What does a great friend in a woman look like? Who is that female friend who is worth fighting for?
How has God defined the woman? Who is that woman worth fighting for? What does it mean to be feminine? In the last weeks we have been looking at the attributes of femininity: Queen, Homemaker and Partner.
Today we look at BFF: FRIENDS FOR THE JOURNEY!
We were created for relationships. Life is hard; no one should have to walk alone. We need to walk with others in the journey of femininity. True friends. Male and female, friendships are quite different. Women are definitely more relational than men. They have words to spare, are more emotionally intelligent and expressive; they have an attractive, caring spirit that is crucial in relationship.
If you put 10 women and 10 men together in two separate rooms for a week, what is likely to happen in the two camps?
- They will mainly talk about politics, sports, finances and cars
- They will get to know what each other does, drives and probably where they live but not much more
- They will probably pick a project to do together
- They will talk about family, boyfriends, friends, recipes and work
- They will get down to heart issues pretty fast – fears, hurts, broken relationships, etc
- Some cat-fights may arise, and get pretty personal (around who left the bathroom seat up or who took someone’s toothpaste); call it drama
- Cliques will emerge, with powerful leaders and some turf wars (Queen Bee or Alpha Diva leading)
It has been said that women are each other’s enemy. In politics, many women would rather support a man than another woman. Women size each other up, tear each down with their eyes, fight a lot through gossip and slander, and struggle more with emotional hurts than men.
How can a woman build lasting friendships?
Women have the words, the relational emotional capacity and the band-with for relationships. Yet it is in this strength that the enemy tempts a woman.
Eve used words and the appeal of emotion to get Adam. Hagar and Sarah, married in the same home (Abraham’s), had it rough with each other until God had to intervene. Sarah, the woman of faith, could not stand the handmaid who she had given to Abraham for a son. She kicked her out to the desert with her son.
There may not be many examples in the Bible of women who were great friends, but women are called to be and to have good friends.
Today we look at the qualities the woman as a friend.
In this story, 3 qualities stand out! A friend is real – authentic; says the truth and is never working behind your back to gossip, backbite, sabotage or destroy. What you see is what you get. She can be trusted. No masks! Naomi and Ruth were real to each other. They had been through a lot and they could talk to each other openly. Naomi warned Ruth that she might not get a husband if she comes along. That a better option was to go home to her mother. They had a real conversation right there.
A true friend shares her life openly: her fears, her hopes, her expectations and her wishes. Walls have come down and there is nothing too private. But to be real and vulnerable is not easy.
K. Dena: Let me share what may help in this quest.
- Establish Rules of Engagement – From the start or as you go. Clarify boundaries, talk about expectations, and openly share one’s limits. Agree on some guidelines in dealing with different issues.
- Enhance Safety – Provide safe, trusting environment for each other. Give each other meddling rights. Tell the truth in love. Establish confidentiality.
A great friend is authentic, and secondly, dedicated – makes time, adds value, meets needs, encourages, helps and generally serves another no matter what.
That is what we see in Ruth. She is given to the relationship and she is willing to pay a high cost and risk a lot for it. She ‘clung to her’ the Bible tells us (v 14). She said, ‘Where you go I will go …’ She was not easily influenced by Orpah to turn away; she stuck to her friend. She was fully dedicated to this relationship.
She came with Naomi because she knew she was needed. She selflessly served the needs of a broken-hearted woman. She was dedicated to this relationship beyond personal gains. They must have had some conflicts, but the dedication was to go past every conflict, challenge and hurt.
Do you really want a friend? You may not, but you need one. Once you decide, dedicate.
S. Mbevi: Dedication, what does this in your opinion look like?
K. Dena: Dedication calls for:
- Resolve – more than feelings, a will to be and relate to a friend
- Faith – God brings people together. He can solve any problem. He knows what tomorrow will bring. I believe faith in Naomi’s faith kept Ruth engaged.
A great friend is authentic and dedicated. There is a third quality: A friend is loving – easy to relate to, good-hearted, relational, fun to hang out with, affectionate and committed to another’s welfare (goodwill).
Are you friendly? Attractive? Easily approachable? Patient? What friendship legacy will you leave behind? Are you lovely and loving as a mother, sister, boss, team-member, usher, teacher and friend? How can one become more friendly or loving?
- Deal with the Past – hurts, pain, etc. Let it go.
- Change Your Attitude – Whatever your personality, ask God to help you love people. There is lots of good in every person.
A great friend is authentic, dedicated and loving.
You may feel like the burden of friendship is too heavy. Some ladies even brag that they hang out with guys – they are easier to deal with. You may avoid the drama of friendship, but you will never truly get to maturity as a lady without female friendships. Friends bring out the best and the worst in you.
The benefits of having a great friend:
- Companionship – Ruth and Naomi were there for each other through thick and thin, sadness and joy, marriage and singleness. Two can lift each other up, keep warm and strengthen each other. There is security in friendship.
- Opportunities – Naomi introduced Ruth to Boaz, and Naomi became a mother-in-law to a good man. Ruth eventually became the great grandma of Jesus. Talk of friendship with benefits. From Ecclesiastes, friends get more accomplished together.
Every woman would want a friend like Ruth. In friendship, you have to be the friend you are looking for.
Are you real, authentic?
Some of us struggle with this. Our trust has been betrayed before. We have been hurt so we have learned to protect our hearts. We only allow someone in after they have proved themselves over and over again.
We can bring all that to Jesus. He was betrayed by his friend, denied by his closest and crucified by the people he came to serve. He understands you and would want to heal you.
Are you dedicated to be a friend?
How could you create time to focus on 2 or 3 friends and drill deep together? It is easy to have general sunshine friends who disappear during winter. Who will you invest in?
Are you loving?
Maybe you find yourself abrasive, unpleasant, unable to sustain a friendship, a snob, difficult to deal with, irritable, nagging and so on. What did that come from? Is it inherited from your mum or grandma? Was it acquired early in life? Is it out of a dysfunctional home?
Bring it to Jesus. He says: Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. He heals and gives rest.
As a woman, do you have toxic friends who are negatively influencing you that you need to drop? Or have you become a toxic friend yourself? What is God asking you to do with this message?
Men, as a boss, how could you make it easier for the women in your team to relate well with others? Do you respectfully affirm or correct those around you as to how they relate with others?
We should of course not take advantage of the pleasant women or the damsel in distress. May we be honorable men around the women in our lives and field of influence.