Sep 14, 2010

Chapter One: I NEED Friends

Hi Friends, 
both far and near...

Today, we begin with chapter one of Lisa Whelchel's book, Friendship for Grown-ups.  We will forge on together, chapter by chapter into developing and growing friendships.  I am excited to see what and how God works in our hearts and lives; as we open up~ take risks and believe God together.  

I hope you will share each week what impacted you in each chapter (some of us are going back through each chapter, some are reading it for the first time). 

Please share from your notes or as you feel led, as it will not only benefit you, but us as well.  Remember, you are not alone in this- we are  holding hands and stepping together into the river of friendship. Thankfully, we are entering in with much prayer (see yesterday's post if you haven't begun with inviting the Holy Spirit to minister in your life.)

As Lisa begins the book, she shares her past friendships. She touched on gossiping and how it may be used unwisely as a tool for conversation.  She used examples from situations with some of her old acting friends (Lisa was on television for many of her teen years on a show called, The Facts of Life) - how after years of being apart, how quickly they entered back into the immature behavior of talking about someone who wasn't in the room -with a negative connotation about that person.  

Later, God gently reminded Lisa that those women she was talking (gossiping) about were His little girls and that he wanted her to stop talking about them that way.  

How often do we resort to *gossip* because of our own fears and insecurities?

Lisa began to see her identity was tied to performance... 

I think for many of us, we could say the same, I know I can.  I think my doing is who I am, it makes my worth. The more I can do, the better I feel about myself.  Of course this is a lie from the pits of hell, it is not what I do, but *who I am* ~ who God made me to be that truly matters.  Honestly, with 8 children, there are some days that I just don't get much done, honestly there are weeks that not much (or what I would consider to be MUCH) gets done...

so if my worth is set on my doing, well I am setting myself up for misery and failure for sure!

Part of the turn around for Lisa in this stage was only speaking positively about others.  As Christians,we should be manifesting the fruit of the Spirit (basically evidence of Who has taken up residence within us).

Galatians 5:22-23a
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control.

Lisa also shares about becoming a safe who others feel safe with, knowing that they can be themselves with you. I have one friend, who upon meeting me said, she knew I was safe.  I never really knew what she meant by that, I never really asked her, but as I read Lisa's words- it was healing to many hurting places in my heart.  Oh, that we could be safe friends, ones that would be a haven to those who God puts in our lives.  I think one of the areas that I am struggling with is when you have to step out of being a *haven* and when and how to speak the Truth in love.

I struggle especially, as God has given me the gift of Knowledge (sometimes I know things - and I have no idea how I know that, but just that I do.) For me, learning to use the gift of Wisdom - which is basically, the *how to* apply or when to apply the knowledge God has given you.  God needs to bring me out of fear and into a deeper level of Trust in Him, as this is where I now see a large portion of my battle.

There are many life lessons within our past friendship, our current friendships and our future friendships.  What are some of the things this chapter stirred in your heart?  We need to dive in past our heart and into our head, I think or maybe it is the other way around? ;-)

Three things Lisa offers in conclusion of this chapter are...
  1. Our paths will each be different through friendship
  2. God will lead us each personally along the way of friendships
  3. And walking it all out will take longer than we probably think. (sigh)
Coming to the place of realization that we NEED friends (for me this is huge, as part of my defense mechanism is thinking I can just do it myself, and that I don't NEED anyone.) is a great beginning point of our friendship adventure...

...I know it is for me, as I tend to take my broken injured heart and want to isolate myself; thinking that isolation means safety.  Somehow isolation becomes my protector. This is wrong on so many levels, because God made us for relationships (back in Genesis He tells us it is not good for man to be alone-you can apply this to friendship too!) He desires that we encourage each other (hard to do in isolation, eh?) and we are to build each other up in Love (also hard to do when you are more worried about protecting yourself from more pain or hurt.)  I do think some alone time is good, I do love it and crave it at times, but in all reality we NEED each other.  I want deep, real, true friendship and I know you do too~plus He very clearly tells us that He is, our Protector-so we mine as well hand it over to Him right now!

What was on your heart during this chapter of the book?


Anonymous said...

