Is this promise enough? Do I believe that Jesus will never fail me? Do I believe He will never abandon me? If I do believe this, then is it enough for me? If each of my friends and family members were to fail and abandon me, then would Jesus be enough?
Today, I was driving to church and this sudden conviction overwhelmed me. I have grown up in the church. I have faced what feels like more than my fair share of hardships. I have had family fail me. I have had friends abandon me. Through it all, God has never failed me; He has never abandoned me. I know and believe with my whole heart that He will never fail nor abandon me. Is that knowledge and belief enough though? A little over a year ago, God convicted me in a similar way about His presence versus my best friend’s presence. Today, it’s time to compare a different pair feelings about my best friend to the same feelings about God.
I have an often unspoken fear that my friends and family will fail me, then abandon me. I have this fear even for my best friend. She has never said or done anything to make me believe she would ever abandon me and I have yet to see her fail me. Yet, I have this irrational fear that she and everyone else will fail and abandon me. Why? I’m starting to realize that this fear comes from my parents and two childhood friends.
When I was growing up, my parents had a beyond toxic marriage that ended in divorce when I was twenty. During my school-aged years, I had two close friends. The younger was my best friend and the older, her big sister, was my honorary big sister. During and after high school, one thing led to another and my best friendship failed and we went separate ways. Her big sister, for whatever reason, completely abandoned me. She had always promised to always be there for me. Then, she unfriended me on Facebook. Now, she acts nice enough, but is closed off on the rare occasion when we’re together.
In the past few weeks, I’ve realized that I have an unhealthy desire for marriage. I desire all the right things, but for all the wrong reasons. I want a loving and godly marriage that represents 1 Corinthians 13 and Ephesians 5 as God wants it to. That is right and healthy. I desire it because my parents’ marriage was the exact opposite of a 1 Corinthians 13 and Ephesians 5 marriage. That is wrong and unhealthy.
I’ve also recently realized that my fears and expectations for my friends, especially my best friend, are unfair. Because my longest and oldest friendship failed, I fear that all my friendships will fail. Because my honorary big sister and role model of over ten years abandoned me, I expect all those I admire to abandon me. This fear is especially true for my current best friend, as she took the role of my best friend and honorary big sister. My fears and expectations for her are incredibly unfair.
My fear is that she will fail me and then abandon me. My expectation is that she will never fail me nor abandon me. She isn’t my former best friend or big sister. It’s not fair to fear that her friendship will fail me the way my first friendship did. It’s not fair to fear that she will abandon me the way my first big sister did. It’s also not fair to expect her never to fail. She isn’t God. While it’s possible she will never abandon me, God is the only One who will never fail me.
So, what now? What do I do now that I’ve realized the reason I desire to get married is unhealthy? What do I do now that I’ve realized my fears and expectations for my best friend, and all friends really, are unfair?
First, my relationship with God must be enough to redeem the broken image of love and marriage my parents showed me.
When I turned eighteen, I wrote a letter to God, and myself, that I call a Prayer Contract. It was a commitment to grow in my self-confidence and, more importantly, in my God-fidence. It was a commitment to find contentment and joy in my singleness. When I turned 23, I followed up on that Prayer Contract, reevaluated where I was then, and wrote a new Prayer Contract. Today, I’ve written a new Prayer Contract. This time, it isn’t just a pen to paper. This time, it is a worship song pouring my heart out to Him and letting Him know that He is enough.
Second, I have to remember that the Giver is always more important than the gift.
Almost ten years ago, my family gave me the best material gift I’ve ever received. I was somewhere between the ages of fourteen and sixteen and had wanted a guitar for years. That Christmas, I finally got one. It was the best moment of my life and I can still feel the smile on my face. Even in the five or so years that I kept it hidden away and never played it, it was my most prized possession.
Now, that I’m older, I know it was a cheap guitar with little monetary value that I can buy on the Target website for only $50. I knew it couldn’t have been worth much. I didn’t even know how to play guitar, it made no sense to spend a lot of money on a beginner’s guitar. Even still, it was the most valuable material item in my life. I now play a guitar worth more than $200 and no longer have my first guitar, but that first guitar still holds more value in my heart than the one I play now. Why? Because I loved, and still love, the givers more than the gift.
What is the best gift you’ve ever received? (My salvation received from the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the obvious answer. So, below that.) For years, I would have said my first guitar. Five years ago, my answer changed. I started going to Compass Church SA and God gave me the three greatest friends I’ve ever had. Now, though not a material gift, they are the greatest gift I’ve ever received, because God gave them to me when I was in desperate need of someone to love and accept me.
If a cheap gift like my first guitar could mean so much to me and the givers could mean so much more, then the same must be true now. If the greatest gift I’ve ever received is my best friends, then the Giver must be even more important to me. Surely, three women of God are far more important and valuable than a cheap guitar. Therefore, the Giver of those girls must be more important and valuable than the givers of that guitar.
Finally, I must apologize to my friends for unfair fears and expectations and set them free. For, if they love me, then they will never abandon me.
It’s a cliche quote that we all use, because it’s true and dogs are a man’s best friend, because friends and dogs are very similar. My unfair fears and expectations for my friends, most unfair for my best friend, are like chaining a dog to a tree. If I chain them too tight, then they’ll suffocate. Then, the second I let them loose, they’ll take off. If I let them free, and they’re my true friends, then they’ll never abandon me. They may leave me alone sometimes, which is fine, but they will never abandon me.
So, here’s my new prayer contract. If my relationship with God is not enough to redeem my hope for true love, then may I always be single. If God does not mean more to me than my friends, then may He allow them to abandon me. If I do not release my friends from unfair fears and expectations, then may our friendship fail. These must be my heart’s greatest desires–for God and His love to be enough and for me to trust Him and my friends.