Grace In Friendship

I’ve been blessed with some truly amazing friends. They are the most graceful, kind, fun, genuine people I’ve met. I owe much of my sanity and well-being to them. If they weren’t there for me, I wouldn’t be the person that I am. I’d be a sad, lonely, awkward dork. Instead I get to be a joyful, social, still awkward dork.

I don’t really deserve such good friends, but they’re still there. They put up with me, even though I get moody, make plans that I don’t keep, and sometimes fall out of touch entirely. They stick by me even when I plow headlong into something that they told me isn’t gonna end well (so far they’ve been right, and I fall on my face).

My friends taught me how to be a friend. I fail at it a lot, but for anyone who is interested, here is my list of things that make a person a good friend.

1. They will tell you the harsh truth, but they’ll stick with you even if you ignore it.

I deserve a bad-friend card for this one. I get really mad at someone if they tell me I’m wrong, or that maybe I shouldn’t do something. So, even if it’s my best friend, I shut them down completely. Don’t do that. Thankfully, my friends give grace to me all the time, and didn’t say “Told you so” when things went down the drain.

I’ve learned that if you really care about someone, you will warn them if you notice them going down a dangerous path. But even if they get defensive or choose to disregard you, as a good friend, you stay and love them.

2. They will pray for you.

A good friend will pray for you. Seems pretty simple, but prayer is evidence that someone cares. Whenever one of my friends says they’re praying for me, it makes me feel stronger.

3. They will do what they can when they can to be there.

I can’t stress this enough- be there for someone you care about. Even if you can’t physically be there for them, be there. We live in the 21st century, so if the most you can do is text to see if they’re ok, do it. If you can physically go see them and spend time with them, do it. If you can go see them, don’t say that you want to and then make up an excuse to not. I’ve done that, and had it done to me so many times. We need to spend time with the people we care about while we still can. Of course things like school, work, and life get in the way sometimes, and those things are good. But when we can, we need to make the effort.

It was really touching to me when a friend came over last minute to drive around because I was having an awful day. He lied about being on my side of town so I wouldn’t object, even though he was actually across town and drove all the way just to pick me up and drive. Even if you can’t actually do that, taking time to let your friends know you are there for them is important. I don’t do this as well as I should, but thankfully my friends, as I said earlier, give me grace. Which leads to…

4. A good friend will give grace.

And more grace, and more grace. Grace in a friendship means that you be a friend regardless of whether that friend deserves it or not. So when your person really starts to get to you, annoying your soul, ignoring you, being moody, or whatever, give grace. Sometimes friendships end, and that’s ok. There is a time for that. But what I’m talking about is that one friend who loves you with all their heart, but who needs your grace right now. If they are a true friend, they’ll come around. I know one of my people had to be very patient with me, because I started to be defensive and create as much distance as I could between us. I don’t know what I would do if she’d chosen to resent me and hold on to that, because I love her and always did. I didn’t deserve it, but she gave me grace.

So there you go! These four things are difficult things that I’m working on, but I know that they are good things because they have built the good friendships that I have.

Quick shout out to my friends, my traveling company, my favorite people- thank you for giving me grace and for teaching me all of these things. Thank you for putting up with me. Thank you for being who you are. You’ve all done so much for me, been there for me, and loved me. It is my sincere hope that every person who reads this gets to experience a friendship as good as the ones I have with you all.

As always, thanks for reading!

give grace,

Linds

The ocean stirsthe heart, inspiresthe imagination& brings eternaljoy to the soul

Love Presently

Some days, many days actually, I think about how many people I will love when I get my life together. I can go and love the whole world for Christ, and I will go to all the places and share the love of Christ, and I will do as I am called to do and love the world, and every person in it. (When I use the term love in the post, I mean active love. The kind that works to make things better for the person receiving it. The kind that prays. The kind that is more than an emotion, it’s an action.)

Then many other days I think about how many people I cannot stand and do not want to be around and do not want to love and I think maybe my true calling is to be an emotionally distant hermit who also happens to be a successful nurse practitioner as a way to make a living, totally separate from the idea of wanting to actually help people anywhere. I can retire early, live on an island, own all the cats I want (so many cats), and have a house that no one could find me in due to the large size of it.

There isn’t really a middle ground with me. I either want to be the hero and love everyone and help everyone, or I want to be the uninvolved skeptic who ignores the world.

Yesterday I was driving with two of my favorite people, and a song title caught my attention. It was totally cheesy, but I realized that instead of overwhelming myself with plans of grand ways that I am going to love everyone, I should start loving one person at a time.

If all I can do with my day is get out of my room and love one person, even just one person, then I should do it. I don’t have to choose to either love everyone or no one. I don’t have to heal the whole world or leave the whole world hurting. In fact, I can’t heal the world. I can help, but I am not the Healer or the Savior. I can temporarily touch some, but I cannot eternally save any.

I am called to love specifically. I am called to love my enemies. I am called to love my neighbor. So that is what I will start doing.

Instead of desperately trying to be perfect and omnipresent in my love and falling so short of that it doesn’t help anybody, I need to be reasonably present and love in the moment. I need to love the people that I can while I still can.

Instead of living in my dreams of changing the world by actively loving masses of people I have never met yet, I need to start living in the present reality of loving people all around me. Those who are easy to love and those who are hard to love. I need to start praying for them, choosing them, working for them.

Perhaps one day I will live out the dream of making life better for people around the world. But how will I be able to do that if I can’t even practice that with a few people now?

When I start to focus on future ways I will love people I start to forget to love people now. It’s not a good arrangement for anyone. I end up treating people as less than they deserve, or in ways that I would not want to be treated. I become more impatient, I become more hateful towards the people that irritate me. It’s funny, because I get so caught up in the noble future I want to have where I sacrifice for the people I love and I learn how to help them that I end up doing a terrible job practicing that right now.

Don’t misunderstand me- it’s a good thing to plan for the future! It’s a good thing to find a career that you are excited about, or to find a place where you fit, and then to work for it. But just don’t make my mistake and forget to love people and life now too. People around you need your love as much as people you hope to help someday.

I can’t wait to be a nurse and to make a difference in the lives of families where quality healthcare is not as readily available. There are many ways that I can’t wait to help people. But while I academically prepare for that, I need to love now too.

My goal for now is to wake up and love my family and my coworkers and my friends. It is to love the people at school who drive me crazy, to love the former friends who hurt me, to love the customer who treats me like I’m stupid, or the man who cuts me off on the road and almost hits me. To love them individually, one at a time, giving grace to each one in the present moment. Because extending grace is one of the ways that love is lived out.

Thanks for reading!

give grace,

Linds

love presently-4