Why my friends frustrate me, annoy me and get under my skin … (or …how I’m growing thanks to my friends)
Isn’t it funny how you make friends?
There seems to be no real rhyme or reason to it.
Some are like you… some are not…
Some are for a short time in your life… some are for life.
There is no real scientific equation that can be proven that if you followed it would guarantee that you will have a true friend for life… sure there are always words and phrases that people use when they talk about friends… Loyal… trusting… support you… are there for you… have got your back… Are always there for you… etc.
And when I look at my closest friends a lot of these phrases are true, but there is something that surprised me as I looked closer at my friends… it was the things that I admired about my friends… it was the things that frustrated me about my friends… and the things that made me stronger because of them.
If I was to describe myself I would use phrases like:
- Big Picture
- Breaks rules
- Likes to play/have fun
- Takes risks
- Talks a lot
- Vision focused
It starts to paint a picture of someone who is creative and always on the go…
My brain is usually pretty full of new an creative ways to do things for people, express myself and communicate.
However it also paints a picture of someone who maybe isn’t as grounded all the time as I maybe can be.
So I sat down and looked at my closest friends… and it was actually amazing to see how the people I valued the most were people who were almost the exact opposite to me.
My closest friends were:
- Reduces risks
- Goals and objective focused
And I wondered why I kept getting frustrated by them on one hand… and drawn closer to them with the other.
And when you look at the two lists it doesn’t take much to notice it’s because we go about the same tasks in a totally different way...
We look at things differently…
We fulfill different parts of the same vision or job.
Where I would be used to come up with an idea… I’m not the best person to follow through with the idea, that’s where people like my friends excel…
While I think about things in big picture form… my friends are all about the detail.
While I am being emotional about the people… my friends are looking at the facts
It’s frustrating sometimes because they will sometimes tell me something and I’ll be like “Darn they’re right… AGAIN”
But there is this real sense of Iron sharpening iron… my closest friends have free reign (within reason) to tell me the true as they see it… they can pull me up on things that they think I may be lacking or neglecting… they can be truthful even when they know it may be something I may not want to hear.
But here is the thing… I trust them so much that they have permission to talk into my life… and as a result I have learnt so much from the closest of my friends
I said to one friend not that long ago how much I admired them and the things that they have shown me… but I was surprised when they said to me how they had learnt from me the art of “looking to the left and the right when moving forward…” and it made me think… “Yes this is what about true friendship is about”
There is a verse in the Bible that is often used at weddings:
“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
Ecclesiastes 4:12 (New Living Translation)
You see it seems to me that we are to join with other to help minimise our weaknesses… and maximise our strengths.
If I was with someone who was to much the same as me… I wouldn’t grown anywhere near as much and I certainly wouldn’t have someone with me who helps me where I am weak.
Or to use the famous quote from Jerry Maguire “You complete me”
Because if you look at my two lists above… my closest friends literally complete me!
We’re two sides of the same coin.
So I’ve been thinking about how do I show, my friends, my family my loved ones I love them…
And also how do the people I love show how they love me?
I posted the question on Facebook and got a few different kinds of answer from Gifts to kisses, from doing things for me to neck rubs, spending time together and even telling me “I love you”…
There are even websites dedicated to it… one of my favourites is http://www.5lovelanguages.com a great way to find out what way you like to be shown love (there’s a simple 3 minute test that is really handy to have done).
For the record they way I like to be shown I’m loved is in this order:
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
In fact it’s often a combination of the top three for me that really get me going.
I like to be told I’m doing well, that I’m loved, that I’m appreciated… communication is BIG for me.
However I also love being able just to ‘hang’ with my loved ones, just to talk… just to be there with them just laughing goofing around, we can even sit in silence and I would be happy with that, in the knowledge that my friend is spending their quality time with me.
And finally I love people giving me stuff but here’s the thing… it could be a piece of string or a pebble or a leaf… it really could be anything as long as someone has put the time into thinking why they have given me this gift.
And so from the above list I would usually show I love people in the same way… the way that I love to be loved.
That can be hard because, well we’re simply not the same… we’re different. The way YOU show you love someone isn’t the same way that I show I love someone.
It’s handy knowing what someones ‘love language’ is, and when you know what spins their wheels it makes things a lot easier… If I like to be told “I appreciate you …” but my loved ones like me to give the hugs, then it’s really easy for me to say to them… “I tell you I appreciate you all the time”
To which they reply… “yes but you never SHOW me you love me!!!”
So if you don’t know what someones love language is where do you start?
The answer is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Now you see this verse a lot in weddings… but it’s actually a really good view on relationships in general.
Love is patient… it means there’s no hurry “One Day …” I’ll wait for you…
Love is Kind… why be mean or nasty or talk behind backs, what does that achieve?
