The Impact of Friends

by Rhonda Rhea @RhondaRhea

Anytime you trip in front of your friends, the best thing to do is to just bounce right back up and keep on going. To the airport. And then leave the country. Maybe change your name.

Isn’t it a little hard to save face after your face just did a plant? Especially a face plant on gravel. Exfoliation gone so wrong.

The last time I took a tumble I didn’t do a face plant so there was no eating gravel or anything. But I think I do remember the faint taste linoleum for a while. It was in a busy hallway at church. So it was really more a taste of linoleum and humiliation.

It’s always nice to have friends nearby who will help you up. Well actually, to laugh uproariously for several minutes first, and then make merciless fun of you for years. But at least they do help you up somewhere in between.

I love the reminder in Ecclesiastes 4: “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up” (vv. 9-10, HCSB).

Proverbs 18:24 also makes a thought-provoking point. “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (ESV). There are times when it’s not enough to simply have someone standing by. Those surface-y kinds of acquaintances will come and go in our lives. But there is a true and lasting blessing in a friend who’s with you through all your ups and downs. Through every victory and through every tumble. And there’s great blessing in becoming that kind of friend to someone as well.

Since our Heavenly Father has so much to say about the importance of our relationships, and since He included this particular bit of friendship information in His Word, I’m taking that to mean I need to be reminded. We need each other—when we’ve just taken a header and just as much when we’re gracefully tiptoeing along. I find myself remembering all the clearer each time a close friend offers godly counsel or encourages me to seek the Lord. I remember it well each time friends spur me on or inspire me to walk closer to Christ by their godly example. And yes, still again each time a friend helps scrape me off the pavement after a spill.

If you’re experiencing one of those seasons in life when your close friends are not as accessible, could I encourage you to keep praying, asking the Lord to send a bud your way? Who knows? He might drop one right in front of you. Maybe even in a church hallway. On linoleum.

Meanwhile, Psalm 37:23-24 tells us that, “The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand” (NIV). Whether there is a friend nearby or not, the Lord is never absent or inattentive. Even if there’s a bit of a spill, we’re lovingly held.

True friends? They’re a blessed bonus. It’s amazing how the Lord can use them to impact our lives for Him.

Good impact. Because now we know there’s impact…and there’s impact on linoleum.

Two are better than one…a cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.                                                                                                                                            Ecclesiastes 4:9, 12 NASB

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The impact of friends – thoughts from @RhondaRhea on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

rhonda rheaAbout the author: Rhonda Rhea is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and a humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLife, Leading Hearts, The Pathway and many more. She is the author of 12 books, including Fix-Her-Upperco-authored with Beth Duewel, and a hilarious novel, Turtles in the Roadco-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea. Rhonda and Kaley are also excited to be teaming up with Bridges TV host, Monica Schmelter, for a new book and TV series titled, Messy to Meaningful—Lessons from the Junk Drawer. Rhonda enjoys speaking at conferences and events from coast to coast and serves as a consultant for Bold Vision Books. She lives near St. Louis with her pastor/hubs and has five grown, mostly-coffee-drinking children. You can read more from Rhonda on her website or Facebook page.

Join the conversation: How has a good friend picked you up and dusted you off in the past?

Making New Friends in New Places

by Kathy Howard

Determined to meet my new neighbors, one Sunday afternoon I made a big batch of banana-chocolate chip muffins. Warm muffins would be my offering of friendship, my reason to knock on their door. While the muffins baked, I wrote our name and contact information on little note cards and attached them to the top of the plastic containers.

That afternoon I walked six long driveways. I stood in front of six doors waiting for a neighbor to respond to my knock. But no one answered. Feeling lonely and defeated, I went home, made a cup of coffee, ate two muffins, then stored the rest in the freezer.

A few weeks before that Sunday afternoon, we had moved to a new town. This makes new start number eight. Throughout my husband’s career, his job moved us seven times. Then my husband retired and we moved again. This move may actually be our last.

Moving and starting over can offer wonderful opportunities, but there are also challenges. Making and building new friendships is one of them. Thankfully, some of my other efforts to meet new people and make new friends have turned out better than the muffin fiasco.

Throughout our moves, God has taught me to take the initiative. It’s not that the people around me don’t want my friendship or care that I’m new. Most are simply settled in with a full life and a circle of friends.

I am naturally shy, so reaching out and taking the initiative in new friendships always feels risky – like standing in front of a stranger’s door, smiling at a security camera, warm muffins in hand. Will they open the door? Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t.

Yet I continue to take the risk because I’ve experienced the value of friendship. In each place we’ve lived, God has graciously given me beautiful, lasting friendships I still enjoy. But no matter how wonderful these relationships are, I need local friends. I need women in my day-to-day life.

God designed us for relationship – with Him and with others. We not only need Him, we also need other women to encourage, comfort, and challenge us in our daily lives and our walk with Jesus. No matter how independent we are, we really aren’t meant to go it alone.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, NIV

We all need a friend to help us up when we fall. Do you have a friend or two to call when you’re on the floor? If not, reach out, take the initiative. Be the friend God can use to bless someone else. I’d be happy to share my muffin recipe with you!

Kathy HowardAbout the author:Struggling to navigate the parent/child role reversal? Kathy Howard’s new book, 30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents,explores God’s Word to find hope and encouragement for the wide range of physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual challenges the adult child caregiver may experience. Each of the 30 devotions – which can also serve as a guide for a daily quiet time – includes a Scripture passage, a real-life illustration, biblical commentary/application, and questions for reflection. You can order your copy here

Join the conversation: How do you reach out to make new friends?

Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash