That Friend

The phone rings one evening and Caller ID reveals it’s a friend who has been MIA for over three months.  Curiosity wins.  Pick up the phone.  Friend’s car is in the shop and she needs a ride to work.  Never a call just to see how things are going…only when she needs something.  Last time, she needed a dog sitter for a weekend vacation.  Before that, she spent two hours complaining about her problems.  The one-way conversation was an emotional drain.  Can you help this time?

Attempts to sustain a friendship stall when messages go unanswered.  How do you feel when you’re on the trying side of a relationship and the other person doesn’t make an effort?

One-sided friendships feel like this…

As I said my prayers one night for those I know who face struggles, I also asked God for inspiration on my spiritual posts.  I’d been praying for days (weeks?) and still, no inspiration.  That’s when it hit me:  I’ve turned into that friend in my relationship with God.

I’m the one who expects God to bless the lives of those in my prayers.  I expect Him to drop blog ideas into my lap so I feel enlightened.  I ask for guidance on my story writing.  I expect Him to be there for me, when I want Him to be, yet I slack in my efforts to know Him better.

Here’s where I could insert a laundry list of excuses, but it wouldn’t matter.  Excuses are just free passes to continue on the same path.  The whole point of writing about my spiritual journey was to keep myself moving.  (I tend to linger in stagnant pools simply because they are familiar.)

It would be easier if the Bible flew off the shelf and whacked me in the head.  Since that hasn’t happened yet, I moved it back onto my desk.  I want to get back into nightly reading (I’m not sure when or why I stopped.)  Right now, I’m putting it in writing that I commit to find fifteen minutes even if it means I skip reading a couple blogs, omit a comment or two, or write a little less.

I know things are bound to get off-balance when one half of the relationship is human, but I need to make more of an effort if I am to grow my spiritual self.

Do you ever find yourself as the “slacker friend” in your relationship with God?  How about in a human relationship?  Come on, you can share your best excuses here 🙂  (Maybe I could use them.)

Did I mention that I have a lot of growing to do?

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28 thoughts on “That Friend

  1. pattyabr July 1, 2012 / 5:14 AM

    I have a friend who struggles with her MS and her personal relationships are tragic. For the longest time she was the strong one for her family and friends. But they have nearly all abandoned her. She contacts me when she wants a recommendation or advice. Having a relationship with God, you must care for yourself and then you can better see God and all around you. When you can’t care for yourself, God carries you. Sometimes you just don’t know it or appreciate it. It is a journey.

    • jannatwrites July 1, 2012 / 5:39 PM

      What a sad situation your friend is in, Patty. I’m glad you have continued to be a friend to her. I like your comment about caring for myself in order to see God around me. You are right, it is a journey – one I want to slow down enough to catch the meaning.

  2. Tessa July 1, 2012 / 5:59 AM

    This is deep Janna! I consider myself spiritual, but not religious. I find it hard to wrap my mind around some of the beliefs. I am having an inner struggle over my beliefs. You have given me something to think about. Thank you!

    • jannatwrites July 1, 2012 / 5:51 PM

      I struggle with the term “religious”, Tessa. When I hear that term, I think of the man-made set of rules based on how the founders interpreted the Bible. I grew up with fire and brimstone and fear of eternal damnation, but in adulthood, I’ve chosen to attend a non-denominational church that portrays God as a loving God. I do attend church fairly regularly, but I don’t consider myself religious.

      I do hope you are able to find peace with what you do believe.

      • Tessa July 2, 2012 / 8:39 AM

        Thank you Janna! My inner struggle is still waging. As children we had to go to church, but our parents did not go with us. As an adult I chose not to go although there were times when we found a church and pastor that we did enjoy that we went. Unfortunately my children did not go except on those short periods when we went and they have no idea really about God and we may have short-changed them. My parents eventually found what I guess would be considered a non-denominational church. I just haven’t found what matches my beliefs yet I suppose.

        • jannatwrites July 2, 2012 / 8:24 PM

          My parents didn’t go to church very often either – but they did send us with my grandparents every Sunday (except for Christmas, Easter and if we were sick.) I still don’t know why they never went. During high school and college, I didn’t go to church at all. While waitressing, I grew to dislike “church people” because so many would come to the restaurant dressed in their Sunday best, with their rude and condescending attitudes. It wasn’t until about ten years ago when I started to feel the desire (need?) to regain a relationship with God.

          If you are experiencing a struggle with this, it may mean it’s time to explore your faith. I know devout Christians who do not attend church, but I like to go because they explore Bible passages in more detail than I could do on my own. Good luck to you, Tessa 🙂

        • Tessa July 3, 2012 / 7:05 PM

          Thank you Janna. You are probably right and that it is time to explore my faith. I know what you mean about the “church people.” Thank you for your encouragement.

