“Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.” – Proverbs 27:9 ESV
Isn’t that a beautiful idea, that our friendships can be sweet! That our hearts and lives can be filled with joy when a beloved friend provides wise words or encouragement as we celebrate the highs and share the lows with each other.
I have experienced such sweet friendship that refreshes me in my darkest days and lowest moments. Not long ago I got to spend an afternoon with a friend that absolutely nourished my soul. We sat outside surrounded by God’s beautiful creation and throughout our time together we encouraged each other, we reminded each other how God had moved mountains in the past for us and we affirmed each other through silent listening and words of wisdom. We laughed with each other, cried tears together and prayed for one another.
Saint Brigid of Kildare once said “a person without a soul friend is like a body without a head.” The truth is we are meant to be in community with each other and there is no doubt that friendships are the foundation on which we build our lives. During these past two years as we have had to socially distance ourselves from each other due to the pandemic, I think it is more important than ever that we take time to cultivate sweet friendships that can refresh our weary souls and that can provide sound guidance as we walk through this journey.
Let’s take a look at God’s intention for what sweet friendship should be:
A sweet friend is authentic. In a sweet friendship you can completely be yourself. There is no need to compare or compete with each other, it’s all about showing up as your authentic self. When you are with each other you don’t have to impress one another, rather you can bring the messiness of life and can be vulnerable with one another.
A sweet friend is a safe space. A sweet friend doesn’t always tell you what you want to hear, instead they will also speak truth into your life even when the truth may be tough to hear. However, they do so in a loving manner that makes you feel safe rather than harmed.
A sweet friend is loyal. They will walk with you through the trials of life and will be there for you. You are not alone when you have a sweet friend in your life no matter if you live next door to each other or thousands of miles apart.
A sweet friend is an encourager. In 1 Thessalonians 5:11 it says “therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (ESV) Sweet friends encourage one another when they have good news, scary news or hard news. They share a positive attitude with you and help build you up even in the tough times and fill you with hope.
A sweet friend is an enjoyer. Sweet friends love to wonder with you, celebrate with you and enjoy moments in life with you. It is true that things are best enjoyed in community and of all the things we enjoy, God is the greatest. Sweet friends help us enjoy God as we talk about how He is showing up and out in our lives or how He is speaking to our hearts.
Now maybe after reading about sweet friendships you find yourself desiring that type of connection, but you just don’t know where to find one. Don’t be dismayed, a sweet friend is closer than you think.
“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”
John 15:15 ESV
Let God be your sweet friend in life. He is right here waiting for you to invite Him into your life and provide you with wise counsel.
You also can make sure that you are a sweet friend to yourself. How do you talk to or treat yourself? Be your own champion and encourager. Finally, be a sweet friend for someone else. What would this world be like if every morning every single person woke up thinking about how they can be a sweet friend to the people they meet? Pretty awesome, right?!
This week, take some time to reflect on how you can be the type of friend that you want to find in your life.
You don’t need lots of friends in this life, but you do need a few sweet ones. A sweet friendship is a true gift from God and He uses it to refresh our souls and guide us. I pray that you have these very friendships in your life and that you are a sweet friend yourself to the people you meet.
Lord, help us to be friends that refresh each other and provide words of wisdom. Teach us to be vulnerable to those closest to us, especially to the Ultimate Sweet Friend, our Lord and Savior, so that we can experience the community you created us for. Amen.