If you've spent any time around here (THANK YOU) you've probably read my thoughts on friends, faith, adventure, and fun. Lately, I've felt the need to share something that is not fun — it's about friends and faith, but it's the hard stuff. Not the fun, pretty girlfriend topics I tend to write about, but it's life — it's in my upcoming book and I've lived it.
I could fill up pages and pages on the hard stuff, but I want to start with Dangerous Friends — we've all met them and you may have even had one. Very few people know this story and I'll continue to be somewhat vague with dates, names, and details out of respect for all those involved.
She seemed like such a blessing. We had so much in common. We liked the same things… at least it seemed that way.
She thought I was interesting. She seemed intrigued by my life (which is far from fascinating). She WANTED to be my friend and it was intoxicating. But it also happened so fast — zero to confidante in weeks. (Warning!)
She was new in town and new to our church. She served in the ministry. I was (and am) just a girl (and yes I use the term very loosely) who loves Jesus while stumbling through life. She wanted to inside scoop (aka gossip) on everyone. (Warning!) I jumped right into the gossip. It was wrong and I knew it, but I still dove in.
There were more red flags —
The ‘you won't believe what she said about you… but don't tell her I said anything' comments that hurt me and served no purpose. (Warning!)
The half truths that made her out to be the victim and cast those who questioned her or her family as villains. (Warning!)
The drama, constant drama. (Warning!)
Please don't think I'm blaming her for everything. I'm not. I loved being in her inner circle. I loved having a best friend. I loved being the ONE she trusted, the ONE she called on. I loved being needed. It was intoxicating and dangerous. I saw those red flags. I knew that things were not as they seemed. I heard the Lord speaking straight into my heart. I knew something was wrong, but I chose not to see or hear.
If I pretended there wasn't a problem, there wouldn't be one. I couldn't have been more wrong. Refusing to look just made it worse.
The drama continued. Friendships were sacrificed. Hearts broken, yet I stood by her.
Warnings came from trusted friends who spoke truth into my life …I didn't listen.
When I finally remove my blinders and looked at the reality of the situation I was heartbroken. When I confronted her, the mask slipped and for a brief moment I saw her — a scared, mean girl who grew up to be an insecure woman who doesn't know how to be a friend.
I could finally see what others had tried to tell me about. I realized just how foolish I'd been. I'd trusted her and she'd lied to me, manipulated but I ALLOWED it. Don't miss that part –
I allowed it.
I was mad. At her, but mostly at myself. In my anger, I shut the door on friendships. I wasn't about to let another person close enough to make a fool of me again.
I was hurt. I was ashamed — before God. I was mortified that I'd turned a deaf ear to what the Lord was SHOUTING at me. I wanted to crawl under a rock — and I did for a time. I didn't think I'd ever be able to stand before a group of women again. But God is good and He uses the messes we make to His great glory! Amen!
Somehow God has seen fit to take me, a girlfriend mess, and give me a message about God, Grace and girlfriends.
I still struggle with trusting women. I've learned to take each friendship before Jesus. I lay it at His feet and ask Him what He would have me do. I've learned to listen.
It's a hard lesson and one that I do not want to repeat.
What about you —
Have you found yourself in a toxic relationship?
Open your heart to what God is saying to you.
Look at the entirety of the situation and listen to the Lord. He can (and does) take our messes and use them for His glory. I'm proof of that!