«I’ve bragged about you today.» She smiled at me. Flushed, I immediately wanted to tell her to stop, go back and rectify. I knew that no matter what she had said, I would feel the need to balance it all out by listing up all my flaws and shortcomings.
I do that. Like, on a regular basis. Whenever people say something nice about me, I’ll make sure to give them a crash course in real life, not missing out on disorganized cupboards, burnt tea water, and a God-forsaken laundry room.
Whenever I make some dreadful mistake I can hardly wait to tell everyone and their neighbor’s sister about them, desperate for people to have realistic expectations of me, because I can’t stand to live up to someone’s idea of what or who I should be like.
So naturally, when my friend said she had talked about me, I braced myself. Because I might willingly tell people about my embarrassing mistakes, but she knew all the other things, too. Even those that I find it hard to admit to myself that I’m struggling with.
She mentioned a few things and truthfully, I can’t even remember what she said. But then she said something that shook me to my core.
«I told her that I knew that no matter what I did you would always love me», she beamed happily, and my heart lit up like fireworks.
How absolutely wonderful! The fact that she knew that no matter how much she messed up we would still be friends made me so happy. Equally, I knew that I could totally mess up, and she would still be there for me, no questions asked. That is, she’d certainly question me extensively, but she would never question our friendship.
A true friendship is divine by nature. Bill Johnson has often said that in an honoring culture you celebrate who people are without stumbling over who they are not. True friends reject the temptation of re-creating themselves in the other, but rather treasure uniqueness and commit to refining one another’s qualities.
A real friend recognizes the purpose of another and cheers it on, using their own gifting to support the other.
True friends brag on each other because they just can’t help themselves.
How peculiar, then, that Jesus would call us his friends.
The gospel truth
I have never called you ‘servants’, because a master doesn’t confide in his servants, and servants don’t always understand what the master is doing. But I call you my most intimate friends, for I reveal to you everything that I’ve heard from my Father.
John 15:15, TPT
Friends confide in each other. How Jesus would even consider confiding in me is beyond me, but he does. Probably because he sees something in me that I don’t. Being a creature of habit, I desperately want to tell him about my dirty laundry, but he already knows about that and everything else.
And he still loves me.
A gift to remember
Last Christmas, I was so content with the gift that I had gotten for my friend. I even told her, “I can’t wait ‘till you see your gift! I just know you’re gonna love it!”
When she came over to leave her gift to me under our Christmas tree, she winked and said, “I’m just so happy with the gift I got you! It’s so YOU!”
You’ve guessed it, haven’t you?
As we both unwrapped our gifts we were left staring before frantically checking the note that came with it. And we were left speechless. Which says a lot, really…
We had bought exactly the same gift for each other!
Inside was a cup marked with a poem by the Norwegian poet Trygve Skaug. I hope the beauty of his words are not lost in translation:
You see so much in me
that does not exist
unless you see it
Friendship uncovers hidden treasures that would never have seen the light of day if not for someone’s faithful persistency. Loving kindness and truthful grace enable friends to bring out the best in one another. They’re in it for the long haul.
True friendship calls into being dormant dreams and restores the hope deferred. A healthy friendship is healing by nature.
We were created for community. Pure and simple.
Don’t miss out.