The Friendship Advantage: Benefits of Being a Good Friend
LAW- Serve Others
Last week on the blog, Tabatha wrote about the benefits of having a friend who will walk a mile in our shoes. https://www.flawsoffriendship.com/post/3-key-benefits-of-having-a-friend-by-your-side-during-hard-times To illustrate going the extra mile literally, she had us put on each other’s shoe for a photo op, which turned out cuter than it should have when you consider that we: 1. forced her husband to become our instant professional photographer; 2. while holding a 3-year-old who was actively skydiving out of his arms; 3. while being screamed at that his angle was wrong; 4. while we were being photo bombed by the sheepdog; 5. while I was complaining that she didn’t tell me we were taking pictures and I looked terrible.
Those details are neither here nor there, other than to say that we are ridiculous and to provide proof that there are good men who actually put up with us—because of our winning personalities, no doubt. The real point here is that as I walked through her door that morning, she twirled me right down in a chair and said, “Give me one of your shoes and here, put mine on!”
Listen, I know enough at this point—after a decade of friendship—not to ask questions. I did, however, look up at her husband, who was taking in our absurdity with a grin, to ask, “When she tells you to do things like this, do you ask why or do you just roll with it?” Tabatha responded, “He wouldn’t do this! No one else will do my ideas but you!”
Well let me tell you what, everyone else is missing out, and that gives me the Friendship Advantage.
Last week our focus was on the benefits of having a good friend, but this week we’re going to flip the coin and consider the benefits of being one.
After all, the best things about friendship aren’t really what we get (though there are many things!), but what we give, that change us.
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace." 1 Peter 4:8-10.
The Advantages of Being a Good Friend:
1. I discover what my gifts are.
I don’t know one woman alive who doesn’t want to know what she’s good at and why those things matter! We’re all on a search for significance in some form or another.
What’s amazing to me is that when I decide to be the friend who searches for the significance in her, I actually find what makes me so special.
Tabatha has a million ideas a minute. To her, friendship is a VERB. It doesn’t sit, it does. So, when I mention in passing something that I might one day, sort of, almost could be interested in, the next day (and that’s if she’s moving slow) we have a website, social media account, online store, and marketing campaign. I learned early on that this is how she ticks, so I go with it because I want to go with her, knowing this is where she shines.
Interestingly enough, however, when I intentionally gave her the space to be her creative, zany self, guess what I began to discover about myself?
- That I might sometimes be a writer
- That I can help others write their thoughts too
- That I’m creative in different ways
- That I can be fun and flexible
- That I can stay and do hard things
- That I can see in others what some miss
- That I’m good at not forcing explanations when action is the better way
- That I can forgive, am trusting, loyal, and (who knew?!) even a tad bit optimistic!
Just by trying to be a good friend, I began to discover what makes me a pretty cool person to have around, which in turn gives me confidence to do and be those things more to others. I can’t think of anything that affirms my significance more than that, and it all started by letting my friend run wild with the gifts God gave to her!
2. I learn how to serve others with what I learn about myself.
Author Dale Carnegie said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.”
Close friendship helps me to practice the art of “going low to go high.” When I forget myself to remember my friends, God is able to lift me to places that I could never be trusted to go if my idea of serving was only self-serving.
God is always thinking about everyone around me, and if I serve those who are on His mind, Scripture promises that, “he who is lowly will obtain honor” (Proverbs 29:23).
We don’t serve to obtain honor, but that doesn’t negate the fact that He gives it to those who go low in service to those whom He loves.
3. I learn how to steward God’s grace.
The word ‘steward’ in this connotation refers to being the manager of a household.
By learning and practicing what my gifts are within the safety of close-knit friendship, and then serving others with those gifts, I literally become God’s house of grace—a shelter of favor, kindness, and blessing to those around me.
What a neat way to go through life! In being a friend, I can become a person who discovers and is confident in how God made me, who then learns how to use those gifts to serve others out of that assurance, and by doing so, I manage God’s grace over my life through and towards those around me.
Why should we strive for this in our lives? The answer is found no farther than the next verse: “… so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.”
The next time you have a choice of serving or being served by your friends, choose the serving, for in it, you will reap the benefits of the Friendship Advantage.
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