Tag Archives: Friendship

What in the World is a ‘Faithful Wound’?

28 Jul

I feel like I need a paraphrase of Proverbs 17:17 today.

“A friend loves at all times, and a sister is born for the days when you are craving every unhealthy food in history!”

I joke that I don’t need a personal trainer (OK, maybe I do), but I just need someone who loves me who will shadow me and slap every unhealthy food out of my hand.*

My husband jokes, “I’M not going to be that friend. I know better!”

I laugh, but that would be love, right?

Actually, that kind of friend really does love you. (And my husband has challenged my choices from time to time.)

Good, loving friends really do speak the truth and challenge you to confront the lies you’re believing, or the rabbit trails you’re chasing, or the foolishness you’re letting reign in your heart and life.

God-honoring friends encourage you to be wise and not indulge in anything that will harm you or prevent you from becoming the person God created you to be. They are wise counselors and we can trust their advice.

“The righteous is a guide to his neighbor.”

A good friend might “wound”* us with their advice, but they don’t wound us to hurt us.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend [who corrects out of love and concern]….” (Prov. 27:6a AMP)

Faithful wounds.

The kind of wounds that come because a friend simply wants what is best for us and wants God to heal us of any sinful and harmful behaviors and addictions. 

It’s like the pain of setting a bone that’s out of joint. Sometimes there has to be some pain before we can heal.

There are times a friend will wisely overlook something in our lives, and that is grace in action.

But there are other times friends will lovingly confront us. And that is also grace in action. 

A true friendship is never threatened by disagreement or even misunderstanding that might come in times of loving confrontation. That kind of friend knows there is some accountability involved in a true, loving friendship.

Do you have a friend who is willing to love you enough to challenge you when you wander off the path of righteousness or are about to make a foolish choice?

If so, praise God for that friend. You desperately need her!

– Dawn

* Note: I’m not talking about any kind of abuse here. Just the “love-tap” of friendship’s wounds … much like the way we tap a baby’s hand and shout “NO” when the baby reaches for something that will cause harm.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of silviarita-Pixabay

5 People Who Need Your Quality Time

21 Oct

How do you create quality time?

Comedian Groucho Marx once said, “I find television very educating.” Why?

“Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book!”

I’m LOL-ing at the remark, but also the word “set.” (Can you tell what decades Marx lived in?)

But Marx brought up an important concept. How we use our time is important. We want to choose wisely. We want Quality Time.

Today as I thought about the people in my life, I accessed just how much quality time they’re getting from me. Have you ever done that?

I discovered five areas in my own life (you may find more), and I am sharing some books that I’ve found helpful. Perhaps you’d like to share resources that help you with quality time. (I do not get any compensation for mentioning them.)

1. Quality Time with God[Note: More accurately, God doesn’t need your time, but He loves you and desires your time.] You’re either smiling or cringing right now, depending on how much time you’re spending with God and whether that time is “quality.” Some women don’t spend much time with the Lord at all. Others spend time and make moments (hours?) together  times of powerful  intimacy and study. Most of us are somewhere in between.

God convicted me of this last year, and I made some radical changes to spend more time with God. The enemy conspires to steal our time away from the Father, so we need to be proactive and schedule time, if necessary. The more we spend time with God, the more it will be times of delight rather than duty. Some powerful books in this area are Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s books, The Quiet Place, A Place of Quiet Rest, and a study she wrote with Tim Grissom, Seeking Him, a book designed for personal revival.

2. Quality Time with Your Husband (if you’re married) – In the busyness of life, we sometimes forget how special our marriage relationship is (or can be). I have many, MANY marriage books on my shelves, including a number by Bill and Pam Farrel  (including A Couple’s Journey with God; Men are Like Waffles, Women are Like Spaghetti; Marriage in the Whirlwind;  Red Hot Monogamy; and 52 Ways to Wow Your Husband ~ all available at love-wise.com).

