Friendships. They can be an incredible blessing and they can cause incredible pain. What is it about women and our relationships with each other? Do we get so caught up in one another's lives that we don't set boundaries? Or are we just emotional or maybe we're just plain mean.
Now, before you start thinking I'm having friendship problems, I'm not. I adore all my girlfriends. They are each precious and special. That's not to say I haven't had my share of friendship issues. I have. I've made more than one mess. I'm a work in progress and sometimes the progress is really slow. The Lord's been working this out in my spirit for some time and we're moving along.
It seems that lately the Lord's placed a lot of women in my life who've dealt with or are dealing with a friendship mess – or, as I like to call them, toxic relationship. Why? Am I supposed to know something or share something? Lord, I barely survived my own mess. Who am I to share anything? Certainly, this is not the path you want me to travel. I'm doing really good right here in happy, happy girl world. Let someone else do the toxic friend thing. Someone qualified. Someone who hasn't made a mess of friendships and hurt people in the process. Surely, there's some girl out there who has this friend thing all together, but it's just not me, okay?
I felt certain that the Lord agreed with me. Well, maybe certain is a stretch – let's just say I decided to do a Scarlett O'Hara on this one. “I'll think about that tomorrow.” But I felt like I was being crushed under the weight of …. I don't know. I just felt like I was being crushed. The Lord was pressing down on my spirit something fierce. Lord, I can't do this thing. I barely survived my toxic friendship, I can't relive that mess.
Today a lady asked me to consider teaching on toxic friendships. I almost fell in the floor. She doesn't know me or my history. Why did she ask me that question?
Later I got an email from a Christian friend in the public eye. She's under attack from some in the Christian community. Not because she's done anything bad or wrong, but she's made choices that some don't like. She's a light in the public and she is living her faith out among many non-believers. And for this she's attacked. Again, that messy relationship stuff.
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. Galatians 5:13-15
Y'all we are called to freedom, not to bondage. Freedom! And we are called to love and serve each other. Not gossip, bad mouth, and hurt each other.
We are going to consume one another!
And then I saw it. Lord, maybe I am supposed to write this book and teach this lesson. Is this where you're calling me? The pressure eased some.
So, here I am. I'm trusting Him and beginning to write about toxic friendships and meanness among Christians. Where will this lead… I don't know. But I know that I can talk about this because I'm forgiven and I live under His amazing grace!
What about you? Have you ever had a toxic friendship or dealt with some meanness in the church? Yikes, I may need you to go anonymous on this. If you want to share a story w/ me – not for print, just email me at Mary@MaryRSnyder.com