Life

Lesson 49: The art of friendship

Today I am contemplating the many things that are very wrong with this world. Watching the headlines every day is enough to turn you grey overnight. The world we live in is becoming a more and more sinister planet and good people are becoming increasingly hard to find.

Portrait of business colleagues holding each other and laughing

Are relationships and friendships of such little value that we can change them and discard them as easily as we do with a barely worn out pair of socks. Why are so many casual, fair weather ‘’friends’’ in this world? There when it suits them and AWOL when you need them most.

Is it people raise their children to befriend or is this something the greater majority hope their children will just learn casually at school? I can tell you one thing most people seem to have the 101 on this subject – “How to selfishly love yourself and give only to others if it means a return on your investment”.

I know for one I value friendships – I value my time and have always aimed to teach my children to value the time others give them – to teach them that friendship, the true kind, is a slow paced journey – of learning to navigate your way into a strong reliable and cherished friendship. What breaks my heart is how quickly friendships turn out to be people that are fairly casual about them and are quick to jump ship when a more interesting friend comes their way.

I see countless beautiful young people left isolated by others wondering “what now”, and “here we go again”. It is a dangerous place to be as they quickly become fairly jaded on the art and beauty of making true lasting friendships.

So what is a true friend?

How can we become true friends?

What should we be teaching our children and doing ourselves?

How do we decide on who fits the bill of this seemingly rare gift?

True friendship…

  • Is Unselfish – it’s not about what you get out of the friendship but about what you put in. Imagine if both friends put the same energy and passion into a relationship, instead of just waiting to see what they could receive, how beautiful would that picture look?

 

  • Is Respectful – respectful of the person’s space, opinions (even if they are different from your own), approach to life and who they are. Respect is a beautiful thing when given before it is earned and I know many believe it is the other way around – but respect is a precursor for our next point of friendship.

 

  • Is trustworthy – which relationship do you know that works well without this core ingredient? Friends need to be able to confide in each other and know what they have said remains there in the preciousness of that space; they need to be safe in knowing that their friendship will not be given up at the turn of a new trend or the introduction of a new person, which leads me to the next point.

 

  • Values others – when we place value on people we treat them with care and we honour them as people. Value encompasses all of the above then, because as we value those around us we care more about their needs than our own, we respect them as fellow human beings and by being trustworthy of them we place value and priority over them as people. What more could we give as friends than value – this in a world where relationship seem to have become a disposable commodity. When people feel they have value they walk differently, they live differently and they love differently. It is all part of an intricate cycle of design.

So how do we become these people?

It’s simple – you choose it.

If you are not by nature this kind of person it will take sacrifice – of yourself. Just consider a world where everyone was more concerned about the person next to them than themselves…it certainly would look a whole lot better than the pciture I am currently looking at.

And yes, let’s not be entirely over romantic about this – there are many times when you have to do things for yourself and walk away from over demanding people – but that’s a whole new conversation about narcissists and so forth – here we are just talking about everyday – reasonably – normal people.

How do people fit the bill? When do we decide they can step into our sacred space?

This is the most challenging part.

Relationships of any sort are a risk.

We never know how it will turn out – for me I have had some doozies – there is no easy way to assess a person. You have to go in and take the chance – be willing to take a bruising along the way, no one is perfect after all, and give them the chance to be that friend.

This is often why we are so let down – because I would say 8 out of 10 of these people are going to let you down badly. 6 out of 10 may let you down somewhat or they could turn out to be great casual, socially fun friends but don’t expect depth and support from them. It seems to be a matter of statistics here. The sad but blatant truth of it.

And after all is said and done and if, just if you happen to be in the right place at the right time, with the right outlook on life, in just the right moment, you may find one or possibly two of those rare human beings who will be the ones you can lean on when life requires it, share coffee, laughter and life in between.

Good friendships are the rarest treasure of all – when you find them value them deeply, guard them fiercely and treasure them dearly.

I am deeply blessed to count a very, very few in my life but I know they will be there for the rest of it.

 

au revoir mon ami

Michelle

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Lesson 48: ME

I am coming to terms with who I am.

uniquely me

As I write this I know I am putting it all out there which is something I tend to veer away from. I share but not enough to let everyone in – because I don’t want too much information to be given, enough to make those who read have any more than just the tiniest sliver of the me that I like to keep for just me…safe

You know…safe…hidden…just my thoughts that no-one else can hear

Today, however I don’t feel like hiding from this piece of writing…I feel today for some reason it needs to be written – I know I am not alone in these thought crevices so here it goes and please …I want no response for my thoughts only of your own experience in this place if you choose…

I have never enjoyed the printed image of me

I judge it from a place of criticism and disappointment

I see these images from a place of the criticism of others and so I recoil from most images that house me within them. There are the odd moments when I feel I can allow an image which has somehow made me look more okay…I can endure it…most I simply delete

I am generally dissatisfied with most parts of me

Don’t get me wrong I don’t hate myself or even feel that under confident but I don’t exactly think that much of what I have in terms of attributes, characteristics, skills or talent

I have always felt someone else has more and that what I have is less than average on many levels

I realise sitting here today that this is so very sad

I have been sad

I must make my Creator, Abba Father deeply sad

It needs to end

I need to love who I am

This is the only me I get

I want to wholly embrace who He made me to be

The nose that I had wished to be smaller and more petit is the nose He chose for me.

