Sunday, January 05, 2014

Friendship for Grownups, What I Missed and Learned Along the Way by Lisa Whelchel

It's only the 5th day of the new year, and I already finished reading my first book! This is truly remarkable. But, this is what happens when the entire family but me is sick for an entire week. What a way to ring in the New Year, huh?!

Anyway, back to the book. There is a great summary of this book over at amazon:\
I am not the best at summaries, concise ones anyway.

But, I thought I'd share a couple thoughts I had about the book.

1. More Christians need to read this book. I believe there are too many God fearing people fearing rejection more than they fear God, too many playing it safe in relationships and not being truly known.  As Lisa Whelchel comments several times in the book, intimacy with others can be described with the three words, "into me see."  I wonder how many folks are missing out on true intimacy with others and even moreso, with God because they have walls of protection built up around their hearts, barricading them from the blessing of being known.

2. Her chapter entitled, "Afraid to be Free" was probably the most meaningful to me as she tackles what feels an elusive leap for me personally from living law bound to walking free in the grace of God.  One sentence that was highlighted AND starred in the margin reflects a shift that has been taking place recently for me in my view of God and my relationship with Him. It reads, "Maybe 'not sinning' isn't the primary goal.  Maybe staying close to the Father is the goal--and the answer to that very question*.)  *The question she is referring to is what keeps one from sinning if one embraces grace.

3. The last thing I read in the book, and almost skipped because I "judged" the initial lines as cheesy, ended up being one of the most endearing, well written parts of the entire book. And, it's in the appendix!
She calls it a "prose poem" (which I think I am discovering to be my favorite style of writing), and it articulates the longings one has for a friend, a deep kind of connection to another human being other than one's spouse, children or other family that closest reflects our friendship with Jesus.  The last line of this prose poem is addressed to Jesus and reads, "First, you gave your life. And then you gave me a friend....for life." I love how her words strike this delicate balance of upholding the truth that there is no friend like Jesus, and He is all we need while also affirming our need for deep connection with other earth bound humans.

4. Lastly, in this season of my life, having moved into a new neighborhood and attending a new church, I greatly appreciated what served as a "refresher course" of sorts in how to build meaningful friendships and deep connections with others. A practical part of the book comes at the very end, again in the appendix, where Lisa gives practical steps for developing and growing friendships and also provides tens of conversation prompts to begin branching out in the sometimes scary but always worthwhile pursuit of friendship.

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