I am sensing something very wrong going on in my heart-of-hearts, a very disturbing thing I’ve allowed to creep in and set roots. I probably let it enter in by some other name, cleverly concealed under the disguise of a good motive. Perhaps it even started as a good motive, that was twisted into a corrupt mindset. Anyway, it’s here, and now I have to deal with it. And that is this. I have been living as if people live for me.
“What!” I hear you cry. “The one who blabs about selfless love and self-centeredness actually thinks people live for her?” That’s certainly how I’ve been acting lately.
I think I take friendships too seriously.For the past 5 years, I’ve been hurt and abandoned by even those I once called a “good friend”. I’ve wanted a true friend that won’t abandon me, who will be loyal, true, supportive, and caring. I’ve had a few icky situations happen over the past few years that have been caused by friends, and caused friendships to die. Anyway, if a friend now tells me that they’re there for me, and are willing to talk, I get a little too excited. If a friend hurts me, I grieve. If I see a friend is struggling, I want and try to help them. I’m starting to fear that I’m a little too deep that way. If I commit myself to you, I will be there. I will care. You may hurt me and I will grieve, but if I have made an effort to love you and try to be a true friend to you, I will forgive you and still be there for you.
But this is where I begin to falter in my thinking. I am right to try to be a friend to you and love you, but my natural expectation is that if I commit myself to you, you should commit yourself to me. My immediate expectation is if I invest in you, you should invest in me; if I care about you, you should care about me; if I make time for you, you should make time for me, etc. Ladies and gentlemen, this is wrong. These expectations are unfair and are ruining friendships. We all have expectations from people; my expectations may be different from yours, but we all have automatic expectations nonetheless. People don’t play by our rules, and we don’t set the standards. Friendships involve two people, going both ways; not one person dictating and the other failing to meet the expectations set. The sooner we get rid of our expectations in friendships, the sooner we will enjoy them to the fullest and have a blessed friendship.
I have been living as if my friends existed solely for me. As if they only breathed to be there for me, to pray for me, to encourage me. This past week, such an example occurred. I was in a place where I had to say final goodbyes and see people for the last time. I was feeling extremely alone, and was dying for someone to come up and talk with me, but for a long time no one did. Eventually, I got to talk a little bit with a couple friends and tell them goodbye, but my expectations got the best of me. I expected people to think of me and come and talk to me. I expected people to spend time with me. My expectations weren’t met, and therefore I was disappointed. Seeing the flaw in my attitude? People don’t live for me! (Duh!) When you go on as if they do, it not only creates a selfish mindset, attitude, and heart, but brings many disappointments. I don’t exist for you. You don’t exist for me. We exist to glorify our Creator and share His glory with all the nations… How are we supposed to do that when we’re busy focusing on how So-and-So didn’t do such-and-such like we had expected them to? Our expectations are ruining our friendships, and the sooner we get rid of them, the happier we will be.
I take friendships too seriously. Not everyone has the same definition of “friendship” that I do – in fact, I am pretty sure that most (if not all?) of my friends have a different definition. But that’s okay. If I give selfless love, invest in them, show I care, and do it all with no expectations and no selfish interest, I’ve glorified God in the process by showing love to others. Everything is for His glory, right? Be the friend to others you want others to be to you.