Quieting the Shout of Should

Day 4 of 7 • This day’s reading

Devotional

“Do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.”

—James 3:18 MSG

Read James 3:17-18

Over the course of my career, I have been told to spend more time making friends and then told to spend less time socializing. I’ve been told that I should stop worrying so much about what everyone else is doing, and I’ve been reprimanded for blazing my own trail instead of following along. I have put myself out there to make friends with women I work with, only to watch the relationship crumble on an unsteady base of gossip and comparison. Is it any wonder I prefer to work at home?

For one of my former jobs, I traveled around the country as an MC for events that were focused on friendship. Today’s verse was part of our core message, and even in the middle of those events, surrounded by cupcakes and confetti, talking about friendship was much easier than actually being a good friend. It’s easy to talk about “being the friend you wish you had” and encouraging women to “just put yourself out there with one small, brave step.” It’s another thing to actually do the work.

Struggling to make or keep friends isn’t something new. We can’t blame it on social media or our busy lives when we see scripture that encourages us to “do the hard work of getting along” (James 3:18 MSG). It’s not about putting on a mask and pretending to be someone you’re not or listening to the shouts of “should” that tell you friendship can only look a certain way or requires a certain number of people. Friendships, the kind that last, are built on the solid foundation of Jesus, where the overflow pours honor and dignity into the lives of those around us. It takes hard work, intentional time with God, and courage to commit to doing this well with just one other person.

Quiet Quest: When it comes to forming lasting friendships, who are the women in your life who have done this well? When you look at the friendships in your life right now, are there areas that need a little TLC or hard work? As you spend time with God today, ask Him for just one name of one woman who needs to be encouraged, honored, or included, and then commit to doing the hard work of consistently showing her grace and love. Commit to building up a community of women who can show the next generation how powerful friendship can be in God’s kingdom.