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by Andrea @ DaySpring April 21, 2016
My mom never cooks with recipes. I remember when I went away to college, I asked her for her Chicken Marsala recipe. She sent me one she found on the internet that she deemed "close enough" to hers. She couldn’t fit her masterpiece chicken into the confines of a single recipe. Cooking was like an art for her: a little of this, a little of that. Does it taste good? Does it need something else? We never had the same Chicken Marsala twice.
My dad, on the other hand, is a by-the-book man when it comes to cooking. What does the recipe say? What exact ingredients does the chef need to reach the desired outcome? Some weird spice we have never used and may never use again? It's okay; let's get it. Of course, his dishes also turn out great, and we can have them more than once if we want to.
When it comes to growing friendships, I would say it’s a combination of these two approaches. Friendship is fun and creative, but there are also specific things you can do to foster it and make it flourish. One of the key ingredients is highlighted in Proverbs 17:17 (NIV): "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity."
A friend loves at all times. A good friend is someone who can celebrate with you at your best, and believe in you at your worst. A good friend doesn't try to fix everything, but they're willing to sit with you in the middle of difficulty. They listen to your feelings, let you cry on their couch, and bring out the tub of ice cream if needed. Staying by your side through adversity is how friends become more than friends: they become brothers and sisters.
Friends are there in the good times too. They celebrate you and champion you. They're the first people you want to call when something good happens. The happy moments are ten times happier because you get to share them with people. Sometimes we miss out on celebrating each other because we're concerned about how our own life is turning out. Being a true friend is about setting that aside to be excited for someone you care about. Celebrating our friends' big moments and having them there to celebrate ours adds richness and joy to our lives.
Watching my mom cook is captivating. She can take four random ingredients and put them together to create a five-star entrée. She’s not afraid of trying new things and adding a little spice. Sometimes friendship is like this. It’s spontaneous and creative. You start with what you have, and add some spice. This might look like a last-minute road trip, a surprise gift that reminded you of someone, or sending a text about something funny that happened. Spontaneity makes things fun and exciting. Breaking up the normal routine helps you remember the joy and adventure life has to offer.
I love watching my dad too, as he tackles a new recipe he’s found. He puts together the tried and true ingredients, trusting the experts who first thought up the combination. He measures and sets timers; he’s intentional all the way. Friendship is like this at times as well. It can be carefully thought-out and purposeful. It might be sending a meaningful card, planning a celebratory dinner, or simply making time in your schedule to be there for a friend’s big moments.
The main thing to remember is bringing good friends in your life starts with being one. Be the one who loves at all times. You don’t have to do or say the right thing every time to be a solid friend. You just have to show up, good times or bad, and be there for the people you care about. When you make it a point to love people well, you will find yourself surrounded with people who do the same.
What approach do you normally take with friendship? Do you like to have a plan or do you love a friend who’s up for anything? I want to invite you to think about your friendships this week. Don’t be afraid to add intentionality or some fun if you need to. Good friends are worth it. Share this article with your friends today by clicking the links below!
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Therefore encourage one another
and build each other up as you are already doing.
1 Thess 5:11 CSB