Questionable friendships

People sometimes look at me strange when I talk about taking notes in church.  Well, I do.  For me, it’s a way to pay attention and keep my mind from wandering during the 30-40 minutes that I have to sit still.  Plus it gives me something to reference and look back on.  Sometimes I take tons of notes, sometimes it’s only half a steno pad page.  Depends on who, what, etc.

This past Sunday was a big note taking day.  And for the first time I also pulled out a pen and wrote down questions as I went along.  I always have questions, I think they are healthy.  But this time I had a LOT of questions during the sermon, and I’m curious to know what others might think about it. 

I’ve written before about one of my favorite lessons by Dave Edwards called “Divorcing Your Friends”.  It’s not a topic I like, exactly, but one I have listened to regularly to reinforce the fact that God should be central, and sometimes your friends may not have your best interest at heart or be beneficial to your own well being.  The sermon on Sunday made me think of this one by Edwards.  Pastor S was speaking, continuing in our series on the Psalms.  He had a three point sermon–stay together, stay low, stay focused.  I had no problem with point #1.  After that, well, let’s just say that the notes were almost outnumbered by the questions.  I’ve thought about this sermon for a day and a half now, and finally emailed Pastor S to see what his answers would be.  Here are the  notes (in black) and questions (in lime) that I had:

‘stay low’
Philippians 2: we must have the same attitude as Christ, an attitude that will serve others first.
Not that this isn’t a basic truth, but doesn’t this lead to always being ‘the giver’ in a relationship?  Burn out from being the one that always has to be the one that sacrifices while someone else takes?
If you make your friendships about your friends instead of about you, you will always have strong friendships.  This leads to friends that will do the same for you in return, and to strong relationships.
When do we get to this point?  I feel like there are many friendships where I am having the life drained out of me from the demand to give constantly.  How do we get to this point without having to go through the pain and heartbreak that seems to inevitably accompany the friendships that never seem to move beyond the ‘I give/you take’ stage?
We have the kinds of friends that we are.  If we are the givers, then our friendships will become a mutual, symbiotic relationship.
Does this mean that instead of being the Christian woman I try to be and like to think that I am, I am in fact a selfish, greedy pig who is delusional in what defines friendship, what defines a relationship?  Does this mean that I am as much of a soul-sucking life force to others as I feel like they can be to me?  How is it that I feel like some of my friendships are ‘normal’, and it’s often the ones that I care about the most or the ones that I have over the years considered to be my closest friends that seem to be the ones that I can’t handle and have to sacrifice for my own well-being and self-preservation?  Does this mean that I have a lack of discernment in choosing my friends?
Yes, there will be heartbreak and pain, but surviving relationships means surviving the pain.
Okay, well that answers part of the other question, but how much pain are we expected to bear before we turn the corner and get to a point where the friendship is something that is meant to be honoured and of God rather than something that is all work and no enjoyment or benefit?
‘Stay focused’
Psalm 33 reinforces that God will overwhelm us with who He is.  We have to stay focused on who He is.  33:22 say sour hope is in you (Lord) alone.  We need to set aside our own agendas and to let the Lord’s agenda be the one we follow.
Despite it’s difficulties in remembering this in the difficult moment-to-moment, I know this to be true.  I just need to remember it!!
There you have it.  Your thoughts?
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