When Friendship is Hard

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash
I've had all types of friends, I've had friendships where we have been inseparable, I've had long distance best friends, I've had friends that are only half in and I've had friends that take absolutely everything that I can give. I've also gone through different seasons of friends and friendships. Seasons of not knowing how much I needed the friend that I had at the time, seasons of not having any friends, and seasons of friends in abundance.

No matter how many friends you have or what friendship season you are in, it always takes an effort.

I want to encourage you today, if you are a friend that is giving your 100% to a friendship that just doesn't give you anything back, it's ok. Sometimes we are going to have those friendships where you just aren't outwardly recognized as a friend, when your friend doesn't ever give you anything back.

If you're exhausted and tired of putting energy into the friendship, take a step back. You don't have to bleed yourself dry over a friendship - it's not healthy. Even if you don't want to give up on the friendship, you CAN step back. Give yourself a rest. Chances are, your friend has no idea how much effort it is taking you to be their friend, if you take a little breathing space, that's ok. They will still be there when you feel ready to pour out more of yourself to making the friendship work.

At this point, you may be thinking, "Ok, reading this - it TOTALLY doesn't sound like they are a true friend." And you're right, they aren't but sometimes we are called to love people regardless of how they love us. Sometimes we have a calling to befriend a person that simply exhausts every part of us.

And because we are called to it, we can do it. We can love them regardless of how they love us because that is how Jesus loves. And he gives us the power to love like him.

This is where we need to look at it like this, this friendship - this person that you love wildly, no matter how tiresome it is and draining - is a ministry of Christ's love to them. You might never know the impact that you are making on someone's life, ever, but in the meantime, just keep loving and serving and caring for this person in radical ways just like Jesus loves you.

No, it's not always as simple as that and on days that you are at your weakest and your most exhausted it feels the worst to see how well they are doing. Or to think about how much you need at that time and how much you are NOT getting from someone that you feel like you have poured your heart and soul into.

Remember this though, Jesus poured out his physical blood to draw you to him and if you're anything like me, it's so easy to forget about talking to him on a regular basis. It's easy to just go to him during convenience and forget to pour into your relationship as he does you.

I can't help but think of Hosea and what God called him to do.

When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.” So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.
The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”

So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley. Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will behave the same way toward you.”

For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or household gods.  Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the Lord and to his blessings in the last days.

Hosea Chapter 1:1-3 & Chapter 3

Maybe God calls all of us to love someone that doesn't actively love us back. I know that I have had several people pass through my life that I felt I poured my heart and soul into giving relationship to and have gotten nothing in return. I came to a point where I finally just have to take a step back, rest a while and throw myself right back into loving them rather than removing them from my life completely. I have to build up a thicker skin, I have to absorb the hurts rather than allow myself hurt. I have to look past it to Jesus and remember that regardless of how much I pour out, He refills me, He will care for me, He will honor me no matter how dry I feel that I get during draining friendships, something beautiful will come out on the other side.

I just love the picture of Hosea and his wife. If you have read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers then I'm sure you have the same romantic picture of his story but really, let's think about his side for a minute since the book is from her side. The pain that he endured through her leaving and regardless, he followed God's instruction to him and
took her back BOUGHT her back. He married her, took her into his home and when she left, he paid a price to take her back again.

When you have a friend draining you, find rejuvenation in Jesus if you are called to continue loving and friending that person. If you find yourself in a place in life where you just don't have the energy or capacity to radically love someone else - it's ok, don't write them off, just take a step back, don't pour yourself out as much. Maybe send a text to check in and let them know you're thinking of them, but take care of yourself and give yourself the space that you need. Remember that anything you pour out of yourself, Jesus will restore when you are actively pursuing Him.

Find your rest in him, find your assurance in him, let him refresh you and follow his leading.

You can do it! <3

1 comment

  1. This was much needed advice and encouragement for me. Those words are a little hard to swallow, but I know they are pointing me to the heart of Christ. Thanks for sharing your wisdom on this tough topic.