We all want to have healthy, life-giving friendships (well, at least I hope that’s the aim for most of you!).
But sometimes things can get in the way of building those great relationships, and it takes a truck load of honesty to actually pause and take responsibility for the attitudes that are damaging the way we view and connect with our friends.
So, here I am, taking responsibility for something which on the surface is not visible, and perhaps at this stage, not all that destructive. But if left to its own devices, could become a much bigger issue.
Yup, the J word. No one wants to talk about it. We all want to appear completely secure. No one wants to admit to comparing their job, finances or relationships to other peoples. Yet I’m almost certain that if we humbled ourselves, we’d discover that we all do this.
There are seasons when we have to be super vigilant for this kind of thinking and that’s when we are praying and believing for breakthrough in a specific area of our lives… and then it suddenly seems that all around us God is providing breakthrough in that very area for everyone apart from us.
When we’re struggling financially it begins to feel like everyone is jetting off on fancy holidays.
When we’re down about our job, it seems everyone else is motivated and skipping along to the office every morning in excitement.
This kind of thinking breeds jealousy and dissatisfaction within us… and if left unattended it can be a weed that grows into bitterness which can eventually destroy our friendships altogether.
So how do we truly celebrate our friends getting their breakthrough before we see ours?
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM LIES
There are a few lies to really guard your heart from in seasons like this. We might end up thinking that God simply loves our friend more than us, or that they earned that provision somehow. That is NOT the gospel.
Another lie that we might fall into is that God has simply forgotten about our need, or that He’s stopped listening to our prayers. Again, NOT true.
The best way to protect yourself from these lies?
Read it. Memorise it. Reflect on it. Bury it deep in your heart. It’s a weapon against destructive lies and we have the freedom to use it.
Here’s a verse that I’ve found particularly relevant in my waiting seasons…
27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” (Luke 12:27)
PRAY WITH THEM…THEN PRAISE WITH THEM
I want to love my friends so much that I’m praying with them for their breakthrough just as much as I’m praying for my own. So when my friend is crying out and asking for provision for finances… and then gets it, I want to be stood next to them praising God regardless of what my own bank account looks like.
We’re called to live in community. Community can be challenging, painful even. But it also presents opportunities to celebrate in one another’s victories and learn how to be authentically happy for one another and I believe that is God’s vision for our friendships.
WANT GOD’S TIMING MORE THAN YOUR OWN
‘ok, I’m ready for my promise now. I’ve studied your Word, I’ve learned a few lessons, I’ve grown a bit. Now I’m ready to see breakthrough’.
How easy would life be if that was the case!
But I’m so thankful it doesn’t work like that, because I believe God’s timing is better than mine. Even though it can be a difficult thing to wrestle with sometimes, especially when it doesn’t align with our plans or what we think is best.
The best way to trust in His timing?
Understand God’s character.
If we understand the author, we don’t need to know the whole story. If we fully understand His faithfulness, we won’t need to worry about whether He’ll come through or not in the end, we can just rest and know that He will. If we fully understand His sovereignty we won’t need to sit and fret about whether He’s in control, because we can rest and know that He is.
If you’re in a difficult season of praying for breakthrough and feeling stuck in your job, finances, ministry or relationships (or potentially several of those all at once), I want you to know that I’m with you. It’s tough. But in the long run protecting our friendships is so important and the best way to do that is to call out any jealousy in our hearts and destroy it before it has a chance to breed lies.
Love you all.
How can I pray for you?