Oct 11, 2009

Friendship... it's not for sissies.

Today's soaking is about friendship, as it is a topic close to my heart.
friend·ship   –noun  1. the state of being a friend; association as friends.  2. a friendly relation or intimacy. 3. friendly feeling or disposition.

friend  –noun  1. a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.  2. a person who gives assistance; patron; supporter.  3. a person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile.

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)

Most of us like to have friends.  Many adults I have spoken to about this topic state that it is difficult to make true friends as an adult.  We may have plenty of acquaintances, people who we know enough about to make small talk, but we wouldn't call on them in a moment of crisis. What about a true friend? Not many adults have more than one or two of those, and some I've spoken to feel like they don't have any. 

What does the Bible say about friendship?  Genesis 2:18 says that we were not made to be alone.  Which I can look at and assume that means we were created for relationship.  If you are married, you know that a man is a wonderful companion, good for helping solve problems, great for opening jars, getting things on the high shelf, sharing the special intimacy that a husband and wife gets to share, but listening as you drone on and on about your weight, dissect every little nuance in the last conversation with a friend, or chat about trivial aspects of your life? Not likely.

My husband is my best friend, he is the one I know I can go to if I am at the end of my rope, and have no idea where to go, someone I know will give me a back rub when I really need one and someone who can wrap his arms around me and make the world feel better, but he doesn't meet everyone of my needs.  He doesn't understand my emotions, he can't appreciate my desire to drink coffee and chat at Starbucks, and he certainly won't watch every pointless chick flick that comes out (after all, we've been married for 10 years).

Over the last three years I have been in a major transition in my approach to the friendships in my life, which has been a painful transition.   Recently, my daughter brought something home from school which clarified what has been happening.  She brought home a little "bucket" with a couple pieces of paper inside.  One explained the bucket.  

The bucket represents each of us.   We can either choose to "fill" other's buckets, or "dip" from other's buckets.  The ways to fill the bucket are simple; compliments, kind deeds, and simple acts of affection.  The ways to dip from the bucket are equally simple; not reciprocating, "using" others or treat others unkindly.

What are ways the Bible tells us to be a "bucket filler"?
LOYALTY:  There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

HONESTY/ BEING REAL: Giving an honest answer is a sign of true friendship. Proverbs 24:26
GOOD ADVICE: The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. Proverbs 27:9
SACRIFICE: Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
LOVE: Love each other as brothers and sisters and honor others more than you do yourself. Romans 12:10; A friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:17a
What I noticed 3 years ago is that I was the initiator in almost every one of my friendships.  What I mean by that is: if I didn't call, we didn't talk; if I didn't invite out, we didn't go out.  I started to get tired, and frankly started to doubt that some of my "friends" were really friends. So, I stopped calling, and I stopped inviting, and do you know what happened?  Several of those friends, even those I thought were "good friends", dropped off the face of the planet.  I am not saying that it was right or excusable to stop initiating or trying at those friendships, but the outcome suggested that those friendships were one-way.
I believe strongly that all relationships should be 2 way.  Including your relationship with God. I view a friend who never initiates as being a dipper. Now I understand that life gets busy, but how much time does it take to pick up the phone and call... or send a sweet email, or to post on a friend's FB profile?  How busy do you have to get to feel like you can't spend an hour after the kids go to bed at a coffee shop to catch up with a friend?  A friend is loyal, and a friend is willing to sacrifice... we each need to do this for our friends.
I am not saying that I am never a dipper, but life is about balance...  how about you?  How do you balance out?  Are you more of a dipper or a filler?  Do you make an effort to initiate in your friendships with people you really care about?  Whose bucket do YOU need to fill today?


  1. Would you be my friend?
    Love this post, I feel the same way about calling and the one way thing.
    Let's get coffee:)

  2. I love the bucket filler or dipper analogy. I feel like I'm such a Christ bucket dipper. I take and take and "please Lord help me with this or that" and I don't do enough bucket filling with worship and prayer and thanksgiving. Thanks for reminding me that my relationship with Christ is 2 way!

  3. Does leaving a comment on your pal's blog count??? OK, when are we going out to coffee????

  4. I want to be part of your filler! Wish you lived here... not there. Distance makes it tough. Has it been 10 years since your wedding already... my how time flies. I'm glad to have reconnected last year at camp. It's been too long.


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