Charles H. Spurgeon once said, “Satan always hates Christian fellowship; it is his policy to keep Christians apart. Anything which can divide saints from one another he delights in. He attaches far more importance to godly intercourse than we do. Since union is strength, he does his best to promote separation.”
Last month, I did it again. I mixed distraction with laziness and then stirred in a little insecurity, which all eventually led to an explosive concoction that I typically use to burn bridges.
When a sweet friend of mine reached out to me—yet AGAIN—to inquire why I had lost touch and not responded to her many attempts to contact me, I responded with the following:
“I’m going to 100% honest. I completely suck when friends move away. It has nothing to do with the friends and everything to do with me. I get in “funks” and sabotage the friendships… and not on purpose. I get busy and don’t return phone calls. I read messages and think about all the things I want to say and then don’t take the time to go back and make sure I write them.
I have had this pattern since I left high school (and sabotaged many friendships in the process). I let things go for too long and then feel bad that it’s been so long that I’m embarrassed to reach out again…and then more time goes by, and I feel like I’ve ruined the friendship and then harbor the sadness about another friendship lost.
It’s really weird, and I have NO idea why I’ve done it all these years. This is literally the first time I’ve ever put it into words and told anyone “out loud” that this is even something I do.
So, that being said, I’m sorry friend. I’m sorry I made you feel upset or frustrated that I wasn’t responding. Thank you. Thank you for continuing to reach out to me and protect our friendship. Thank you for being someone that I can be vulnerable and honest enough with to put into words a habit that has plagued me for so long.”
And you know what?! My sweet, precious, Christian, forgiving, loving friend responded with kind, encouraging words that poured salve on my embarrassed, wounded soul. She said she actually struggled with the same thing! What?! Someone ELSE struggled with that too?
I was so thankful that the Holy Spirit spoke to me in ways that I can understand that I needed to respond in honest defeat to my friend that day. I’m so grateful for those Christian women that God has put in my life that don’t give up on me as a friend when I am not a good friend in return. Paul encourages us to nurture those friendships when he tells us to, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love [and] outdo yourselves in honoring one another.
Do not let your zeal subside; keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord” (Romans 12:10-11). Ladies (and gentlemen) don’t take the fellowship of believers for granted and think for a second that you don’t need God’s people in your life. Purposefully nurture those friendships; and, pray that God would continue to surround you with those that lift you up, keep you accountable, and bring you joy. Satan knows that we are stronger together as a unified body of Christ, so let’s be intentional about sticking together!