Yesterday was a special day – Vicky came to visit. We hadn’t seen each other for a quite a long time but we have that kind of friendship, where our expressions of love just continue where they left off. I treasure the time we get together. It’s always a scramble to clear both our schedules but oh…. how it’s worth it.
Actually, Vicky came over on Thursday night for a sleepover and from the minute she arrived at my door, it was nonstop conversation. We caught up on each others’ lives, we laughed, we shared our thoughts and opinions, we ate crunchy stew and most importantly, we encouraged one another. We talk about the difficult stuff in life and there was no judgment as we listened to each other. There was vulnerability that exposed and honesty that confronted.
We have an “iron sharpens iron” friendship and we are both stronger and sharper, having spent twenty four hours together. It’s so natural to open the Bible and share the Word of God with each other – we both desire wisdom and truth.
….and then there’s Vicky’s beautiful voice. I could listen to Vicky sing all day. I heated up the previous night’s stew, (the vegetables weren’t so crunchy the second time around!) folded laundry and sang along as Vicky serenaded me with a lullaby that she wrote years ago and one of our favorite songs, “You are in Control” by Scott Underwood.
Vicky and I are safe people for each other – no pretense, no judgment – and I am so thankful for the hours that we have together.
We all need safe people in our lives. In their book, “Safe People”, John Townsend and Henry Cloud define a person of safe character as someone who:
- Draws me closer to God
- Draws me closer to others
- Helps me become the person God created me to be
A good friend gives us what we need in the areas of acceptance, support, discipline, modeling, and a host of other relational ingredients that produce change. According to Cloud and Townsend, good friendships that produce growth are characterized by:
- Acceptance and grace.
- Mutual struggles, although they do not have to be the same ones.
- Loving confrontation.
- Both parties need other support systems as well to avoid toxic dependency on each other
- Mutual interest and chemistry, a genuine liking.
- An absence of “one-up and one-down” dynamics.
- Both parties in a relationship with God.
- Honesty and reality instead of “over spiritualizing.”
- An absence of controlling behavior.
When we have a safe friend in our lives, we are blessed.
Safe friends encourage us to look up.