God’s Word is clear that we are not meant to travel solo through this world. That we need good traveling companions who can help us stay on the right path and encourage us to keep going when we feel like setting up a permanent camp at what should be a rest stop.
But I have the tendency – especially when I’m hurting or confused or even just overly tired – to think I can operate solo. However, here is what the Bible has to say about that:
He who separates himself seeks his own desire, he quarrels against all sound wisdom. (Prov. 18:1)
I don’t want to quarrel against all sound wisdom!
I don’t want to quarrel at all. And sometimes that is why I find myself pulling away or retreating from a friend who has challenged my thinking or questioned my choices. But at other times, I know my retreat into solitude has more to do with my own stubbornness. And my desire to do what I want instead of what is best.
The friendships I treasure most are the ones where truth is spoken freely.
In love of course, but freely enough that sometimes the words can wound, irritate, or annoy. Or make me feel like I just want to go home and watch a marathon session of something on Netflix until I’m ready to face the world again.
If I’m feeling particularly spiritual, I might call this kind of retreat a “quiet time.” Or I might claim that I need to “spend some time alone with the Lord.” Both very valid reasons to get away, by ourselves, and enjoy the peace and quiet that come from solitude and prayer. (See my recent post Born to Run.) But I’m talking about something different here. This is about finding the courage and strength to stay and hear what someone who loves you has to say.
As iron sharpens iron, our relationships are meant to help us become more and more like Christ. Through the regular practice of healthy relationship skills.
And just like swimming or driving a car, we can’t learn these skills simply by reading about them. Or even by praying about them. We’ve got to practice them in real life. Learning to be humble, teachable, and accountable to folks who love us and want to help us grow requires that we jump into the proverbial water and start dog paddling.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
Unless I choose to humble myself and become willing to listen to the friends God places in my life, friends who will hold me accountable and tell me the truth I need to hear, I become the one who falls with no one to help me up. A woman to be pitied. And I know that’s not the abundant, joy-filled life God created me for.
Will you join me in the quest to resist going solo? To keep our hearts open to the sound wisdom of those who love us?
How have you created a healthy community of friends who lovingly speak the truth into your life? Please share your experience in the comments section below.