Next week, several of us from ACWM will be teaching break-out sessions at the Fusion Alaska youth conference. One of my sessions will be about friendships…
In the past month, both of my daughters have invited their friends over for birthday parties. In the craziness of sugar, presents, and lots of girls, I enjoyed watching their friends. I observed how they treated each other, how they dealt with the less social girls, how they welcomed strangers, how they responded to adults.
It reminded me of the friends I had when I was their age. There were the cool kids who I admired and tried so hard to please…only to be heartbroken when I just wasn’t cool enough. Then there were the down-to-earth kids. They were the ones who kept my secrets, who taught me how to apologize when I was wrong, who helped me stretch my wings.
What do I want my daughters to know about THEIR friends?
I love you with all my heart. I want you to have a rewarding, fruitful life. From the moment you were born, you have been slowly walking away from dependence on your parents and towards dependence on God. We won’t always be there to protect you or guide you. In the blink of an eye, your friends will be more influential than we are.
So choose your friends wisely.
- Choose friends with good hearts. Observe how they treat their friends. Are they kind? How do they handle the less popular kids? How they treat others is a good measure of their hearts. It doesn’t matter if they may be a little different…look past the exterior into their hearts. Those gems in the rough may be the best friends you ever find.
- Choose friends who seek Jesus. This may not be the girl in your Sunday school class. It may not be the girl who knows all the answers to the Bible lessons. It MAY be the girl from a rough background who hangs on every word you say about your Savior. It MAY be the social reject whose love for Jesus makes trivial girl-culture seem unimportant to her. It WILL be the girl who prays with you when you are losing your way. It WILL be the girl who strengthens your faith and challenges you to be better.
- Choose your friends for what you can give to them. Maybe you already have friends, but you see the new girl in the corner alone. Leave your comfort zone and make a new friend. She just might become your best friend ever. Befriend the girl who is having a rough time at home. Your friendship might be the bright spot in her life right now. Trust me. I’ve found more than one best friend/kindred spirit in these ways.
- Do not seek popularity. It is fleeting. The things you will be tempted to do to become popular will hurt you in the long run.
- Do not hang out with those who consistently make bad choices. You will find yourself following them down the wrong road.
- Do not join with those who mock God or others. You will regret it.
- Do not follow the advice of those who do not love your Savior. It will lead you in the wrong direction.
- Do not continue friendships with those who drive a wedge between you and your family. Only God loves you more than we do.
Sweet girls, BE the kind of friend you want to have. BE the kind-hearted girl who looks out for her friends. BE the one who gently encourages your friends to do right. Look beyond the surface. Avoid close friendships with those who will hurt you and bring you down, but show kindness to all.
Stay close to Jesus. He is the BEST friend you will ever have.