationships where I demonstrate friendship. I demonstrate it in hopes that this new friend will experience the joy of biblical friendship. I won't do it perfectly, but that's not really an excuse.

I'm doing it. You?

P.S. Please join the Friendship Project fan page on Facebook. I'll be posting more details about the project there (and here.)

post signature

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Whitney, love your devotions & blog. Wow...you just described ME. God has already convicted me to be friends with lonely difficult people and I am going to really try to go forward with this conviction and honor God with my time and efforts. I have touched on this before and I know not only will the "friend" be blessed, but I will know I am being obedient to God. Thanks so much for the video touching on the friendship of Mary & Elizabeth. It really touched me.
In a warm house in the cold NE GA mountains! ptstamper

Leigh France said...

Whitney,

Thank you for your devotion today. It made me stop and think and ask forgivness. Thank you for opening my eyes to things that I myself am doing in my busyness. Is it time for She Speaks yet?

Also, I think that you are a wonderful woman and your friends are fortunate to have you in their lives.

Nancy J Locke said...

You've made a new friend today. :D

Beautiful post and your Encouragement Today devotion rocks!

Blessings, Nancy J Locke

Jeanies Heavenly Treasures said...

Whitney,

This is an incredible project you are working on!
The amazing God thing is that this is a New Year's Resolution/prayer for me! So....count me in, girlfriend!
I just love your blog and the way you God's Daughter who listens to Him! Thanks for that!

Blessings,
Jeanie

Anonymous said...

Hi Whitney,
When I saw your name for todays word I got excited because I knew it would be good.. I feel the same way about not being a good friend, I'm an introvert(which I hate).. but people love me. Thanks for showing me that its not just me.. praying that God make me better...

1RoseManyNames said...

I am so like this. I could have written what you wrote for me. I would love to connect and I am working on it but I don't know how. Is it my ego stopping me? I know I am no better than anyone but something keeps me thinking my personal time is mine and I don't share it with others out of my tiny circle. God I need your help. He lead me to you and your blog.

Gail

Anonymous said...

Whitney:

I woke at 5:00 a.m. with the conviction that I am truly a self-absorbed individual! I had never realized that about myself and I doubt that my friends would say that I am. Everything you expressed in your blog post and in the devotion I read just now spoke directly to me.

I knew that God was calling me to a new ministry this year. I guess He just told me what it is!

Bless you,
Lynda - Servant of the Most High God

Anonymous said...

Whitney, I could have just signed my name to this post! I am so great on the surface but so terrible where it really counts. Your devotion, the friendship site and this post is truly one of those "God things" for me today! This has been a burden for me for some time now. I know that God wants to use me to help other women come to know the power that knowing Him and believing in His promises can have in their lives, but I have not really searched Him to find out how He wants me to do that! I am excited about the "Friendship Project" and looking forward to seeing how God is going to use it!

Sista in Christ,
Gerry

Anonymous said...

Thank you Whitney! This is very timely for me! Although I am not a fan of Facebook, I will follow The Friendship Project on your blog.

I have recently had some extreme suffering in the area of friendships. Just yesterday a really good friend from years ago e-mailed me about going to lunch and we made a date. As I watched your last Vlog, it really hit me how much I need her friendship at this time in my life. She has the wisdom I need in some situations I am in. I cannot wait to meet with her and I hope that our friendship can blossom again!

Nicole

Anonymous said...

Whitney,
You are wise beyond your years! What a wise and wonderful post and devotion this was! You hit many of us right between the eyes...so thank you for that!

Yvette said...

Whitney,
I came across your blog through the main Proverbs 31 website. I am so glad I did since I have been blessed and encouraged by your words. I admit I "intend" on being a better friend continuously. I go through seasons when I am in somebody's life, encouraging them and praying for them, then I "step out" for awhile because of busyness. My deepest desire is to be a better friend to my sisters. I have 3 younger sisters whom I sporadicly chat with. Our relationship is superficial as not to step on anyone's toes. We grew up rather antagonistic, and as we are maturing, I sense that each of us desire to be genuine friends. The hardest part is putting aside our own beliefs, opinions, views in order to see what we have in common so we can pull together as friends. I continue to pray for God's guidance and patience as I take the initiative to make a difference in our relationship. Your friendship project is very timely as it will keep my sisters' friendship at the forefront of my mind.
Blessings to you,
Yvette

Anonymous said...

I am new to your site. I am also struggling in the area of friendships. Your blog today has given me insight i need to move forward in developing friendships. Thank you so much.

Karen from MN

Veronica said...

Count me in!!
This is a beautiful thing that will overflow and inspire such a magnitude of women...more than you can imagine!!

Thanks for firing up and doing this!!

Anonymous said...

I have been seeking healing, but I've been told you need support to do that, yet I don't know how to connect with people to have that support. I have come to the point of giving up on both friendships and healing - in other words have given up on me. Thank you for sharing this. Maybe there is some small glimmer of hope for me.

Aimee said...

