I’ve been thinking about the upcoming months – the gatherings I’ll attend…the people I’ll see…the conversations we might have…the friendships that could develop. I’ll pause here, with friendship.
What is your definition of friend? Wikipedia says, “A friend is a person that someone likes or knows. People who are friends talk to each other and spend time together. They also help each other when they are in trouble or are hurt. Friends are people that can be looked up to and trusted. Sometimes people tell their secrets to their friends. Usually friends have similar interests. A friend is one who admires a person’s skill and helps or encourages them to make the right choices.”
True. But I think there’s more. My study in spiritual direction has introduced the concept of “soul friendship.” This Celtic way of walking alongside another to open us to deeper understanding of ourselves, others, and God. What can it mean to be a ‘soul’ friend? To quote John O’Donohue, “A friend is a loved one who awakens your life in order to free the wild possibilities within you. “I like that, “to free the wild possibilities within you.”
Philippians 2:1-4 says, “Christ encourages you, and his love comforts you. God’s Spirit unites you, and you are concerned for others. 2 Now make me completely happy! Live in harmony by showing love for each other. Be united in what you think, as if you were only one person. 3 Don’t be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves. 4 Care about them as much as you care about yourselves.”
We have a gift, and a calling, in World Convention and Global Women Connecting. Friendship opportunities. Uniting spirits. The preparation for and participation in Global Gatherings (and any number of Restoration Family conventions, assemblies, lectureships or conferences) gives us a chance to know the hearts of others who name Jesus as Friend. Then, with God’s guidance and grace to listen, we might discover a deeper relationship that offers mutual support.
I’m looking forward to this season of making new friends. God is surely at work!