Friend.  It’s a word that can stir up a wide array of thoughts and emotions depending on the absence or presence of friends.  We all want to have good friends, those that feel like a long lost sister, but the jump from stranger to acquaintance to friend is one that we all struggle at times to understand and navigate.  Then, when you throw in crazy life transitions and obstacles into the mix, it gets really tricky.  While we want friendships to feel natural and easy, we have to accept that because of the complexities of life, they also require intentionality so that we can get to that point. So, how do we make this jump from stranger to friend, and how do we then cultivate that friendship so that it grows?  How do we create friendships that last through all the ups, downs, moves and different seasons of life?  

We know how important friendships are, so we’ve put together some reflective journal prompts to help you examine where you are and hopefully aid you in cultivating life-giving friendships.  

What is your history with friendship? 

  • How important are friends to you, and in what ways have they influenced you (positively or negatively)?
  • Think of the friends in your life right now, whether they are close by or you live in different places.  Where did you meet them?  How did you connect with them?  Are you still involved in similar activities? (Thinking back to how we have made healthy friendships in the past can inform us in the ways we naturally form bonds with others and help when we transition to new places.)  
  • Are there any negative friendships in your life right now that are pulling you down in unhealthy ways?  If so, take a moment to write out your thoughts and ask God if this is a friendship you need to continue in at this time.  (Please don’t be afraid to seek wise counsel as it is never necessary to stay in a damaging relationship of any kind.)      

What do your friendships look like?  

  • What do you have in common with your friends?  
  • What are the differences between you and your friends?  
  • Do you respect the commonalities and the differences? 
  • When is the last time that a friend showed kindness to you?  What did they do and how did that make you feel?  
  • How can you show kindness to a friend this week?  Write out your plan and be intentional to do it.  
  • When was the last time you used your words to build a friend up and celebrate her for the unique gift she is to the world?  How can you do that going forward?  
  • If a friend is slow to respond to you, how does this make you feel?  
  • When you are slow to respond, what are the normal reasons for the delay?  How does this inform the way you could respond to your friends in similar situations?  
  • If your friend stopped by when you had no time to clean your home, what emotions would this stir up in you?  
  • We often say or hear that good friends can always “pick up where they left off.”  But, one of the keys to this is intentionality to consistently reach out, even if long periods of time have passed.  So, what friend is this true of – or who do you want this to be true of – and do you need to contact them today so you can pick back up where you left off?
  • Laughter is good for the soul.  When was the last time you laughed with a friend?  What makes you and your friends laugh, and how can you do that more?    

How vulnerable are your friendships? 

  • Being open and honest is powerful in bridging the gap between stranger and friend.  When was the last time you shared vulnerably with someone else (We call this a “no empty words conversation” at Grit & Virtue.) or allowed them to be vulnerable with you?  Does this scare you?  
  • Are you willing to let your friends know when you need something?  Why or why not?  
  • If a friend told you she was in need, how would you respond?  
  • Is there a need you can meet in the life of a friend right now?  (a text, a prayer, an invitation to spend time together, an unexpected gift card to their favorite grocery store, dinner left at their door, etc.) 
  • Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”  Write about what this has looked like in your friendships.  If this is lacking, what can you do to be a friend who is there to rejoice and grieve with those close to her?  
  • We all want to be seen. When you read, see or hear something that reminds you of a friend, do you reach out and tell them?  Telling someone they are thought of and remembered is powerful and gives life.  Is there a friend you can encourage today?  
  • Prayer is powerful and it bonds friends together.  When was the last time you prayed with a friend?  Take a moment to be still and breathe deep.  Is there a friend who comes to mind that you can pray for right now?  Write out your prayer here. Now, can you take it further and text her the prayer you wrote or even call her to pray together?  

Wherever you are right now, whether you have healthy established friendships or are struggling to know how to get there, we pray you will take the steps needed to love big and bold.  May you have the courage to be vulnerable. To open your eyes to see them and allow yourself to be seen.  To open your hands to serve and your heart to be served.  To open your mouth to speak life-giving words and your ears to intentionally listen to whatever needs to be said. To mourn deeply in loss.  To laugh until you cry. To lift up and point to all their successes and support them in their struggles.  May you boldly enter their world, with whatever may be going on, and keep your door open so they can enter yours.  And, most importantly, may you anchor your friendships in Him who loves you most.   


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