Friendship: Finding Soul Healers

two young female friends with coffee talking in living room

The desire for meaningful friendship is universal for women. Finding a companion who laughs at the same quirky situations and relishes similar pastimes is a cherished jewel. Women desperate for connection allow many friendships to survive despite unhealthy dynamics spurred on by materialism, competition, manipulation, or misguided life goals. Not surprisingly, those friendships fail to provide the nutritional fuel and soul connection women crave. So how do you find and develop that perfect friendship? Perfect is impossible. However, there are some helpful self-checks and emotional health indicators as you consider how to draw and recognize high-quality friends.
 

Be the Friend You Desire

There’s an inexplicable magnet inside each of us that attracts people of equal emotional and spiritual health. The first step to creating a soul-healing friendship is being the wholesome, Christlike contributor desired in a counterpart. Is spiritual development sought through in-depth, committed Bible study? Is missions involvement a regular part of life’s activities? Does a flourishing prayer life exist—with petitions for God to reveal opportunities for repentance? Is there a willingness to wrestle through painful correction?

God loves a humble heart. Once a person genuinely seeks God’s revelation of truth in her life, and especially if she has a regular diet of Scripture, a domino effect of healing and growth occurs. Regular confession yields a healthier and more attractive relationship participant. And people living out their faith through missions involvement are far less likely to be self-absorbed than those who aren’t involved in sacrificial service. Pondering a friend’s potential response to these same questions may help in evaluating further investment in that relationship.
 

Cheerleaders Wanted

Finding a friend who cheers on a peer’s success is one of the best gauges of a person’s emotional health. It is natural to feel some discomfort when a peer excels in an area of importance. Pregnancy, career advancement, and an invitation to leadership inside a revered church ministry can all be unexpected game changers for a friendship. These situations may spur a friend to feel threatened or be more aware of her own (perceived or real) shortcomings. Deep-seated insecurities can surface, even among Christian women, if an unresolved past issue or buried bitter root remains in either person.

Similarly, the peer experiencing the kudos may fight the temptation for unhealthy ego growth, which creates understandable and unwelcome tension in a relationship. However, discovering a friend who can applaud her peer’s honors from the sidelines is uncovering a rare treasure.
 

Mutual Respect Required

A well-fitting friendship involves 2 people who fundamentally like each other’s personality. A unique harmony is created when the pair brings out the best in each other and shares equal respect. One friend is often called to nudge the other when opportunities for positive influence emerge. Friendships are one of God’s earthly means for bringing Christlike change in people.

However, when mutual respect is missing, an unhealthy superior/inferior dynamic may emerge. Beware of chronic advice givers, who may subconsciously seek relationships where they can play out their need to feel better about themselves. Flaw finders usually battle their own well-camouflaged self-esteem issues and may not have a good sense of appropriate boundaries.
 

Even in cases where 1 friend has legitimate character deficiencies, it is important to remember that transformation is ultimately God’s job. Friends who know the few moments when offering an unrequested opinion is suitable possess the invaluable traits of patience, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22–23).


Want a simple tool to help you build a godly friendship? Check out Authentic Girlfriends.


Amy Fenton Lee enjoys addressing relational etiquette and character development. Exploring friendship through God’s eyes is one of her favorite writing topics.

 

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