The past couple weeks at Breathe, Danno has talked about the importance of community and friendship. Friendship is such a strange thing. It can be so easily tainted and morphed into something that it shouldn’t be. My whole life I have struggled with friendships because I have always viewed friendship through the lens of flesh. When anxiety creeps up in my life, it comes from my morphed ideas around friendship. At times I try to be everyone’s best friend, but I am broken and messed up. I recently have needed to depend on God to show me what it looks like to experience friendship and take up an identity of looking like a Godly friend to people around me even when my fleshly anxiety comes up.
First semester of sophomore year was basically hitting rock bottom in the friendships in my life. Insecurity and anxiety that I had bottled up for most of my life came out in the friendships in my life. With this bone aching anxiety spreading into my heart, I have cried out to my Lord asking to understand what his purpose for friendship is in my life. I don’t think people know what friendship is. I sure didn’t. They try to define friendship as something that it isn’t. I think a great example of this is how people define best friendship. To many people the “best” is the most exciting, extravagant, or dazzling. What God has shown me recently is that “best” can be defined by being used by God in exactly the way that God is calling. Only God is dazzling, and so doing what God calls of us is as dazzling as we will ever be. Along with that definition is what being a “best” friend means, which to me means being a broken vessel of Christ in someone’s life in the most effective way. What an odd definition, but the true definition of best friendship. To most people the words “best friend” is someone who you can call late late at night and cry on the shoulder of. A best friend is someone who knows you so well that they finish your sentences. No, none of these things are a best friend. A best friend could come close to these things, but those things are what you call a crutch. The only thing that fits those societal views of best friend without being a crutch is God. We can cry on God’s shoulder whenever we want. He is constantly there for us. God knows us so well that he knows exactly what we will do and He literally could finish our sentences because he intricately created us and intimately knows us. We tend to have a warped view of best friendship because we use humans to fill a hole meant only for Christ. We as humans cannot fill that hole. This failed attempt to create a best friend ends up bleeding into many of our friendships and how we treat friends. We seek someone to fill that hole and when they don’t we search for someone new. We desire to find someone to fill the deep hole, and when that person doesn’t satisfy us, we search for someone new. The hole in our heart is so deep that we surround ourselves with people to fill a different part, but still, we never become whole.
So why does everyone perceive a best friend in that way? The way the real definition of a best friend comes into play is hard. It is so tough. Being a broken vessel of Christ in someone’s life takes work and dependence on God. The key word in this definition is Christ. When society looks at best friends, they define that relationship as a broken vessel in someone’s life doing its purpose in the most effective way. The missing factor is Christ. When I think of a vessel, I think of the Titanic. Its original purpose was to bring the people of England to the United States for a better life. Inevitably the Titanic became broken, and its purpose changed. As a broken vessel, the Titanic’s purpose was to sink and take people down with it. This is exactly how we, as humans, approach friendship. We have this desire within us that makes us think that we can lead people to a better life or that someone else can lead us to a better life, but we are so broken. When we approach people like this, our purpose is to sink and destroy. Christ needs to be in the definition of best friend. No, Christ needs to be the core identity of best friend. Christ puts people in our lives who are broken, but he has a purpose for them because although they are broken, their eyes are fixed on him and their out-pour is coming directly from God. They are not going to take His position. They are not going to be an IV of dopamine and comfortability. They are going to push you to take up your identity in Christ and see the ways God created you. The comfortability that you cling to will be wrecked by them because they don’t tie themselves to you through chains of need and dependence but through Christ. They will call you out on your crap, even when your crap is not wanting your life. Christ wants your life, and he will put someone in your life to remind you of that even when you don’t want to hear it. We as humans want the easy fix and the instant affirmation, but that quickly wears off. A true friend will never give that to you because only Christ can affirm you. A true friend knows that you won’t grow closer to Christ if they allow you to grow dependent on them. I know this may seem harsh, but the reason I think we have this community is not to have a competition in who can get the most cups of coffee, but to push people to live their fullest potential in Christ and live in uncomfortability. Society would say that this lack of comfort in this type of friendship means that our friends don’t love or care for us. God has given these people purpose in our lives. They will be harsh and challenge you, but they will stand by your side in the pit because God gives them purposeful outpour to do so. I want to encourage everyone who reads this to start approaching friendship in this way. There is so much freedom in centering Christ in our friendships, and approaching the people around us with the purpose to lead them in fixing their eyes on the Lord.
~~ Mack Moroney