Love is not jealous… I’m going to support them in the time they spend with other people
Love NEVER gives up… it’s seems so easy just to throw in the towel sometimes, however sometimes we just need to work through things.
Love never loses faith…
Is always hopeful… even when things look far from it
You see it’s not just about marriage… or just about our friends… it’s about relationship.
In fact Jesus made it even MORE clearer than that.
He said this:
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. – John 13:34-35
So I guess at the end of the day our job is to LOVE one another…
The Bible even says “Love your enemies”
Relationships are hard in the first place…
Remember when you first started going out with someone… you love the fact that they were so laid back… they were just so relaxed… they never seemed to have a care in the world
If we are to be honest you started to idolise them… but then what happens?
After a while his ‘relaxed’ manner seems to grate on you… “they’re not relaxed… they’re lazy” you might think… “Sitting on the couch each day playing their guitar while I’m looking after the kids and cooking the meals”
What’s happened… You’ve demonised them for the very thing that you used to idolise them for… the same things that attracted you to this person in the first place.
Or how about this…
You started going out with someone… and they like to communicate… they talk through their feelings… they blog… they write songs… they think of words or ways of saying things that you have never thought of…
And if we are honest you might even start to idolise them a bit for it… but then what happens?
After a while you’re thinking… “OMG please just shut up… enough with your feelings… just give me space.”
You’ve demonised them for the very thing that you used to idolise them for… the same things that attracted you to this person in the first place.
And I’m sure if you think back you can think of a few different situations where you started to like someone and the things that they did made you smile… or you thought was cute… or made them interesting… only to find that after a while the things they do start to get under your skin!
The problem is people change… feelings change.
That’s why it’s so important to put God at the centre of every relationship that you…
Or in other words… put God at number ONE… so there is more chance for you TWO.
Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. Romans 8:5 NLT
You see… when you put God in the centre of your relationship… you’re not seeing the other person as a ‘conquest’ or just another partner… you start to see them as someone who you really want to care for… you really want to see succeed… you really want to see thrive.
It’s not about you anymore… it’s about what you can do for the other person…
Sometimes it may be as simple as just being you… and just being there for the other person.
But however it happens when God is in the centre of your relationship there isn’t any chance to idolise or demonise… because God is bigger than that.
I read a statistic recently that said around 50% of those who got married separated… shocking huh???
Those who prayed as part of their relationship… the stats went as low as only 20-25% separated… so there was an 80% chance of success.
Imagine if we started to do that with ALL our really close relationships??
Imagine how tight and united we would be??
“Better is open rebuke, than hidden love” – Proverbs 27:5
Have you noticed that these days you’re not allowed to ‘love’ those who you trust, or care about… When you do with other guys it’s either a bro-mance, you’re gay… when you have a close relationship with someone of the opposite sex people automatically presume it’s a sexual relationship.
The reality is that it’s not the case… and it shouldn’t be like that.
Why can’t we LOVE each other?…
and why does it HAVE to be a sexual thing?
I love my family… I love my friends… I love my workmates… and why should I be made to feel ashamed at that?
Why do I feel I need to hide that?
Here’s the thing… When we don’t love one another we fall into the trap of disobeying a commandment of Jesus… we are to love one another.
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35
So what does that mean?
What is LOVE?
If we have been to a wedding we have most likely heard 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (often called the LOVE verse)
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
You see when we read through this list it’s very easy to see how ‘the world’ or society has changed lust and given it the title ‘love’ – but it’s clear to see they are two very different creatures.
There is NOT ONE part of 1 Corinthians 13:4 that says “Love is getting what I want” or “Love is about sex” or “love is purely physical”
So why have we made it ALL about these things?
Love is patient… it waits for the OTHER person
Love is Kind… it uplifts, it makes OTHERS feel good about themselves
Love doesn’t envy… it doesn’t worry about who you’re with because Love always trusts
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails
You see LOVE isn’t about YOU… Love is about OTHER people… and what you can do for THEM to lift THEM up.
It’s not about SEX… so why make it all about that?
The 60′s ruined the words “I Love You” it was almost abused with the ‘Free Love’ movement…
So lets claim it back!
Lets start telling people “I LOVE YOU” with out hiding it… without it being about something more than it is…
Which is one person caring greatly for another person… there is nothing wrong with that right?
So why do you feel ashamed at that?
It’s a colourful… bright… powerful phrase… that brightens dark places…
Lets not be ashamed of loving others anymore!
I had a laugh with my good friend Monique the other day… she was telling me how she’s got a mouse problem… and the mouse is hiding in the kitchen somewhere…
The Funny part wasn’t the fact that there was in the kitchen… in fact Monique is terrified of the little thing… the funny part was how she discribed her kitchen
“It’s like a death trap Goose” she said
“There are traps and poison all over the place” she then chuckled…
It was a little bit funny however after I thought about it for a while I thought… isn’t it strange that we are so willing to get rid of a mouse, a wasp , even a spider from our house that in a years time… in two years time… will have no impact whatsoever on our lives, yet we sit and stew on things in our lives that can destroy us… but not only ourselves but those around us.
