Where would we be without friends? Life just wouldn’t be the same without them. Friends are there when you need someone to talk to. They send you nice e-cards that arrive at just the right time after a hard day, even though they don’t even know how much you would need it. They laugh with you and cry with you. They help you figure things out when you don’t know what to do.
There was a time in my life, long ago, that I didn’t really feel like I had many friends. If I was struggling with a problem, I didn’t know who to call. And I was afraid to call the people I did know because I wasn’t sure they would want to talk to me.
But then someone who considered me a friend invited me to a Bible study, tried to bring me out of my shell. It took time, but one day I realized that God loved me enough to die for me, so that I could be with Him for eternity. Then it dawned on me that if I was good enough for the Creator of the Universe to love me so, then perhaps mere mortals could like, or even love, me too.
Now I don’t know what I would do without my friends. They are there for me when I need a day away from the daily grind. They are there when I need a shoulder to cry on or just want someone to bounce an idea off of. They are there to go with me when I need a pedicure or want to go to farmers’ market or clothes shopping. They are there when I just want to have lunch and be with friends. They are there to comment on my blog when I need a bit of encouragement.
One of my best, true friends sent me an email the other day about a Stanford psychiatry professor who taught his class about the importance of friendship to women. The email said:
One of the best things [a woman] could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends. Physically this “quality girlfriend time” helps us to create more serotonin– a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well being.
Women share feelings whereas men often form relationships around activities. [Men] rarely sit down with a buddy and talk about how they feel about certain things or how their personal lives are going. Women do it all of the time. We share from our souls with our sisters, and evidently that is very good for our health. He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or working out at a gym.
There’s a tendency to think that when we are “exercising” we are doing something good for our bodies, but when we are hanging out with friends, we are wasting our time and should be more productively engaged– not true. In fact, he said that failure to create and maintain quality personal relationships with other humans is as dangerous to our physical health as smoking!
But we don’t need modern psychology to tell us that it is good to have friends. Solomon wrote about the importance of friends in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12:
9 Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
10 If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Friends love you even when you aren’t perfect, just like Jesus does. True Christian friends are the best, because they understand you aren’t perfect, but they forgive you when you mess up. Plus you can spend time sharing about how much God loves you and them and what He has been doing in your lives. Christian friends will also pray for you and with you when you need it most, even if you don’t know you need it. I am so grateful for all of my friends. They are a wonderful gift from God.