find those who lift you up and call you higher…
Little Tara had a tiiimmeee and a half trying to make friends — specifically gal pals. At that time, I didn’t want to deal with “girl drama.” Boys were way easier for me to connect with — they liked sports, they laughed and they didn’t talk about feelings.
Now fast forward… It’s been almost ten years since I’ve struggled with making solid girl friends. Over the last ten years, God has really done a work in me. He’s peeled away the layers of selfishness, fear and timidity and cultivated love in my heart. He’s shown me that friendship is important and so necessary because we were made for community.
We have been called to relate to one another, love one another and serve one another. Children of God are called to be “burden bearers” (Galatians 6:2) and a constant support (Proverbs 17:17).
Cultivating meaningful friendships takes work. But here’s the awesome news: God wants us to have these friendships. It is so important to Him — it’s something He knows we need to thrive! As long as we are doing our part — He will bring deep community into our lives! (AND CAN I JUST SAY THAT YOU ALREADY HAVE A FRIEND IN ME?!❤️)
Today, I want to share some practical tips for cultivating meaningful friendships… let’s dive in.
How to Cultivate Meaningful Friendships
Encourage and stir each other up in the faith. The best friendships are centered on a mutual love for Christ! There is nothing sweeter. Make a conscious effort — over text, call or in person — to let your friends know that you are present. Listen to them and encourage them through their seasons. Stir them up — encourage them to keep persevering. Point them back to Jesus when things are good and bad. Keep igniting that fire for Christ in each other.
Be willing to get into the fire. Galatians 6:2 says it best… “Carry each other’s burdens and in this way, fulfill the law of Christ.” Friendships aren’t always sunshine. Sometimes it can get sticky. There will be times when you or your friend is carrying a BIG burden — something devastating or frustrating is happening. A loving friend stays and jumps into the fire with them. They may get burned too, but they know that their call is to provide a shoulder to lean on and encouragement to cling to.
Spend quality time together. One of the classic verses on friendship is found in Proverbs 27:17 — it talks about iron sharpening iron. Cultivating a meaningful friendship requires everyone showing up and committing to stay. Find time in your schedule to dedicate to one-on-one gal pal time. Be willing to give up your personal time for the other person. Iron is only sharpened when it’s met with the other!
Never be afraid to initiate. I used to be scared to be the first one to text a friend and say, “Hey, let’s hang out!” But we all know how crazy life can get and sooner or later, friendships start slipping. So don’t be afraid to initiate coffee dates or even a simple phone call / text conversation! Show that you’re dedicated to your friends by being intentional with your time. Love is constantly moving toward people!
Instead of competing, encourage! Friendship is all about unity and within unity — there is no room for competition. Competition only divides friendships and that isn’t what God calls us to! 1 Corinthians 12 reminds us that a body isn’t complete without all of its parts. If you struggle with jealousy or a need to compete with your friends, ask God to release you. Believe that He can and will. Strive to encourage your friends and speak life giving words over them.
Focus on quality rather than quantity. Life tends to get crazy busy — anyone else?! As I’ve gotten older, I have learned to treasure quality time over quantity time. What I mean by that is, no matter how long you see your friend — make the most of it. Have fun… laugh… cry… encourage! Focus on the substance of your conversations and time rather than the minutes. Make it your mission to give life and love to your friends in every conversation. Cherish your time.
Last and certainly not least.. PRAY. Do you believe that God has your best interest at heart? Do you believe that God wants you to enjoy living and serving through life with others? My prayer is that you do! One of the most powerful things you can do is pray for rich and meaningful friendships. Express your desires to Him! Be open to who He brings into your life. Let Him mold you into the best friend you can be for others.
Before ya exit out, I wanted to share a few of my favorite FRIENDSHIP STORIES in the Bible! Let God show you how to be an even stronger friend from reading these stories…
Jonathan & David
Read 1 Samuel 20!
Ruth & Naomi
Read the book of Ruth!
Take heart, sister. There is community waiting for you and it’s only going to make this faith journey even sweeter.