Perhaps it has kept me a little more humble and it is a good nose regardless of its form.

The little and not so little bulges around my middle – they are there – He didn’t put them there…I take full credit for that but I will love the fluff. It is part of who I am right now.

My knock knees, my curly toes, my thin lips, my less than dainty hands, my thin hair, short eye-lashes, scars, stretch marks (I give my two beautiful children credit for those) and a few rather more unmentionable areas…

I thank my ADONAI Elohim for those He chose for me and those He knew would happen over time.

I am Michelle

This is what I look like

This is how I sound

This is how I write

These are my thoughts

These are my flaws

I embrace all that is me

I must

If you want to you can – if you don’t that is entirely your decision

It won’t change who I am

I don’t want to change them

Not anymore

I want to be this person

Fully be who I was designed to be

I want to love this body

Regard it with respect and treat it as such

I want to love and laugh about the things that make me uniquely me

His design is without error – His plan created before the beginning of time

I want to sing because I can

And it makes me happy

Dance because I want to and I can

Not because I am that good at it anymore

Write because I love to

And let’s face it – it does keep me out of trouble…

 

This life needs to be lived loving who we are and who we will be if we can do that.

Starting now…

Lesson 47: The story of a man

You know you are growing when you are no longer ignoring your weaknesses and faults.

I have been looking very closely at my heart in the last few weeks. It’s been placed under a microscope having taken off those rose coloured spectacles when examining the state of my own, fleshly heart.

I have to tell you…I have not enjoyed all that I have seen. It is far less righteous than I once thought it to be. It is quite messy actually. There is a whole host of things I would so like to ignore but if I am to be fully real and more so, transparent with myself, I am going to have to face the reality of the full range of my shortcomings.

There once was who found himself in a tough situation. He had faithfully followed a teacher who he had believed in without question for three years. This teacher told him one day that he would one day question his devotion to him and run from it. But this man could not agree with his teacher – in fact – he vehemently disagreed.

The time came as the teacher had said it would and he did exactly as it was foretold. His teacher was held in accusation by the authorities, his reputation in shreds and they labelled him with all manner of lies and abhorrent crimes.

But what of the faithful follower?

Now would be the test.

Now would be the time to show his teacher wrong but instead he turned his face from his teacher and pretended he has never met the man.

Not just once but three times over he denied not just ever knowing him but he denied that he has never seen this man before with great purpose.

The third time he did this, he heard in the quite, misty distance, a cock crowing three times.

His teacher was right…

He had turned his back on him

Denied him

Forsaken him

Three times he chose this action

Who was this man?

This mans’ name was Simon Peter (Kefa)

The teacher’s name was Yeshua

After this he watched his teacher tortured and ridiculed. He watched whom he knew to be an innocent man, crucified.

He must have wept. Not just with sorrow at what had been done to his teacher, his friend. He must have wept with the deepest, most heart wrenching guilt and regret.

What he had done was almost – if not the same – as Judas’s actions of betrayal of Yeshua.

How could Peter every overcome this place he was in. The shame that covered him must have been overwhelming. He might have received sad, sorrowful glances from the other followers and onlookers.

How could he do this to his beloved teacher?

What a pitiful picture of a man….

The day came when Yeshua, Peter’s teacher, defied death and arose from His tomb. He joined his followers and was eating a meal with them when He looked at Peter and asked him if he loved Him. To which Peter “Yes, lord, you know I am your friend. Yeshua replied, “ Feed my lambs.”

Again Yeshua asked him if he loved Him. And Peter responded, “Yes, lord, you know I am your friend.” And Yeshua responded, “Shepherd my sheep.”

A third time Yeshua asked Peter if he was His friend. And Peter replied, “Lord, you know everything. You know I am your friend!” And Yeshua responded, “Feed my sheep.”

Three times Peter denied Yeshua and three times he was restored by the very man he denied. This to me is one of the purest examples of forgiveness. This is how I believe we are to forgive. Forgive into a place of complete restoration.

Peter was forgiven and completely restored and then commanded to take care of those who would believe and did believe in Yeshua HaMashiach (anointed One).

This Peter went on to bring 3000 people to salvation and not once do we ever read of the other disciples reminding him of his grievous sin of denial. He was completely restored in their eyes too.

Do we forgive this way?

Do we allow for others to fully walk in forgiveness and restoration?

Or do we continue to remind them of their past sins and failures, never allowing them the joy of knowing redemption, grace and wholeness because we are still hurting or offended by their past actions.

If anyone had reason to walk away and never meet with a man again, let alone have a meal with him, Yeshua did.

Yeshua, models true forgiveness and the walking of restoration for those whose hearts are fully turned to Him.

I want to forgive like this.

Yeshua did so I should.

Who am I to withhold forgiveness and deny restoration?

And I need to be forgiven and restored like this too.

It comes down to….

CHOICE

The choice to forgive

The choice to make a way for restoration

This world needs a change of heart

I choose to start HERE

I choose to start NOW

la grâce

Michelle