        • jannatwrites July 3, 2012 / 7:30 PM

          Glad I could be a source of encouragement. With an open heart, I know you’ll find your way, Tessa!

  3. Carl D'Agostino July 1, 2012 / 6:44 AM

    Manufacture a problem for which you need help from her. If the reciprocity is non existent time to have that alleged prolonged sickness. I’ve learned to say no and that I have my own complications and not the stamina to be in the favor business.

    • jannatwrites July 1, 2012 / 5:54 PM

      Friendship is a long-term investment. I have no problem standing by friends through rough patches (that’s what friends are for.) I have also had to cut contact with ‘friends’ whose only purpose was to drain the emotional life out of me.

      In this instance, I do not have a friend like that at the moment….I just used the analogy for my relationship with God at the moment, where I remind myself of that friend.

      We do have to set our boundaries, and your ‘test’ is a good way to find them, Carl 🙂

  4. Debbie July 1, 2012 / 11:58 AM

    I like Carl’s suggestion. If you find your absent friend won’t help you in your “time of need,” you’ll realize how little the friendship means to her. Life is too short to waste it on people who won’t meet us part-way. As for God, starting with a resolution to read your Bible 15 minutes a day is a good plan. The Lord knows you mean well and we’re all busy — you don’t want to be so busy, though, that you can’t give Him just 15 minutes every day!

    • jannatwrites July 1, 2012 / 6:02 PM

      I’ve had to shed a few ‘faux friends’, and it’s surprisingly easy for me. I know we all go through difficult times, but there are some people that are 24/7 drama, or simply don’t think to call when things are calm.

      I’ll see how my 15-minute commitment goes. I’m seeing a pattern in my plans not coming to fruition 🙂 Thanks for reading and offering your support, Debbie!

  5. pattisj July 1, 2012 / 1:44 PM

    We all have a lot of growing to do, Janna. We need to refocus from time to time to see if He is still our first priority. When that relationship is right, the rest will fall into place.

    • jannatwrites July 1, 2012 / 6:08 PM

      I like how you think, Patti. I am grateful for the support and great advice. I hope to feel more balanced soon 🙂

  6. braintomahawk July 2, 2012 / 5:47 AM

    Wonderfully put. We’re all depending on someone for comfort, friendship, and help. Thanks for starting our week off with this!

    • jannatwrites July 2, 2012 / 6:47 AM

      Thanks for reading, Braintomahawk! I hope you have a good week 🙂

  7. Jonesingafter40 July 2, 2012 / 7:39 PM

    This one struck a chord with me, Janna. It’s always ‘us’ who moves away, not God. Thanks for writing it.

    • jannatwrites July 2, 2012 / 8:27 PM

      I’m glad you could relate to it, Jonesing. It’s nice to know I’m not alone here!

  8. The Gal Herself July 3, 2012 / 2:22 AM

    I came here for Trifecta and Ellie and Derek and got distracted by this post. What a lovely distraction! Thank you for this. It resonated with me.

    • jannatwrites July 3, 2012 / 5:17 AM

      Thanks for wandering, Gal! I’m glad you were able to find meaning in this post. I’ve wandered a bit but I’m getting back into my Sunday spiritual posts.

  9. Eric Alagan July 3, 2012 / 8:43 PM

    Ask when you don’t need it – that way, rejections don’t hurt too much.

    Whenever a ‘friend’ tells me he’ll do all these wonderful things in return for my help (which I had given) – I would request for something. He’ll make excuses and disappear – until the next time he needs me.

    What fun 🙂

    • jannatwrites July 3, 2012 / 11:02 PM

      A friend and I were just talking about that type of person, Eric. If they get too emotionally draining, ties have to be cut. When a relationship starts to feel one-sided, then it probably is. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience!

    • jannatwrites July 11, 2012 / 7:01 PM

      As long as others don’t take advantage, it’s not a bad thing, Evelyn. I used to be better about keeping up with friends but with so much going, I’ve slipped!

      • xoEvelynOrtizHasSpoken July 13, 2012 / 7:19 AM

        Yeah that is true.

        && Life happens, if they are good friends they shall understand.

        Most of my friends are those whom I can go w.o taking to for awhile or vic versa when were busy, then we just pick up right where we left off.

        🙂

        • jannatwrites July 13, 2012 / 9:19 PM

          I have a friend who is like that, too, Evelyn…we may not talk for a couple weeks, but when we do get on the phone, it can take an hour or two!

        • xoEvelynOrtizHasSpoken July 19, 2012 / 10:57 AM

          yeah it`s nice – the bond is strong enough to withhold a small hiatus 🙂

        • jannatwrites July 19, 2012 / 10:28 PM

          That is a special bond, Evelyn.

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