True friendship trumps self-counsel...every time.
The swirling thoughts don’t end and my face often feels hot as I try and navigate through them. Whether it is a word spoken harshly, a failed endeavor, or just the feelings of inadequacy that stem from our current culture – my mind does not rest. As I try to combat lies with truth, I often become tired and give in to the lies that swirl.
Often when I face lies, my own perception is skewed, not allowing me to see the face value of the lie. I need someone outside my own mind to grant me perspective to see through the fog.
A friend of mine is changing careers, walking away from one job and embarking on the next, and the lies came. Lies about how she doesn’t have much to offer. Lies about the value of the work she completed. Lies about her worth. The evil one lives for the moments when we buy into the lies and keep them swirling in our minds.
She called me and vulnerably laid bare the swirling lies and allowed me to speak both perspective and truth. She allowed me to call out the lies for what they were and replace them with my valid perception. What a gift to be able to give perspective to a friend and free her from the bondage of her own swirling thoughts.
Self-counsel is dangerous because of our bent towards sin and our skewed perspective. When we choose to embrace transparency in safe places the “sweetness of a friend” trumps self-counsel every time. Perspective often hinders us from seeing the full picture in our own lives, but gives us full picture of others if they choose transparency with us.
To have a friend that sees the fully transparent version of us and chooses to love us is a gift that we all deserve, but few find. To be a friend that loves others in full transparency is a gift that we can all offer, but takes effort and dedication. Getting to a place where I can trust the “sweetness of a friend” over my own self-counsel starts with choosing transparency in safe places as well as choosing to love others in their transparency. Once those things happen, the perspective of someone who loves the full version of me can bring so much light to the dark places in my mind where the lies swirl.
Let’s not forget the gift of friendship God created and intended for good. The Bible says so much about the benefits of friendship; they help carry one another burden’s (Galatians 6:2), they choose to love at all times (Proverbs 17:17), they sharpen one another (Proverbs 27:17) and honor each other over themselves (Romans 12:10). Often we choose to believe that people don’t have time or aren’t interested, leaving us in a tangle of self-counsel. God intended life to be lived with others, not only for the sake of community, but for our own benefit.
The word “sweet” can often be interpreted as pleasurable or seen as meek, but the sweetness of a friend isn’t just intended for enjoyment, but to offer clarity, wise counsel and a steady hand on rocky terrain. Let’s choose together to be the “sweetness of a friend” to those who are transparent with us.