There’s something about friendships where you are not cheered on for your dysfunction but prayed for and encouraged to stand in the truth of who God made you to be. I know… Most of us have been socialized into a norm that as long as we have enough things in common with another person, we can automatically slap the label “friend” on it. The truth is that any relationship formed because of a bond over dysfunction or even mutual offence was technically not a solid one to begin with. If one person starts changing and growing out of that dysfunction, unless the other person also begins to move in the same direction, then the relationship will disintegrate.
My consistent readers will know that I never really share anything that I have not personally experienced or witnessed. I have gone through many relationship transitions over the years. Some were out right not meant to be while others just ended organically with no drama involved. From my experience, the ones that seemed to end for ‘no good reason’ were the ones that had the most effect. It’s human nature to want an explanation for everything. So, when there’s no obvious reason, we find it more difficult to accept.
This season, there has been more pruning and realignment to the point of discomfort, but I can also see why. A lot of the shifting taking place has been happening for a while now. It’s just that things have started to escalate because God has more for me that I will not get taking my own sweet time. An important factor is the shifting of friendship circles. Over the last 2 years, I was basically forced to move on a lot of things that God had been speaking to me about from several years before. Even though I initially feared change, in response to obedience (though quite delayed) alignment started to happen in various aspects of my life. I started to meet and discover people who gave language for what I had been confused about and experiencing for so long. I also started to recognize and gain covenant relationships.
In the past, I was use to having vent sessions with friends where we would cheer each other on in our dysfunction, encourage malice, gossip and mark any and everyone as ‘un-safe’ once a friend had any issue with a specific person. These are just a few examples of what NOT to look for in any relationship. Some of you may be reading this and thinking… Well, that sounds a bit extreme, but let me help you out with an example:
Your friend comes to you to vent how much she can’t stand her family because they don’t respect her feelings or personal space. If you have ever responded saying anything like this: “Girl, I totally understand! It’s a pain! Just don’t respect their feelings or personal space either because they don’t deserve respect if they can’t give it!” Your friend might then agree and respond: “Yea! You know what, you’re right! That’s exactly what I’m going to do from now on!” Well… believe it or not, you have just encouraged her dysfunction. It probably seemed simple right? But let me help shift your perspective. Suppose your friend was the one who God wanted to break this toxic cycle in her family? Her response to the frustration caused by her family could have been the avenue He desired to use to make a difference. Now, this toxic cycle will not just continue in her family, but it will also continue in your friendship. The right circle, the right relationships, can make a huge difference. This example perfectly highlights a part of the toxic mindset that I had to unlearn over the years. As a result, I have now finally started to cultivate genuine, covenant relationships.
Don’t worry, I will not leave you hanging! I will also share what real covenant relationship should look like using a true story. I was going through a rough time where I felt like I was in a battle between my truth and lies being spread by someone who I should trust. I remember being so overwhelmed and decided to reach out to one of my sisters. My initial approach was to ask her if she was in the right mental space for me to vent before dumping all my emotions on her. Take note that this is a thing… We should actually ask people for permission to vent before doing so, but that’s a whole other lesson for another day.
Once I got her approval, then I proceeded to just pour it all out. Her immediate response was that she went into prayer before I even finished texting and prayed for God to strengthen me to remain in character as I dealt with my situation. She never invalidated my feelings, it was a safe space. She fully understood my frustration but encouraged me to do what was right. She didn’t start to give me her own advice or encourage my dysfunction. What she did do was to encourage me in such a way that lead my focus back to Christ.
I challenge you to look at your relationships, whether platonic or romantic. Look at the people in your circle. Are they encouraging your dysfunction or leading you back to Christ? Your answer to this question is important because the fulfillment of your purpose in this life and the quality of your future depend on it.
Love & Blessings,
Click here to listen to the audio version of this post.