Friendships are like sweet fragrances. . .
Sometimes friends teach me things about myself I never knew.
Like apparently I talk with my hands way more than I realized. And I eat watermelon five times faster than any other food. (Keep this in mind if you’re ever feeding me in a rush.)
Maybe this isn’t exactly critical self-knowledge, but the point it raises certainly is. Sometimes others see something in me that I don’t see in myself.
Sometimes these things are negative. I need friends to encourage me when I’m frustrated, to tell me to snap out of it when I’m defeated, to remind me to be thankful when I’m not. But just as importantly, I need friends to give me positive comments. I need to hear about the strengths I overlook, the skills I take for granted, the gifts I should be nurturing.
I bet you’re the same. I bet you also need others to point out those things you overlook in yourself. And I bet your friends see more in you than you could possibly realize.
God uses the people in our lives to help us find our way. But I’ll let you in on a secret. It’s not just our friends who see something more in us.
There’s Someone besides my friends who knew I would talk with my hands. Because He created them. There’s Someone who knew I would eat sandwiches slowly and watermelon fast. Because He designed me that way. There is, as Solomon wrote, a friend who is closer even than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). Maybe Solomon was referring to our earthly friends, but his words are true of our ultimate Friend as well.
“I have called you friends,” Jesus said to his followers (John 15:15).
God knows us more intimately than anyone could possible know us. He ordained every one of our days before we were born; He created our inmost being; He knit us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139). God has told us things about ourselves. Listen:
- You are loved and forgiven (John 3:16).
- You are protected (2 Samuel 22:31; Psalm 32:7)
- You are handcrafted for a purpose (Ephesians 2:10).
- You are made in the very image of God (Genesis 1:27).
- You are called to perfection (Matthew 5:48).
- You are never alone (Matthew 28:20; Psalm 139:7-10).
- You are surrounded by God’s perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3).
- You are part of a family of believers dating back to the very first disciples (John 17:20-21).
- You are being guided, even in your moments of confusion (John 16:13; Proverbs 3:5-6).
We don’t always know what happens next. If you’re like me, you have a hard enough time keeping up with what’s going on right now. But we can rest in the assurance that Someone else does know. And when we genuinely try to follow His direction, He will keep our feet on the right path.
We are called, right now, to fulfill our days with the work that is at hand. Everything we need has been planted inside us. We just may need a little help bringing it out. Take the time to tell those around you what you see in them. Listen, to what others see in you. Most importantly, listen to the Friend who knows us even better than we can ever know ourselves.
Sometimes friends teach us things about ourselves we never knew.
Janet Beagle, Ph.D. serves as director of graduate admissions for Purdue University and is a writer, a Bible study teacher, and a student of God’s word. In her spare time, she likes to eat other people’s cooking and hike with her dog, Marly. Read more of Janet’s Christian reflections at www.mustardpatch.org, and follow her @minimustard.