Whitney, your devotional in my inbox caught my eye this morning...and was just the confirmation I needed to pursue women even in the midst of my personal busyness of raising five young children. I felt the Lord encouraging me at the beginning of the year to invite other mothers into my home two Friday mornings a month for coffee, muffins and conversation. I was excited but I also knew that once the initial excitement wore off, this commitment would be a sacrifice. I love how you delineated experiencing friendship and demonstrating friendship...I feel called to demonstrate it right now and I am recognizing the sacrifice. Thanks for spurring me on in this! I need it!

Jen said...

Whitney - Could you please share the list of questions you asked of the women you described in today's Proverbs 31 devotion? I think I would like to share that with my local group. Thank you. Joy - Jennie

Anonymous said...

I have been hurt in the past by one of the best girl-friends I ever had. Since then, I really don't have any true friends. Just co-workers and fellow church members and family who seem to be friendly when they need something, but are nowhere to be found when I am in need.
How can you make friends when everyone around you just takes and takes?
God bless your project!
JDoe

Anonymous said...

Thanks Whitney
For today's devotion and made me look
deeper at myself..but we know that Jesus himself gave us the standard by which to gauge friendship. Loving one another as He loves us. Do we show others that we have been loved by Jesus..that means putting their needs ahead of our own.
Susan

WestwardHo said...

Whitney: Your devotional for today was sent to me by a sweet lady from the church we just got connected with. WOW.. I was reading it and your comments here and thought,"She has just looked into my heart and mind!" It sounded just like me, but what an encouragement to know that their are others like us. God is so good to expose us. He is such a loving Father. I will be joining the project. Jesus blessings to you today...Hugs, Bernadette

Gayla Ellis said...

Hi Whitney,
Love the video blog! I am very excited that I found this. I have friends all over the place and I don't see a lot of them face to face that much but we email and IM like crazy! Several of them are of the Catholic faith and I have been known to pick their brains about what they believe and I just love sharing things with them about my walk of faith and why I believe what I believe. They are all long distance sisters to me and I'm excited to share the Walk of Friendship with them!
Love ya!
Gayla

Sharon said...

Thank you for reminding us we need to do better at being a good friend.I have a book I have been reading it is called When God Winks at You. It is a great book about coincidences. Although I don't believe in them God uses them to let us know He is with us.This devotionis a Great lesson for me I have a friend I need to go see>She has breast cancer both were removed God has been prompting me to go see her.I feel like I landed on your blog today for a reason.Ther are never any coincidences in this world.Everything happens for a reason.Thanks for another GOD WINK. Blessing to you and your family. Sharon

SEP said...

Hi. It would be great if you had a follow me (from google) on your blog. I use that as my rss reader feed.

thanks!

Anonymous said...

You described me...I'm the person of whom you say you "keep hoping they will connect with anybody but you. You've learned to be polite yet evasive. You have brushed them off as needy and "unique."
Funny thing is, I actually AM a good friend by your standards...I am loyal, thoughtful (I do remember birthdays!), and I LOVE to share whatever I have. I DO remember to ask about the thing you asked for prayer about...only to be brushed off with an excuse about how you would prefer to share that information with someone else...
And I would love to join your friendship project, but I'm so overwhelmed by my friendship failures that I just can't try any more...
But I hope women who are sought after as friends will jump on this band wagon...they will be ones to really make a difference!

Julie@comehaveapeace said...

So insightful today, Whitney.

Anonymous said...

This is timely!
I believe God wants to meet needs thru our relationship with Him and others.
The church IS the place.
I'll join you in the friendship project!

Teresa said...

Thank you Whitney. I have amazing Christian female friends, unfortunately they are now several states away. I have been in this new place for almost five years and have no new friends. I am an introvert too, but have made myself initiate conversation in hopes of connecting. It is not happening and I am so lonely for female companionship. I keep in touch with my far away friends, but to me it is not the same as having someone to physically be with. When trying to establish new friendships, how does one know when they are approaching the point of being a pest? How often do you attempt to "connect" before realizing your desire for friendship is not being returned? Everyone is just so busy with their lives. Blessings to all those lonely and hurting.

Katie K said...

I am a 20 year-old college student who is trying to find her way through the tosses and turns of real life, and I have to say that your blog and your input on Proverbs 31 are very inspiring to me.

First, I have recently felt convictions about changing my attitude towards my boyfriend, whom I would love to marry someday. I decided that society's idea of a good wife just wasn't good enough, and then I found your blog and realized I was right. And it's comforting to know that there are women like you in this world who are around to encourage young women like me who need spiritual models.

Second, I have found problems in the way I create and uphold relationships with my Christian friends. It almost seems easier to be friends with non-Christians because they don't have the same expectations or the same need for meaningful relationships. I decided that was another thing I needed to change, and, again, your blog has proven me right. I'm excited about the Friendship Project and am completely blessed to have found you and your wisdom.

Blessings always.

Laura said...

Whitney,
Tonight is the first night that I've visited your blog and as I read why you consider yourself a bad friend, I felt as though I was reading a story about myself!
I find that I am very authentic, once I get through the initial introductory stage (not good with small talk at all) but at the same time, honestly forget all but the absolute closest of friends' birthdays and rarely do more than make a quick phone call.
Thank you for putting that on paper and beginning this project in order to help us learn to love one another better.