You may have read David’s post about our friendship a couple of months ago. It was a detailed account of how our personalities complement each other, the Lord’s work in bringing it together, and also what that looks like on a regular basis. For years I have cultivated deep friendships with my female friends and I appreciate every one of them. They helped me to grow up, grow wise, and grow strong. While many seasons of those friendships have changed, some stronger and some are more distant, they are still an integral part of my life. The one thing that was missing was learning to be friends with the opposite gender. I have several male associates, but none are close like David. I will say until my death that our friendship was always destined to be and ordained by God. There are lot of circumstances that align to support that, but it’s not what this post is about. Many people believe that you can’t be friends with the opposite gender for a myriad of reasons:
- Someone will get hurt if you aren’t both attracted to each other.
- It will be an inappropriate friendship because it may go too far.
- It can only work if you aren’t attracted to each other.
- It will make you seem worldly and “loose.”
For a long time I believed those to be true, and I am sure there are some beliefs that I left out that some people carry around. While I don’t think we are to build a close intimacy with everyone of the opposite gender, friendship is the basis and foundation from which covenantial relationships should form. Why do I believe this? True and lasting friendships encompass trust, intimacy, transparency, forgiveness, sacrifice, and encouragement. They are the genesis of true love. Friendship allows for one to learn how to traverse the road of relating while guarding your heart in a manner that will promote purity, but will allow you to keep from building walls that will prevent a deeper relationship.
I think that we go about romantic relationships all wrong. We find someone we like and in a short period determine that we like them enough to forge into intimacy and that usually is about some kind of physical attribute and personality trait. Then as time goes on the true inner workings of that person is revealed and many times we realize that we don’t really like them at all and the relationship ends. Had there been time to develop a pure friendship, then there would have been less collateral damage if the next level of relationship didn’t develop.We go deep and fast when it comes to romance and love. We want the microwave version, which usually results in an uneven heated and chewy meal that is merely acceptable. I don’t know about you, but I want a delicious meal. Something that is desirable, filling, nutritional, and flavored as each ingredient was purposed to taste. These types of meals come from preparations and time. The best comparison I have is a crockpot. Fresh ingredients go in, the heat turns on low, and the cooking process takes hours (I usually make dishes that are required to cook over night).
That’s how the friendship and David and I formed. The past seven months have been comprised of the ebb and flow of learning to trust each other, encouraging one another, forgiveness, being transparent, developing spiritual and emotional intimacy, and sacrificing our own desires for the will of God. There were times that we quite painful, but it was necessary for what we had to learn. It has been quite a slow process, but now that we are in this next season I am all the more glad that the time was spent in this way. Our friendship proved that it was possible to be “BFFs” with the opposite gender in purity.
This would not have been possible had we not known the love and friendship that was offered to us by God first and foremost. Until a person knows his/her worth and identity in Christ, all other relationships will be dysfunctional on some level because relationships are perfected in Christ as he is the redeemer of all things.
Had the Lord not brought us individually to where we are now spiritually (not that the attainment of our current spirituality is a means to boast, it only gives context to why this current season is progressing in this manner), we would not have been able to work through what has transpired this year. It would have been too challenging and we would not have seen the benefit. I think our friendship would have either failed to start or it would have crashed and burned.
The crockpot is still on and the main ingredient is God. He is the center, He is the purpose, and He is the goal. There’s a lot to be done and I would be lying if I said that there weren’t some righteous trepidation, but my faith outweighs any fear. God will not and cannot lie, so the revelations that he has shown to both David and I are what keeps us moving forward in the places where our feet may fail. What we have been privileged to witness and participate is a miracle dripping with the sweetness of God’s perfect promises.
Now…back to the adventures! If David and I had a theme song it would be this: