My business partner and best friend Meredith is amazing. I tell people that often, as much for her good as for mine. You see the world is full of so much negative. Even things that put on a facade of positive advice are negative. This influence can be so damaging to individuals and good friendships, so constant battle becomes necessary. The best way I know to battle for my friend and my friendship with Meredith is to remind everybody, especially myself, how wonderful she is.
Let’s look at this a little more in depth.
Negative influences & how they hurt:
People who are jealous of Meredith, of me, of our friendship, of our relationships with the Lord, of our business:
They will say things (direct or indirect) to put us down to each individual or each other.
They will say things (direct or indirect) to incite distrust between us.
They will create distractions to keep us apart or unproductive.
They will accuse us.
Well meaning advisers:
They will tell us to “look out for number one.”
They will tell us to “make sure your needs are being met.”
They will give us all kinds of advice which conflicts with the words of the Bible.
They cause us to neglect what’s really important.
They cause health decline and heightened irritability.
I’m sure that this list isn’t exhaustive but it does give you an idea about what I’m talking about.
In Proverbs 27 it says, “Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?” That’s a pretty strong statement. The reason is that anger and fury are in your face. You can’t miss it. You are confronted with it and you deal with it. It may be cruel or overwhelming, but it is quite clear. Jealously on the other hand is none of those things. Jealousy leads to craftiness, deceitfulness, undermining actions, incessant trouble. Something that always amazes me about jealously is how often it is based on misconceptions. Recently a person went to a friend of mine and said that they wished they had a life like mine, because hers was so difficult in a certain area. She chose to cite an area of my life which is the most difficult and upsetting for me. She just had no idea of my struggles. Most people don’t know anybody else’s struggles.
To deal with the problem of jealousy I need divine help. If I cannot stand before it, God can. I pray. I pray for protection again jealousy. And I pray for healing for the hurting person who is jealous. There is no need to address the person or people. Let God do it. There is nothing I can say or do to lessen the jealousy. Only God can. SO I pray some more.
Most people think that they need to go to some self help book to get advice on how to deal with the troubles they are experiencing in life. They end up following fine sounding advice which leads them into exactly the wrong direction. They forget, or don’t know, that the Bible is filled with “rules for healthy living.” They aren’t just random rules to make life difficult. They are instructions on how the world really is and how you can best get along in it. If a person wants to fly so badly that they jump off the top of a skyscraper determining to defy gravity and fly, they would labeled as insane and their death would be deemed a suicide. Gravity is a matter of reality. It’s just the way things work. Why do people think that sin can be ignored any more than gravity can? Why do people think that a Holy God is negotiable? God defined the universe. He defined the laws of physics. He also defined the laws of mental health. When you sin, you feel guilty. If you don’t repent, you get worse. No matter how hard you try to “take care of yourself,” if you are reject the way the world REALLY operates, you will not fare well. To deal with the problem of bad advice, I read the Bible. I read through the Bible completely, cover to cover, each calendar year. Every year I glean something new. In addition to my maintenance reading, which is what I call the one year regimen, I study the Bible with the help of guides. These take me a great deal of time, but they are truly worth every moment. Meredith Curtis writes some really great ones. I’m not just saying that as a friend. I’m saying that as one who has benefited greatly from sitting down to a lesson, being carried all over the Bible to different scripture passages which either directly or indirectly shed light on a particular subject. No matter what the topic is of the book, each lesson takes me on a journey of discovery which can stand alone as a great life lesson. When put together with all the other lessons in the one book, I learn how to be a good friend, or a Godly woman, or a wise woman, or a good teacher, or etc…
The last area I mentioned is our busy schedule. I can easily over commit myself. I home school my three children. I teach 3 science classes to my children and their friends ages 10-17. I tutor 3 children, not my own, in math. I give flute lessons to one young student. I teach a Chemistry lab at a local homeschool support group. I’m on the worship team, which means I have rehearsal as well as person practice time on my instrument. I’m the church secretary and bookkeeper so I have weekly responsibilities there. I have regular responsibilities for this blog and the website that Meredith and I share. Last, but certainly not least, I have a husband who likes to eat home cooked meals, wear clean clothes, and live in a clean house. When I say that I lead a hectic life, I’m really not exaggerating. People still ask me to do favors and I still do them. I’m learning how to say, “no,” but it’s a difficult process. Above all these tasks, I must maintain relationships with these people. For my husband, cooking and cleaning says a lot about how much I love him, but not enough. He needs time and attention. My children are thankful that they get to be homeschooled, eat good food, and wear clean clothes, but they also need me to just listen to them be silly and have fun. They need my undivided attention. Meredith and my other friends need my time as well. It’s important.
