Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
I’ve always been a little envious of those women who have a “BFF.” Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had friends, best friends even. But that whole “forever” part has been elusive. No need for sympathy, this isn’t a whiney cry for friendship, just a contemplation. To be honest, around this time of year I get reflective with holiday greeting cards, letters, pictures, and the inevitable melancholy and sometimes deep bouts of loneliness I feel living far from our large families.
Psychological research tells us that women have more close, emotionally intimate friendships than men do. Men often report that their “best friend” is their spouse. Women, who are just as likely to report their husband as their best friend, state that in addition to their husband they have many close female friends and typically at least one, or several women, who are “besties.”
Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of friends. I am an easy extrovert, prone to embrace those I’m with as if we were just together yesterday, and will meet again tomorrow for deep, intimate conversation. And I’m being genuine, I really feel that way. And from what I hear, a lot of us women are similar. But real life gets in the way…or makes the way maybe…for those friendships.
I’ve always longed for that friend who has known me since early childhood, lived with me every day, and will be in my world until we die. For some, that’s a mother-daughter, or sister-sister friendship. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Mom and sisters and we get along great, but the years and the miles separating us hasn’t allowed those “let’s hang out and share everything” kind of relationships. I did have a BF in childhood, through the early teens, but we moved, then she moved. We did reconnect a few years back, but it’s not the same of course. Too much life has been lived. I’ve had high school and college and early motherhood BFs…but again those random calls and get-togethers and Christmas newsletters don’t make up for the time we missed “knowing” each other on a day-to-day basis. Of course, I have friends that I don’t talk to for months or years and when we talk it’s just like we were together yesterday…but it takes so long to get caught up that you can’t really live in the moment, share today’s struggle or joy, without spending an hour back tracking how you got there. I have friends in the moment, friends that I can invite to tea, friends that would be there if I needed them, but to be honest, they only know me as the current me.
My husband truly is my bestie. I trust him completely and he does his best to listen and share. We laugh together and argue with each other and really know each other and our life together. We don’t have to get caught up before we can launch into the day’s challenges or accomplishments. But we’ve only shared 25 years together. Naturally, we know about each other’s lives BM (before marriage), but it’s not like we’ve been BFFs (please read that with the appropriate slang, Valley-girl inflection and facial expression😊).
As my years progress I’ve come to accept that there will never be a BFF who has shared all of life with me. That deep longing I have for being completely known and accepted and loved unconditionally will never be met in a person…only in Jesus.
…but there is a friend who sticks closer than a [sister]. Proverbs 18:24b
Can I encourage you to read the prayer below as your own, out loud? Listen to yourself and believe it.
Lord, you are the only one that truly, deeply, intimately knows me and honestly loves me unconditionally. You knew me before I was formed in my mother’s womb. You knew the choices I was going to make before I made them. You know the hurts and joys of my life, yesterday, today and tomorrow. You are always available for me, you never put me on hold or make an empty promise to “get together soon.” You’re a great time-manager and willing to help if asked. And you’ve got the best advice…you know the beginning from the end, every person’s motives and actions. You are sovereign, in control of the entire universe! You created me to be just who I am now, but you’re also working on the “best me” that you had in mind. You’ve got a plan and a purpose for me, no matter where I am in life’s journey; and you promise to never leave me or love me any less, no matter what I do or think or say. When I make a mistake or I’m selfish or I really mess up and hurt you or others, you gently show me truth and love me through it. Lord you aren’t going to hurt me, ever. You are always good, you always have my best in mind and I can trust you completely, every single day. I can overcome yesterday, deal with today, and face tomorrow with You. Amen.