Like many freshman, when I started college, I was filled with fear in regards to friendships. I had grown up knowing the same people since kindergarten, and making all new friends seemed like such a foreign idea. I convinced myself that this was my fresh start, and on the first day of orientation I tried to make “fast friends” with those around me. I was making surface level connections, and it took me a while to learn that this wasn’t what friendship was all about. I had to stop pretending like I had it all together. Letting people into every corner of my life—not just the perfectly clean ones, showed me what true friendship was all about. I no longer felt like I had to keep it all together, and suddenly, the college that once felt so new, was beginning to feel familiar. The dorm room that once was a tiny place for me to escape became a place for community, deep conversations, and growth. I learned that God is always faithful with the people that he places in our lives to walk alongside us. From this tiny dorm room, God opened doors for an apartment, which allowed for even more community, and a bible study of girls from all over campus. God is always at work in each and every thread of our lives and relationships. He is such a personal God. He uses friendships like vessels to extend His grace and encouragement to us in every way. He places friends in our lives so that we can speak life into their dark places and point them to Christ
When we begin to see that the people in our lives are placed there so intentionally, life becomes richer and fuller and more glorifying to our Father. Author Shauna Niequest speaks about friendship so profoundly, when she says, “We were made to represent the love of God in eachother’s lives, so that each person we walk through life with has a more profound sense of God’s love for them. Friendship is acting out God’s love for people in tangible ways.” As a christian, friendship is a high calling. Yes, it’s great to have a group message full of girls that you can make fun plans and memories with every weekend, but the beauty is that it doesn’t and shouldn’t stop there. When we begin to view friendship as an opportunity to act out God’s love, friendships are richer, and are given purpose—-running with each other, side by side the race that has been set for us by God. (Hebrews 12:1). Each day, the way we love our friend’s should give them a glimpse into the love that God has for them.
As Christians, we are called to be set apart for Christ, and a lot of times, that means doing hard things. It takes time, love and grace. If we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our friendships, we must remember the sacrifices that Jesus made for us. We must remind ourselves of the character of Jesus as a friend. John 15:12-15 says: “ “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” Loving one another as Jesus has loved us seems counter-cultural. We live in such a individualistic and self-serving society. To the world, loving this way may seem inconvenient. Often times, for me, I have to stop and consciously change my mindset from, “what can my friend do to for me” to instead think, “what can I do to help and uplift my friend?”
Sometimes it means getting coffee with a hurting friend, even when your to-do list is long and your assignments are piling up. Sometimes it’s keeping your friend accountable and having to say the hard things in love, praying for them during a hard season. Sometimes it’s doing menial tasks to show you care and that you are grateful for them. I promise you, your time, your words, and your actions will mean so much to that friend, and God will bless them, no matter how small.
Friendship is such a gift…especially in college, as it’s basically a sleepover with your best friends every single night! 🙂 There are so many opportunities for memories to be made, cookies to be baked, trips to plan, conversations to be had over cups of coffee and so many other small moments to cherish. But it excites me even more to think about how much beauty is added when we think of friendship as an opportunity to provide a glimpse into God’s love for his children. We have this high calling to serve one another, and remind each other of the bigger, more beautiful picture of our Savior’s redeeming love for us.
Each day, the way we love our friend’s should give them a glimpse into the love that God has for them.