Safe people was the big theme for me in this chapter. Not only being one, but being able to identify one. I made a list of some of the qualities that makes a person safe to me:
1. Adheres to the Golden Rule
2. Loves me
3. Gives grace
4. Does not assume the worst of me
5. Tells the truth in love
6. Allows me to be imperfect
7. Protects me and my heart and the information shared with her.
8. Shows a genuine interest in my well-being and my relationship with God.
9. Is wise and self-aware

I am asking God to show me if I need work in being a safe person.

She also mentions conflict resolution. This is a growth area for me. Coming from a broken home, the adults around me taught me through their actions that it's better to walk away from conflict. I tend to fear conflict and the rejection that can come with it. Being in a deeper relationship with the Father has helped with this because He does not reject me. I LOVE HIM for this!

~Julie S.

Debbie Doughty said...

I was away from home for a few days. Lots of catching up to do here. I'll re-read the chapter asap :)

Rob said...

I find it hard to take negative people to my heart and I find it not only an infectious attitude but also and attitude that brings me down. I think a positive attitude is also infectious but in a way that builds me up. I enjoy rising to meet with a positive person and will make the extra effort to do so. You may think this a bit silly but I saw someone on the TV the other day who I thought had such a lovely attitude that I took it upon myself to try and find a contact address for this person and fortunately I did and so I wrote and told them how much I admired their attitude to life. I think if they had been negative I would probably not have watched them and for sure I wouldn’t have bother going to the trouble of tracking them down.

Gossip is not nice but I find it hard to not get drawn in to it when those around me are doing it.

Well that is some of the things I think.

Anonymous said...


So glad you started this study. I am so excited to follow along.


Roselawn said...

Read the whole book and lent it to a friend, so I don't have it as a reference until I get it back from her...

God is working with me on the gossip piece right now as my workplace is filled with all sorts of drama. It is soooo hard to keep a still tongue when I have strong opinions about something! I feel like I have to stand up for what is right and good, but it is usually at the expense of implying that someone is wrong and bad.

Regarding friends of our past, present, and future... I used to have a hard time accepting the fact that friendships fade, but God has helped me to see that they are oftentimes gifts for the season. I have learned to appreciate and enjoy people while they are in my life and not to expect a lifelong friend everytime... but now I'm realizing that I'm starting to protect myself by not even expecting a close friendship for fear of the loss.

I'm so glad my God is a merciful, steadfast, dependable friend I can always count on! And I pray gives me more friends where He can be at the center of the relationships!

Stace said...

Yes, SAFE PEOPLE was the main thing I got out of the chapter, as well. BEING one and HAVING one. I NEED one. As a pastor's wife, I hesitate to say much for fear that the people around me are not SAFE or might think less of my husband or myself. I don’t THINK it’s a pride thing… people just don’t like the pedestal kicked out from under their pastor or I fear the won’t understand.

Anonymous said...

I don't have the book with me where I'm writing right now and I didn't look at it to think of a comment or anything. But from what I remember of the first chapter, what struck me and stuck to me - lots of stuff struck me throughout the chapter and lots of stuff stuck but one of them was- that she couldn't let down her defensive walls and the therapist told her she needed to have supports in place.
I often find myself surrounded by people that like me but very few people who I think will actually support me and even fewer who I test that with to see if they WILL support me and to what extent. I don't have a best friend and many times I find myself, like you, going back to trying to convince myself that I don't need anyone but myself because its safer.
But its lonely, and it hurts, and I know its not true.
I hope this book will help me discover how to set some supports in place so that I can begin to let down those walls.
~Annie Chase~

Diana said...

Hi Kimmie,

I decided to buy the book and join you in your study. I miss doing bible studies with you.

There were two things that Lisa ministered to me the most on. First, God has been dealing with me on only saying positive things about people or not saying anything at all. If it's not edifying or encouraging, I'm trying not to say it. I found it comforting to see that Lisa's made a conscious effort to change and that the results have been amazing. Second, I've always known I've been performance oriented, but haven't realized the extend to how that flows through my friendships.

Renata said...

Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to when the book comes out over here, but I enjoyed your review (& was challenged as at times I also think I don't need friends).
Have a beautiful day

Sarah said...

The title of the chapter, "I need friends," sums up what I took away from it. I have a tendency to prioritize my "to do" list over people. This chapter was a reminder that not only are people more important, God made us to be in relationships! The concept of "safe person" was new to me. It causes me to wonder whether I am such a person.

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