Did you know that God has ordained certain friendships to be in your life? These friendships will sustain you and propel you closer to your destiny. It’s important that we are available to the friends he has placed in our lives to give the full support and friendship that they deserve to have.
One of the ways that the devil can attack us is to place people in our lives who leach our energy. Our attention given to these false friendships will make us unable to fulfill the purpose God has for our lives.
We only have a certain amount of time and energy to give others. It’s important that we give this gift to the people God intends us to give it to. There will be plenty of people who want your attention, but you are not superman/superwoman and you can’t be everyone’s best friend.
It is your job to steward the relationships in your life that are God-ordained and keep appropriate boundaries so that your energy and time are not drained by things that aren’t really from him.
Giving energy to people who don’t deserve it can:
- Take away from time spent on activities that God has purposed for this time in our lives.
- Cause us to not give the God-given relationships in our lives (our husbands, children, close friendships, mentors, and “mentees”) our best effort.
- Rob us of our rest, which will make us vulnerable to spiritual attack and will prevent us from being our best self.
It’s important to understand the difference between someone that has been placed in our lives for a reason and someone who is distracting us from our purpose. Sometimes, God might place someone in our lives who is meant to be given SOME of our energy, but who might demand more of us than they are actually entitled to. In this situation, the friendship might not need to be cut off entirely – it will just need a new set of boundaries.
It’s important to decipher the difference between healthy friendships and unhealthy ones. Here are a few guidelines:
- Formed naturally
- Both parties initiate relatively equally (there’s always a bit of inequality and give and take, but it shouldn’t be completely one-sided)
- Emotional support is mutually provided, but God is the foundation, not the other person
- Conflicts that arise are resolved maturely and fairly (In a God-ordained friendship, resolving a conflict actually brings the two closer together)
- Friend has certain expectations and is frequently unhappy that they are not met (how often texts and calls should be answered, how often you should hang out, etc.)
- Friend has expectations placed on the other party that they themselves do not live up to.
- One person is initiating more than the other person
- One person is exerting pressure on the other party
- One person monopolizes the conversation frequently
- In conflicts, one or both parties always seek to be right rather than seeking a resolution
- In my experience, the number one indicator of an unhealthy friendship is when spending time with the other person drains you and doesn’t refresh you
A true friendship will fulfill a few of your emotional needs, but not all of them. I have one friend that I text constantly and spend a lot of time with. We talk and laugh for hours on end and often end up going home way too late because we can’t stop talking. We are both very emotional and care deeply about people, and I feel calm and relaxed when I’m around her.
I have another friend who is a bit more introverted. I see her about once a month, and we often message each other on Google Chat while at work to stay connected. We tend to have very serious discussions where each of us will monologue for a few minutes and then let the other have a turn. She’s great at giving advice, and when I run into a conflict with someone in my inner circle I will talk to her about it because she’s objective and because she’s not immediate friends with everyone else that I know.
Each friend is equally valuable to me, but if I had the same expectations for each of them, I would be sorely disappointed.
If I expected the introvert to want to see me all the time, I’d start to feel like she didn’t love me. If I tried to get the first friend to mimic the conversation pattern that I have with the other, I would miss out on the fun that this friendship brings to my life.
I share this to explain why we need to be careful about having certain expectations in friendships. My need for socializing and gabbing is a valid need, but I can’t expect my introverted friend to meet that need. And I shouldn’t try to have the same conversations that I have with the introvert with all of my other friends who might not be as interested in them.
When we have an unmet need, we often start to get mad at the people around us for not filling it. But if God is in control of our friendships, then he knows the needs we have and he will fill our lives with the right people to satisfy every one of them. When we don’t trust that God is in control of our friendships, we will start to put pressure on people to meet needs that they aren’t designed to fill, and that’s where we start to get into trouble.
God is our provider. It’s his job to meet our needs. We need to give him control over who gets our time and attention. When we trust him with our friendships, he will build us a team of people who will meet our needs for intimacy, love, and connection. Having this need met is an essential part of moving toward the destiny that God has for you.
It’s time for self-evaluation. Are there any friendships that are draining you of your energy and confidence? Which friendships have proven to provide you with the stability you need to pursue your calling?