Sunday, June 21, 2009

Receiving Friends

For some of us, our own expectations make friendship elusive. For me, I expected people to want a friend with perfected—or at least pretty good—conversational skills. I expected them to want someone with high interest hobbies. I expected folks to want someone diverse, with fascinating stories to tell. I don’t claim to be any of those things, so I assumed I would not be received as a good friend candidate.

It is the tendency of the world to look at the lack of people, to see what they are missing, how they aren’t perfect. It is our tendency, even as children, to compare ourselves to others and see how we come up short. The enemy isolates us by holding up magnified versions of all we are not and exaggerating what we do not have.

But God says we are here because of what we are and what we have is enough.

And according to Al, it is what I do have that opened the door for our friendship.

I have a desire to see people as God sees them. I want to see the truth of who a person is, encourage them in the promises the Lord speaks into and over them, and bless the masterpiece they are created to be. Al wanted someone willing to see the real him—the one with God given gifts, talents, and promise. I believe he is like all of us. When we begin to doubt and question, we want someone who says, “Nope, you haven’t missed it. It may be buried under the struggle you are in, but I still see the wonder of who you are.”

I can do that.

Another thing I have in my arsenal for making friends…a smile.

Let me fill you in on a little secret. Smiles always have an impact. They are one of the best investments you can make into people. Children, adolescents, adults. Age does not matter. Smiles speak volumes. A smile says, “I am so glad to see you. You are valuable and important to me, and you bring my heart joy. You are welcome and wanted here.”

Really, isn’t that what we all want to hear?

It is amazing the power of offering a place to belong, a place to be valued for the truth of who one is.

Funny how being a friend isn’t always about what we have to give. Sometimes it is about being willing to receive—receiving a person for who and where he is, receiving them in all the glory, goofiness, and gravelly knees, receiving them for the masterpiece God has made him to be. And sometimes, we get to receive the most amazing gift-—friendship.

Copyright 2009 Jerri Phillips

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My simple life plan: To live the kind of life that when asked, "If you could be anybody, who would you be?", I'd choose me.

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