Lately I’ve been hearing a lot of people who are in relationships where there is anger issues and it’s tearing these couples apart… why?
Because there were issues before hand that hadn’t been dealt with properly before hand…
The problem with Anger is that it isn’t like a stop gate where you can just let things in.. or our… but it’s like an account balance it’s saying “You took something from me and I will keep pushing until I feel I have been compensated,” the problem with this is that often you’re not even with the person who wronged them. Some one somewhere in this persons life hurt this person… but instead of dealing with the issue… they hid it deep down inside…
Anger is something that you need to deal with as soon as you can… there is an old proverb that says “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger…”… you see don’t even let it get to the end of the day before dealing with it… in other words keep a short account of your anger.
The reason for this is when you don’t deal with it it jumps from relationship to relationship with the person who is angry… now there’s an even bigger problem because they are now angry… but they don’t know who they’re angry with… or what… so they will just snap at things that make them feel vulnerable. They’re taking the pain, hurt, and rejection from one season of their life to the other.
They start to loose sight of what makes them mad… and they make excuses about what makes them angry and they blame others, and the people they blame may not be the original source of the pain!
It happens a lot in marriage… and we’re starting to see it more and more.
It doesn’t matter how cute a guy is, or how sexy a girl is, or who he is or where he has come from or if you think you are best friends… if you are going out with a guy or girl who has anger issues… run for the hills… get out of it when you can!
“But we’re in love!!!”
I know this sounds harsh but “Get over it”… get out of there while you still can… MOVE ON… because either you break it up now… or they will crush it out of you later.
Because you are going to be consistently blamed for things that you will never understand.
You can apologize hundreds of times, you can say sorry, and no matter how hard you try you will never feel like they will let you measure up to their debt… and the reason why?… because the debit is most likely not with you!
You are just bumping into wounds that they brought into the relationship.
Ephesians 4:31 says “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior” (NLT)
You see it’s like if you get diagnosed with cancer… you don’t ask where you got it from… you just want to get rid of it…
So why do we let these things so close into our hearts that we are willing to suffer the rest of our lives for it???
How long are you willing to have anger in your home?
Get rid of it… do not have it in your life… and if you are the one with the anger issues… take time think back and find out where it originated… because the people around you shouldn’t need to suffer for your actions.
And if you are thinking of getting married someone with these issues… get out of there while you can… don’t let it crush you… and what ever you do DON’T make excuses for it!
Because if it has come up already in your relationship it will again and again and again.
If you were the God who loves you so much that he was willing to send his only son to die for you and would do anything for you…
What would you expect him to want you to do?
Feminist Gloria Steinham famously made the statement “a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle” it was pretty witty statement that has been thrown around for years… it even appears in the song ‘Trying to throw your arms around the world’ from the U2 album Achtung Baby (a song I love for the record).
I wonder… if woman need to start thinking MORE like this…
Now before you think “Has Goose become feminist???”, I want to make things clear that I believe that we were created for relationship… and a relationship between a man and woman… an equal partnership, divided by the two different genders.
Ok so that’s clear…
I have so many female friends who are so eager to be in a relationship that they are almost willing to throw away all their beliefs… their hopes and dreams… their futures… just to hold onto a myth of ’the perfect relationship’…
or sometimes it is just to have a man in their life…
or the illusion of a family unit.
Woman please hear me… know who you are.
You are more than just a relationship tyre that gets kicked around.
You shouldn’t be loved because you’re good in bed… or the kitchen… or look good on someone’s arm…
You should be loved because YOU ARE YOU…
That should be good enough for anyone who you meet who wants to be in a relationship with you… and if not – they don’t deserve you… you don’t ever sell yourselves shorter than the beautiful princess that you are.
Know who you are…
There are so many women who have a low self esteem or a distorted view of themselves…
Here’s the thing… The God who made you doesn’t make junk… in fact it says in the Bible that “he knew you BEFORE you were born”… and then if that wasn’t enough he sent his son Jesus to die on the cross just so that he could continue to live with YOU.
Even better than that… he wants to have YOU as part of his family…
The God of the universe loves you so much… why would you sell yourselves short for some guy who likes you in bed… but isn’t willing to help you with anything else??
Your partner should be willing to die for you… they want the best for you… the want to see you succeed…
You see true love looks like this…
It’s patient... it’s willing to take its time FOR YOU.
It’s kind… it’s not belittling you or making you feel bad.
It’s not envious… it doesn’t restrict your friends or screen your calls (unless your in a dangerous place)
It trusts you.
