“As we continue to look at intimacy in friendship, it is important to understand not only the need to let people into our lives in these close relationships, but also realize that there are some people who do not need to be in our innermost circle of friends. There are different levels of relationship and we need to be wise and understand this principle.
Georgia Shaffer is participating with us again this week to help us gain insights into this facet of friendship. Georgia is a life coach and counselor, Georgia Shaffer (read her full bio here), has given us permission to share with you from segments of her book titled “Avoiding the 12 Relationship Mistakes Women Make”. The segments you will read here are all from chapter four of this highly recommended book. I encourage you to get a copy here and read it in its entirety.
Recognize the Difference Between Friendship and Ministry
“Many times we call people our friends when really it is a one-sided relationship. A one-sided relationship is where we are pouring good things into another person’s life, but there is no support or reciprocation on their part. They may just be struggling to survive. If we are called to do this, it is helpful to look at that type of relationship as a ministry instead of a friendship.”
“One college-aged girl shared with me, “My mother says I need to pick better friends but she doesn’t understand how much I’m drawn to the downtrodden and outcasts of society. Yes, they wear me out but I love helping them.”
“I suggested that maybe what her mother was trying to communicate is that serving others is not the same as having a close, intimate friend. Yes, you can be friendly and helpful to these people, but unless they are willing and able to be trustworthy, accepting, and mutually supportive of you, it really is not going to be a deep intimate friendship.”
Recognize That Some Friendships Are Seasonal
“You can value people and the close connections you once had while also understanding that some friendships are only a significant part of your life for a limited time. Just because you no longer see or talk to that person doesn’t mean you are throwing the friendship away because things have changed. Such pruning is good. We all have limited time and energy, and so we can only maintain a limited amount of close friends.”
Recognize Your Life-Giving Friendships
“It is important to identify and minimize the negative relationships in your life, so you have more time and energy to invest in the positive ones. Friendships are fragile and need to be nurtured. Even the best of friends won’t always be affirming of you. They may disagree with you and tell you what you don’t want to hear. “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (Proverbs 27:17, NLT).”
“Over all, however, life-giving friendships energize us physically, emotionally and spiritually. Good friends are accepting, encouraging, forgiving and willing to listen.”
In our next post featuring quotes of Georgia Shaffer, the emphasis will be on ways to tend your life-giving relationships. Be sure to continue with us on this journey of Mission: Intimacy as we discover God’s plan for relationships.