Advice for the adviceless

Published 4:12 pm Friday, March 15, 2019

This week my friendship skills have been put to the test. I recently joined a women’s Bible study that focuses on developing Christ like friendships. One of the questions that we had to answer is what would your response be if your friend truly opened up and was vulnerable, instead of just saying “I’m fine.”

I responded in my workbook that I would be happy they felt like they could come to me and be there for them in any way I could. That happened this week, four times.

I’ll admit I felt a bit overwhelmed. I felt like I had to give them good advice and take the problems that they were having and put them on my back. I didn’t want them to deal with this alone, and I would never make them.

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However, after four times of advice giving this week I felt inadequate. I stopped thinking my advice was good or even helpful, and I felt doubtful that it would even impact how they were possibly feeling. That’s when I remembered the whole point of the Bible study. Sometimes, you can’t be there and you don’t know that particular experience and that’s okay, because you aren’t expected to. You are expected to pray for friends though.

I remembered that, perhaps a little late. Nevertheless, I created a list of the people who had come to me that week and hung it in my bathroom on the mirror. I wanted it to be there when I was brushing my teeth every morning and night so I could start my day praying for them and end it as well.

I pray that God gives me advice to give them, or that he will bless them and help them in a way that I can’t.

I can’t pretend that this is something I normally do, but this Bible study has reminded me that I can’t fix someone else’s situations, especially if they don’t want them to be fixed. God, though he can fix things in ways we cannot. He has the power to take away those tears they’ve been shedding and the doubts they’ve been having and wipe them away. He can give them that reassurance that I can’t promise.

For that reason, I am vowing to change my ways and pray for my friends even when there isn’t a situation they’ve brought to my attention. I pray for their happiness, their safety and their overall well-being.

I hope if you feel called, you pray for your friends too, because we could all use a prayer and sometimes a hug when life demands it, and sometimes even when it doesn’t.