It’s amazingly difficult to maintain a friendship with someone outside of my home, when I’m too sick, tired, or injured to get out of my bed. I have one friend who is handicapped and cannot leave her home without much help. I have another friend whose husband just received a kidney transplant. I thank and praise God for saving his life with this operation. She has been practically tied to him for years as he was dealing with the disease. They need me to come to them. I have other friends that feel loved when we, “go out.” Staying in just isn’t the same for her. Meredith is the biggest homebody I’ve ever met! She loves to be at home. When people come to see her in her home she feels the most love from them. To be a good friend to these ladies, I must take care of my physical body. I must eat right and exercise.
That’s how God made our bodies. Read Proverbs and you’ll find many scriptures warning against gluttony and laziness. With that in mind remember that the book of Matthew says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” In 1 Corinthians, Paul advise, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” We don’t need to obsess over our food. We need to be thankful for it. We need to eat in moderation. It’s not moderation to eat only sugar and junk. It is moderation to mix up vegetables and proteins and a little something tasty to enjoy. Be thankful to the Lord for what He has provided! Looking again at Proverbs and you will notice that it is riddled with scriptures recommending a physically vigorous lifestyle. Since we live in the age of computers and work saving machines, we need to get our vigorous lifestyle by deliberate exercise. It is foolish to believe that one can spend all day sitting at a desk, then all evening sitting on the couch and believe that they are living a vigorous life. Again, we don’t need to obsess over fitness. Our goals should be how large our muscles can get or how lean and sexy or bod can be. Our goal should be to honor the Lord with our energy. Our goal needs to be to be fit enough to do the works God has called us to.
I mentioned thankfulness, honor and God’s calling at this point for a reason. The number one most important thing we can do for our friends and our friendships is to work on our relationship with God. God’s calling isn’t just something that we sense as a special mission picked out just for us. That exists, but we all start with the same calling. We’re called to love God. Then we’re called to love the body of Christ. We’re all called to look out for one another. We’re all called to minister to the needs of others. We’re all called to love the lost (those who don’t know the saving Grace of Christ’s gift). We’re called to worship God. Truly being thankful and truly honoring God leads to worship. It’s our calling and it’s inevitable when we do the things that God wants. This whole article can be summed up into a very quick life lesson. We need to draw closer to God by Worshiping, Praying, and Reading the Bible. It something my family calls a Quiet Time. It seems funny to call it that in times when I’m really crying out to God for something, because it can be anything but quiet. I play worship music, dance around my bedroom and sing loudly to God about how great He is and how much I love Him. I begin to pray and if there’s something particularly heavy on my heart I need to just yell and scream my prayers. Other times, I worship gently with soft music and tell Him how much I adore and need Him. I softly pray to Him about the deep things troubling me or the long held hopes and dreams of my heart. No matter which direction my worship and prayer time takes I must always include asking Him to meet me in His Word. I need to find God is the Bible. I need the words to be more than just words. I need them to come alive. Scripture is alive. It has power. It changes people. It changes me. If I need it especially strongly I read it out loud. Personally I rarely ever “hear” God speaking to me. I thought it happened once, but I can’t remember any other times. He does however speak to me through scripture. I realized that my regimen reading needs to be separate than my Quiet Time reading. Quiet Time reading is special. I pray and ask God where to read and I think He guides me. Recently I was lead to start reading through Paul’s letters. I read Colossians and felt the need to keep rereading it for days. There was no voice saying, “Read that again!” There was just a need within me to read it again. I figured that since all scripture is good, it couldn’t hurt. So I’m reading Colossians again today.
All this has been to say, don’t just be positive, do something positive. Have a Quiet Time and get close to God! It will bring you closer to your wonderful friends!
Thanks for stopping by!!