In Marriage in the Whirlwind, the Farrels describe the whirlwinds that come into marriage and how to survive these stressful tornadoes. They say, “Many times it seems couples long to cry out, ‘Stop the world ~ I want to get off!'” They talk about how unexpected circumstances, the busyness of technology and life just moving too fast, emotional storms, financial struggles and other whirlwinds can destroy a marriage if a couple isn’t wise about using their relationship in positive ways. Quality time together can help to combat stresses.

Quality time in marriage includes listening, simplifying the calendar to make time for each other, setting goals together and taking time to build physical intimacy. [Besides the Farrels’ books, which are meant for men and women, I also recommend Kathi Lipp’s The Husband Project and Arlene Pellicane’s 31 Days to a Happy Husband to women.]

3. Quality Time with Your Child (or children) if you have them (or Grandchildren) – One of the statements that always bothered me is that children need quality time, not quantity time. Nothing could be further from the truth. Children need both! They need to be near their parents in order to feel loved and learn from them. But quality time is certainly important.

First there are the simple things: cooking and baking together, planting seeds, enjoying art and music, sharing the how-to’s of life, and helping them see how things work. More important ~ seeing how LIFE works with wisdom principles from scripture.

Then there are times of more focused teaching. One of my recent joys is sharing A Girl after God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George with my oldest granddaughter. A book I wish I’d had when raising my sons is Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson, which is all about “Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus. For busy moms who wonder how they can be more proactive in pointing quality time toward spiritual truth, I highly recommend Carrie Ward’s book, Together: Growing Appetites for God.

4. Quality Time with FriendsI tell women that no one friend (except Jesus) can be all for us. We need a variety of friends who encourage, challenge, teach, and help us. We need some friends to kick back and LOL with.

One of my biggest regrets is that I waited so long to build friendships. They don’t just happen. It’s rare that God just drops a friend into our laps. The Bible says that is we want friends, we need to show ourselves to be friendly). That takes planning. It takes time. We need to listen when we’re together and not just talk about ourselves.

This is my weak area and I’m working on it. I go on Friendship lunch dates (and need to plan some Friendship activity dates to help me get some of the lunch dates pounds off! LOL!) I’m writing a book on friendship based on some of the things God is teaching me. (Do you have some good Christian books on friendship to recommend to me and others?)

5. Quality Time with YourselfThis may seem like a strange one, but the Bible says we are to love others as we love ourselves (Mark 12:31), so this presupposes we are properly loving ourselves. Kathi Lipp has a helpful book titled The Me Project: 21 Days to Living the Life You’ve Always Wanted

When it comes to quality time with ourselves, we can be more proactive when choosing our activities ~ either (1) doing things that build/improve our lives, (2) leave us pretty much the same, or (3) tear down/hurt us in some ways. (When I speak to women, I call these Climbing, Coasting, and Collapsing choices.)

Pursue Climbing choices; they’ll always be the best. As you plan time for yourself, think of things you can do that will challenge you mentally, physically, and spiritually. Do things that energize you, encourage growth, build your confidence and please the Lord. These are things you won’t regret, things that make you feel better about your life and, at the same time, bring glory to God.

These are choices like reading a good book, listening to music that blesses, enjoying a sport you love … anything that inspires you. For stories that are inspiring and missional, I recommend any of Kathi Macias’ books.

To find more time to pursue Quality Time relationships with yourself (and everyone), check out Marcia Ramsland’s books about simplifying your time and organizing your life at organizingpro.com. Choose Climbing choices that build all of your relationships!

Reserve the Coasting choices (those you might make when you really don’t feel like making any choices!) for those days when you want to relax and unwind. These are happy choices that may make you feel good and won’t tire you out, but they really aren’t designed to move you forward, either. A massage would fall into this category, or reading a good mystery novel, or spending some time on Pinterest. These are things that are easy to do. (But beware – too many Coasting choices and you’ll begin to waste time.)

Avoid Collapsing choices (negative, destructive, or hurtful options) like the flu! Collapsing choices may seem good at the time, but they don’t build us up. This would include watching bad television, pigging out at a buffet, or anything that prevents you from being your best. Basically, it’s doing anything you’ll regret or be ashamed of later.

So … what category needs some improvement?

