Telling the Truth Because Friendship Matters

by | Nov 21, 2011 | Uncategorized

Are you a catch and release friend? 

The pastor asks this question, goes on to challenge.  About how building relationships isn’t a sport; it is coming alongside to invest in people, not  a project to be won.  So I ask God what this kind of authenticity looks like and then remember . . .

In the late afternoon, after I lead a small group, go out to lunch with friends, I slide boots off, slip on athletic shoes and straddle the seat of a beach bike.  I pedal alongside a girlfriend under an umbrella of Fall sun. Our curly locks blow in the breeze, we smile contagious; swerve around  gardeners who glance up from flowerbeds, mirror our expressions and wave.  

She asks if we can snatch thirty minutes before waiting in the school pick-up line to catch up. Because three weeks of doing life pass so quick and she has this window. And I can’t imagine that any errand I have to do is more important than saying yes.

We ride side by side around every cul-de-sac, down every lane in the well-manicured neighborhood, our string of words waving behind us like banner  in the wind.  Afterward we catch our breath, lean into the kitchen cabinets and chug cold water.  She looks me in the eyes and her words love me honest.

She explains that I am more than a catch and release friend to her.  I am a keeper.  And I can tell that she is wondering if I value our friendship the same.

This honesty feels rare. Like finding a snowflake in the middle of the desert – unexpected and welcome surprise.

And I affirm the value of our friendship.  Admit that though I think about her, pray for her often, I am not very good at initiating in the relationship. 

“Actually, you suck at it,” she says smiling in agreement. And though this admonition is startling, the honesty is like God pulling the curtain back to help me see and I am grateful.

Because sometimes we let everything else win over what is most important – showing that we love people.

What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. ~Matthew 4:25

Sometimes when you find yourself being caught and released for what seems more appealing in the sea, you become ambivalent, stop throwing in the line altogether. Let someone else do the fishing.

Whether a girlfriend or a stranger in need, people are not projects and God calls us all to be fisherman. And this telling the truth in love is what authentic looks.  It’s living outside of yourself and being known because of Christ. Christ in us, living through us.

Jesus said to them, “Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.” ~Matthew 4:19

Are you a catch and release friend or are you fishing to keep?

Today, I am thankful for:

  • friends who speak truth
  • family who travel thousands of miles to be with us for Thanksgiving
  • warm weather in November
  • laughter during a family photo shoot
  • boys who wake up happy, make mom giggle 
  • for a short week of routine
  • expectancy that comes with breaking routine
  • imminent travel plans that give hope
  • For Christ, who gives us all reason to be thankful every day.

Linking with Ann, Graceful, Write it Girl!, Playdates with God

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  1. Angi Pratt

    This is so encouraging and filled with truth! What a challenge for me to be better at initiating in friendships (I’m like you and sometimes get busy!) I love your writing style and voice, you can hear the passion behind it. Stopping in from, Write It Girl 🙂

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thanks for your encouragement Angi. It was a wake up call for me to be better about initiating with girlfriends. We have moved so many times that sometimes it feels overwhelming to start over . . . but always worth it!

  2. Lindsey van Niekerk

    This was so powerful and poignant to me in so many ways! It’s a challenge to me to continue to value every person God has given to me as well as to be honest when others, whom I know love me, but are “not very good at initiating either, cause it does hurt when I am last on their list when I know we are closer than that. And yet, it again, reminds me not to do the same to others.

    Thank you for this reminder/challenge!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Lindsey, so nice to read your words. I have enjoyed your blog. Girlfriend relationships become more precious as I grow older but I realize that I have to invest time in order for them to grow. Thanks for your encouragement.

  3. Nadene

    When my boxes were stacked up the wall ready for our move and a new friend came and sat and held my hand and we bowed our heads on the kitchen table and sat weeping, did I realize that I had nearly refused this friendship. I thought there was just not enough time. The Lord whispered deep in my heart that when anyone opens up their heart to friendship – it is His gift! No matter how short or how deep, I am so grateful for the gift of friendships.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      What a lovely picture of deep friendship Nadene. Thanks so much for sharing this snapshot. I agree with you, no matter how deep or long, they are sent by God and I am grateful!

  4. LuAnn

    I thank the Lord for you my loving truth-telling “keeper” of a friend. I thank the Lord for our laughter through all the seasons and years. I love the picture in this blog. I love my friends.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      So thankful beyond words for you my sweet friend. You are high on my list of giving thanks this month. Yes, the laughter. Something we can always count on and look forward to when we are together. Love you too!

  5. Deidra

    I’m guilty. I have a friend who told me this. She leaned back from the table at Panera, folded her arms, looked me in the eyes and told me it’s not easy to get close to me. And she wanted to. And I heard her. Her honesty helped me. I have to work at it, but I’m getting better.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Deidra, love the new profile pic! Yes, I think we probably view friendships through the same lens. So thankful when I do meet friends who aren’t afraid to be honest. They make me a better person and friend.

  6. Branson

    Such a beautiful message here! I know I have been thnking lately how much I wish I had friends here, and I know that I am slow to put myself out there to find people. This reminds me why it is important to try, though!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I so know how you feel. After moving so many times, starting over with friendships, sometimes it is hard to know where to begin. Praying God gives you the courage to make the first move when He prompts you. He knows how much we need girlfriends.

  7. Denise J. Hughes

    “…people are not projects and God calls us all to be fisherman.” I love this! People are not projects. So true. And how precious that your friend reaches out to you. I can so relate to the ambivalence you described. In my friendships, I am usually the one waiting for someone else to take the initiative. Your words are an apt encouragement today! Thank you.

    What a beautiful blog you have!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Denise, I guess this waiting for someone else to make the move in friendship is more common than I realized. Glad to know you feel encouraged by this post and your words encourage me. Blessings!

  8. Katie Orr

    True friends are a gift!

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story.

  9. michelle derusha

    Shelly, I so needed to read this tonight – it’s a major wake-up call. I am, as your friend would say, pretty sucky at reaching out. I am thinking of one good friend in particular who always contacts me first — I *think* about doing it alot…but then I don’t do it. So thank you — I needed this reminder.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I have a faithful friend that most always initiates keeping conversation going even though we live about four hours away. Luckily, she read this and said that the prodding and pursuing has been worth it for her. Now that is a faithful friend. Love your honesty Michelle. It is what endears people to you. Hope you have a happy Thanksgiving celebration.

  10. 29lincolnavenue

    ” Because three weeks of doing life pass so quick and she has this window. And I can’t imagine that any errand I have to do is more important than saying yes.”

    true. true. true.
    i struggle though in the season of littles, how to say yes, when there is not much time to be had? i think, it is in grabbing those moments and communicating quickly – i love you.

    love this! thanks for linking and inspiring me.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Stacey, when my kids were little I started a moms group at our church because we were all struggling with isolation and loneliness. It was how I found the time to cultivate friendships because we all did things with our children. Being intentional is the only way it happens. Thankful for my friend who actually asked to grab that bit of time together. Happy Thanksgiving friend!

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