Do you have that one safe friend?
I have lots of friends, good friends, but there was a time in my life when I didn’t have one particular person who was committed to the role of being that one safe friend. Why? FEAR. The fear that I wouldn’t measure up, fear of not fitting in, fear that I would disappoint…and biggest of all, fear of being hurt.
Fear pushes us around.
That period of my life feels like a lifetime ago and yet I still need to remain alert to fear attempting to shake my faith and push me towards isolating myself from others. Can you relate? I’ve come to the conclusion that I need, we need—no matter our status in life—someone whom we can trust enough to be transparent, authentic, and vulnerable. Someone who will reach out to us consistently, who will encourage us, comfort us, laugh with us, and weep with us (Rom.12:10, Eph.4:32, 1 Thess.5:11).
It’s not that there won’t be several people who could do this for you, but without someone specific to take on that responsibility, you may find yourself in a crowded room, with no one. Being that one safe friend doesn’t take an unusual skill set, nor is it someone who has all the answers. It does need to be someone who is a good listener, someone who is caring and empathetic, and someone who understands you and understands the core challenges of life, regardless of the setting (2 Cor.1:4). It’s not an unusual skill set, but neither is it common to everyone.
Love leads gently on.
Don’t assume that people will come knocking at your door to be that one special friend…maybe because they doubt your need or their ability to fill that role. So if you’re looking, what should you look for? What should you expect from that friend? Here are some suggestions:
- That one safe friend will be safe (obvious, huh?) and contact you regularly. You will be able to tell your friend the candid, unfiltered truth. This happens through consistent contact, not in a passing Sunday morning “How are you?’” Your friend will not share with others your private conversations without your permission, unless there are special circumstances that involve danger to yourself or others. Choose someone who you know is good at keeping confidences.
- That friend will ask questions, lots of questions, starting with “How are you?” and going much further and deeper. The questions will be based on a firm understanding of who you are. Of course your relationship will go both ways, and you will invest in your friend’s life as well.
- That friend will pray for you and with you…OFTEN…and consistently direct you to God’s Word. Your friend will know your heart and seek to not give you his or her opinion, but point you to the Word to experience God’s power, promises, and provisions. Your friend will make it a habit to carry you to God in prayer, voicing your needs and concerns.
There are many examples of “that special friend” in the Bible: Ruth and Naomi, David and Jonathan, Paul and Timothy, to name a few. However, the only perfect and greatest friend of believers, who promises to never leave or forsake us, is Jesus Christ. What a friend we have in Jesus!