“Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart,
and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.”
“It’s your birthday!” Lauren beamed, presenting the largest bouquet of roses I’d ever seen.
A few girlfriends reserved a table at one of my favorite restaurants, treating me to a splendid Al fresco lunch.
None of these friends were privy to the fact that a mere five years earlier, I felt utterly un-cherished. When John and I decided to move from Chicago to California, I was a mess. At the time, the Midwest was all I’d ever known. In my grief and shock, I ran to my best friend’s condo to break the bad news and get some encouraging hugs and support.
Instead, I was met with a flat expression. With arms crossed, this ‘friend’ coldly spouted, “Well, you gotta do what you gotta do.”
I had known this woman since I was nineteen. We shared many moments and I truly considered her my very best friend. In this moment, it was clear I had given my heart to the wrong person.
“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20
“Open your present, Jules!” Lauren’s sparkling eyes interrupted my thoughts about the past.
Excitedly, she placed an elegant gift on the table. My hands vibrated as I unwrapped it. I had gone from having no friends to being celebrated in such an extravagant way; Lauren’s touching gesture was overwhelming. I struggled feeling worthy of such lavishing attention.
Tucked inside the beautiful box were two decadent bottles of perfume.
“I couldn’t decide…so I got you both! One for when you’re feeling fancy and one for your casual days. Jules, you are like this perfume…when you walk into the room, you shift the atmosphere, making it more beautiful by the essence of what you carry.”
Her words caused my heart to skip a beat. At this point, the floodgate of tears could not be stopped.
Lauren, by her thoughtful token, not only made me feel seen and beautiful but celebrated and precious. The gifts and fancy restaurant were amazing…but her words…they were priceless. They broke off deep-rooted unworthiness; something I’d carried so long, I thought it was a part of me. Now every time I dab on these marvelous scents, I’m reminded I have the power to change atmospheres! What a beautiful way to remember and be remembered!
In the past, I had gotten used to the pattern of friends who disrespected my time, dreams and thoughts. But now a woman I greatly respected, who exuded kindness and strength, softness and vulnerability, was reflecting God’s heart for me.
I hope this tiny example from my life, reveals the great contrast between those who are familiar and God’s specific people for you. He’s always whispering our worth but if we cling to what we already know, how will we ever have a chance to experience His best?
Pay attention not only to your current friendships but the ones in your past that didn’t work out. Make sure to ask yourself, “Was I a good friend? Or, is their absence because God has a better fit?”
1. Are genuinely happy for your success
2. Respect you.
-Respect your boundaries
-Respect your ideas/opinions
- Encourage your growth
- Give as well as take
- Allow you the freedom to be yourself
- Believe in you and support your dreams/goals
- Avoid negativity and commits to honoring your privacy
- Their life reflects where you want to go
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31
Prayer for healthy friendships:
“Lord, I thank you for another day of grace; another day to be mentored by the creator of the universe…for you are my father, comrade and friend.
I lay before you everything that does not serve your will for my life, including relationships that aren’t pleasing to you.
Fill me with deep security and love so I do not seek to fill my life with cheap substitutes.
From this place of identity, draw those who are on the same path as me…those who seek to put you first in their lives; the humble, kind and merciful.
Bless me to give what I wish to receive in a friendship.
Release me from selfishness, self-protection and isolation.
Give me the security of knowing who I am (in you) and the wisdom to recognize those who truly support me.
Bring friends that will be bold enough to speak truth and life when I’m tempted to give up or give in.
If you were my only friend, that would be enough; but you’re a generous God and I know you want to lavish a community equipped to bring out the best in me.
I was designed to bring out the best in others which can only happen in the context of deep, fulfilling relationships.
I am open to receiving all you have and I am willing to break away from anyone that is holds me back from your best. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
“Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet? Amos 3:3