Where are you not spending enough Quality Time? What can you do TODAY to change that? Can you think of others who might need your Quality Time?I’d love to hear about ways that you spend Quality Time in any of these areas, as well as any resources you would recommend.

– Dawn

How to Live a ‘Golden Rule Lifestyle’

26 Aug

Three young boys keep my young friend Deedra Lindsey Sherm busy these days. I had to laugh at this exchange she shared on Facebook:

Son #1: “Mom! He hit me!”

Deedra to Son #2: “Son, did you hit your brother?”

Son #2: “Yes, but he hit me, so …uh …you know … the Golden Rule!”

LOL, right?

Obviously, Son #2 didn’t have a clue about the true meaning of the Golden Rule. The biblical maxim is, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matthew 7:12). In other words, we are to treat others as we want them to treat us. Son #2 would re-write that to read, “Do unto others BECAUSE they just did to you!”

The same Golden Rule concept is found in the Old Testament in Leviticus 19:18 ~ “…you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Other than the obvious fact that this will make our “neighbors” (or anyone we have contact with) enjoy greater blessings, it also does something for us. We feel better about how we relate to others; we feel happier and we know we are pleasing God. When we are generous in our interactions with people, God blesses us in unexpected ways (see Proverbs 11:25).

So what are some practical ways we can live out the royal rule in relationships ~ the Golden Rule? Here are eight simple ways:

(1) Think and reflect. Take time to consider how you’d want to be treated. Use your imagination. Create some scenarios and think, “How would I want someone to respond? What would I want someone to do or say?”

(2) Ask God for a sensitive heart. Try to understand, as best you can, what a person’s need is or why he or she behaves in a certain way. Walk a mile in a person’s moccasins (or Jimmy Choo heels) so you can empathize. Let a Golden Rule lifestyle begin with you! Pray for opportunities to bless others.

(3) Act with kindness and compassion (see Ephesians 4:32). Have you ever noticed that once you “get” the suffering or circumstances of others, you are drawn to help them or at least pray for them? Rather than practicing random acts of kindness, be proactive. Ask, “What can I do, if anything, to relieve this person’s pain or struggle?” When God speaks, follow through.

(4) Open your ears before you speak. It’s so easy to give advice before we have the whole story (Proverbs 18:13); and sometimes all a person needs is a caring person who will listen. Understanding comes through listening, not talking. Consider how you would want to be heard, and respect others enough to give them the same courtesy.

(5) Be a helper and healer. It’s so easy to get tunnel vision ~ to only see our own needs. Once our eyes are open to needs and struggles, it’s a sign of great personal strength to be helpful in practical ways, or even to find ways to bind up (bandage) a person’s heart. (I recognize that sometimes, only Jesus can help and heal; but maybe you can remind a person that a loving God has all the power and help they will ever need. You may need to introduce them to Him.)

(6) Be a true friend. Be careful and respect others’ boundaries, but ask God to help you reach out in friendship in a meaningful way. Open your heart and arms and welcome people into your life. Let them know you care and want to be with them.

(7) See the individual, not your differences. Think of the story of the Good Samaritan ~ the man who reached out to care for the desperate victim saw him as a man, not through the lens of prejudice. Think about any prejudices you might have that would prevent you from practicing The Golden Rule:  age differences? skin color or nationality? gender? appearances? Ask God to help you see people the way He sees them. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Everyone has needs. Be humble and Christ-like, looking out for the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-7).

(8) Sometimes, turn the other cheek (see Luke 6:27-31). Some people are just plain mean and uncaring. But that doesn’t mean we retaliate or “pay them back” for their bad treatment. The Golden Rule isn’t an excuse for retaliation when others act extreme; but rather, encouragement to treat others well, regardless of their behavior. We allow others to own their feelings and behaviors, and we rise above circumstances as we put on the character of Christ and respond as He would.

The simple truth is, a Golden Rule Lifestyle will bless us as we bless others. Live it out “as to the Lord” (Ephesians 6:7).

Does someone come to mind that needs to experience the Golden Rule, applied from your life to theirs? How will you respond?

– Dawn

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