After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them.
Imperative for my emotional health is a company of friends. These are people I turn to when I’m having a difficult day, need advice, need someone to listen or help problem solve.
I have friends from various life stages. I have friends from childhood, college, various work positions, different churches I have served and ones through professional relationships. There are also friends of friends who have become my friends.
Not all friends are equal. This is just the way it is. There are those I talk to consistently, those I share with several times a year, those who I send and receive Christmas cards from and those who I may not see for years. Technology has changed how people keep in touch with each other. As wonderful as it is, generations are losing the joy of receiving a hand-written letter or card in the mail.
I need a wide variety of friends to support me in different ways. When I am challenged as a pastor, I turn to one of my pastor friends. When family things need perspective, I consult with a different friend. When relating to Rick’s kids and our grandkids, I talk to someone who has already gone through this stage of life.
My relationship with husband Rick is in a separate category. Before we were married, we made a commitment that the relationship between us would always be the most important relationship, after our personal relationships with God. I think this is extremely important. I need to know my husband values me. When our families see our marriage relationship as the second most important relationship in our lives, we model our value and importance of marriage.
Jesus gives us a sound model for friends. He specifically chose a wide variety of friends for his inner circle of 12. This group included Judas, who betrayed Jesus. Within this group, Peter, James and John were even closer to Jesus, indicated when Jesus chooses them to witness the transfiguration. If we ever get irritated with our closest friends, do not forget Peter denied knowing Jesus.
Years ago, I took a seminary class called, “Redeeming the Routines.” We were to examine all areas of our lives, set priorities and goals. One day, the professor shared how he did not have much time for relationships. He decided to invest less into friendships to create time for other priorities. This made me terribly sad. I believe in a Triune God who values relationships as part of the Trinity. I cannot maintain every friendship at the same level. But I do not want to deal with life situations by myself.
My goal is not to have the most Facebook friends. My goal is to have meaningful friendships with people in that when we do have contact, it is significant. I am tickled pink when I have contact with someone who I have not seen for a long time and it was as if I just saw them last week. I’m OK with this. I also pray that I can be emotional support for others, as they have been for me.
Lord God – thank you for the many special people you have brought into my life. I value friendships and deeply appreciate the emotional support they provide me. I pray I can be emotional support for those who need it. For those who lack and desire meaningful friendships, please bring someone into their live. Amen.
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