You see love gets the best out of you… sometimes it’s hard because the same that loves gives you… you need to be ready to give the same back… it’s a sacrifice for both sides.
Maybe the phrase should be “you need a guy who doesn’t really love you like a fish needs a bicycle”
Because when you find the right guy… he will move mountains for you.
But women… know who you are.
Because when you’re picky about who you are… you start looking for the same in the person you want to be with.
You are awesome... because that’s how you are made.
You don’t need to settle for someone who doesn’t love you for who you are… EVER!
Have you ever noticed that in most of the major fairy tales that you read as a kid, the only thing that the pretty girl and the young prince have to do to live “happily ever after” is meet each other?
No wonder relationships are so short these days.
What do you mean Goose?
Well have a look around… there is more and more relationships breaking up, and never getting back together… there are young men, and young women who have gone from relationship to relationship each time thinking the next relationship will be the one that will last forever…
Why will it last forever?
Because they have found “the right person!!”
The right guy.. or the right girl…
But here’s the thing… what happens after all the chemical “BANG!” has worn off???
The problem is that most people don’t work on their relationship skills… but here’s the crazy thing… all relationships involve dealing with PEOPLE! Duh!!
If you don’t work on honing those skills… then your relationships are going to be more chance and less substance. Sure the physical thing is great… but we all know it doesn’t last forever.
Here’s what I think… and you can take it or leave it…
Why don’t we spend less time looking for the right person… and spend more time making sure we are the right person! – I mean how often do we try to impress a guy or girl… but have not even put any thought into how a relationship would work.
I mean even if we take the most basic version of what love is…
”4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Are you patient in your relationships? do you not try to rush someone to do the things that you want to do???
Are you kind? Are you considerate, are you always trying to lift the person you are with up?
Are you envious? of friends… or other peoples status in life?
You get the picture…
You see this is what we should be striving for… this is what makes realtionships stick…
Stop chasing a myth…
Get to the realtionship gym… and let Prince (or princess ) Charming come to you… because I bet that once you start being picky about who you are… you’ll start looking for the same in the person you want to be with.
Give it a try!
Have you ever been in a relationship where someone has asked you the question “why do you love me?”
The correct answer is NOT “because you’re pretty, and you’re smart, and you’re intelligent and you are more fun than all the other girls I met… we have so much fun together” – why not say those things, they sound like good things to say?
The reason you don’t say those things is that you have just put a value on your love… you have said ‘I love you because you’re smart, and witty and intelligent” – that means that for the person you love to feel like they’re loved, they have to keep doing those things… they have to keep up appearances… because THOSE are the reasons you love them.
I recently heard someone answer that question “Why do you love me?” with this answer and I thought it was very very cool… they said this “I love you babe, just because I love you“
Now that is cool… love with no strings attached, and it’s not just words or sweet talk either… because there IS NO OTHER WAY for love to operate.
And it’s like that with God… God love you soooooo much… just because HE LOVES YOU.
And THAT factor will transform you and transform your life… if you PERSONALISE IT.
God loves you because HE LOVES YOU… he chased you down, and died for you for no other reason than the fact that God loves YOU.
There are no strings attached like the other relationships that you may have been in…
You don’t have to ‘put out’ once a week…
You don’t have to cook…
You don’t have to hang out with his/her mates…
You don’t even have to look the best ALL the time…
God loves you – just because God loves you.
Christchurch Earthquake 04 September 2010
Some one mention to me that maybe it was a warning from God…
Someone else mentioned that it was showing his judgement…
Someone else said it was showing Gods mercy that no one died.
So… what do I think?
To be honest I don’t know all the answers… but here is what I do know:
- During times like this people feel more vulnerable , and they realise that they are so minute in a huge world, and an even bigger universe.
- People need people. the amount of stories, I’ve heard that people have been helping others… it really show how much we are made to be relational. One the news I’ve heard a couple of stories of people who said that in the middle of the earthquake they felt “So alone”
- God is still God through it all – and we can come to him with all our worries, and concerns.
Brent Richardson, a good friend of mine says this:
The fact is often these things cannot be reasoned out. For example a Godly person might loose their house (or life) while bad people come out unscathed. If it’s God’s judgement it is mostly lost on the general public who don’t think that way. Surely if God was going to judge wouldn’t he make sure people understood what he was doing (such as when he sent Israel into exile preceeded by the prophets warnings).
Now God can cause earthquakes… Job is a good example of a Godly man loosing everything from major disasters, there are a number of them through the old and new testament.
Sometimes in our search to try and understand what has happened in a major event, we start to make assumptions -like the ones mention at the start of this blog.
And I wish I knew the answer but the truth is – I JUST DON’T.
In fact if we are trying to figure out what God is doing – isn’t that just us trying to be god like? trying to ‘control’ the situation?
Just a thought…