One fall, eons ago, I pledged a sorority called Kappa Alpha Theta (Gamma Chapter, baby!). Say what you will about the pros and cons of “going Greek”, but it honestly impacted my life for the better.
Now, let’s get one thing straight. Sorority life, and sorority rush in particular (the process of choosing a sorority and being chosen by the one you want to join) isn’t exactly the most fun – or authentic – process a girl can go through. I mean, talk about wearing a mask! It pretty much is the antithesis of authenticity. But in the end, for this Theta-For-Life girl, it all worked out just fine! There is nothing like gaining a houseful of instant “sisters” alongside whom I have continued to walk through life!
To me, one of the oddest things about becoming a full-fledged member (or “initiate”) was that we had to memorize a chapter from the Bible (1 Corinthians 13) and recite it from memory at initiation. Lest you think I joined a particularly spiritual sorority, let me flat out tell you – I DID NOT. It was just one of the silly hoops we had to jump through in order to be eligible for initiation (you know – a light version of hazing, so to speak…which I’m sure doesn’t happen at all these days…) .
I never gave much thought to that chapter after initiation. And to my surprise, when reading this week’s chapter from Holley Gerth’s book, You’re Already Amazing, I was struck by the depth of meaning it actually does hold!
Take a look:
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end. 1 Cor 13:4-7, MSG
THAT is what LOVE looks like. And THAT is why Holley uses it as a “safe person checklist” when considering true, Godly friendships (what I like to call – sister friends!)!
Why is friendship so important to us? Well, probably because our GOD is fully relational! Think about it – the Holy Trinity is three in one, not just ONE! And because we are created in His image, it’s only natural that we are relational as well, isn’t it!
What makes a friend more than an acquaintance? And what makes a sister friend – someone with whom we share not only earthly friendship but also our eternal destiny because of Christ?!
We want people to come alongside us and walk through the good times and bad, accepting us as we are, challenging us to grow, and to faithfully stand by our side. And do you want to know something pretty cool? Those very thoughts are echoed in scripture!
“A friend loves you all the time, but a sister friend was born to help in times of trouble.” Proverbs 17:17 ERV.
Sister friends, sweet sister friends, carry you through the storms, celebrate your victories, support you with their super human strength, and love you no matter what. And I’ll bet you dollars to donuts, you do the same for them.
By yourself you’re unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.
Ecclesiastes 4:12, The Message
Sometimes it’s scary to let yourself be known and fully by someone else. We kinda prefer to keep on the mask, telling everyone that everything is “great”, especially when the opposite is true. But I pray you let scriptures like Ecclesiastes 4:12 and Sirach 6:14-17 encourage you to seek out like minded sister friends to support you in the high moments AND in the moments it feels like life has left you sitting all alone at the middle school lunch table. Stop hiding under that mask. You’re beautiful and I, for one, am dying to see you!
Like Holley says in Chapter 6,
“Hiding is a response out of fear, while guarding is a proactive choice to protect what matters most….What God wants us to avoid is making a habit of hiding that leaves us feeling alone and as if no one really knows us.” Holley Gerth, You’re Already Amazing, copyright 2012.
And THAT’S why it’s important to use scripture like 1 Corinthians 13 (remember that one up there that I had to memorize as a sorority gal?!) to sort of check yourself and make sure you are making good choices in relationships. If you want, you can even replace the word “love” with the phrase “a sister friend”. After doing so, if something doesn’t ring true, perhaps that person isn’t the best choice as best friend! (For example, “A Sister Friend doesn’t keep score…” doesn’t fit a friend who consistently throws your mistakes in your face. Therefore, you can create boundaries to make sure you aren’t letting that person get a front row seat to your life.)
Whether you’ve been blessed with one great friend or many, take a moment today to let at least one of them know how much she means to you. I guarantee you will love the reaction you get – and you, in turn, will find yourself blessed in doing so.
Well, week 6 of our Fall Series is here! So what’s on tap for this week:
1. Rewrite/memorize our scripture for the week (one of my ALL TIME faves!!!)…For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7, NIV.
2. Read Chapter 7 of You’re Already Amazing and complete exercises in the chapter itself, as well as, questions in the Go Deeper Guide at the back of the book!
3. Listen to our song for this week! It’s a new one by the incomparable Steven Curtis Chapman called “Love Take Me Over”! So FUN!!! Here’s a link to listen and see the lyrics! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8DiZhNVu1I