Me and best friend Katie under the Robin Hood tree along Hadrian's Wall, Northern England

Real friends share joy

Isn’t it amazing how friends can cheer you up? I can be having a cloudy sort of day, and getting to talk to a friend can suddenly make it seem like the sun is shining again. And it’s not really that anything has changed. It’s just my attitude, my perspective on life. When I am reminded how much my friends love me–and in return, how much I love them–it’s difficult to frown.

Yesterday wasn’t a bad day. On the contrary, it was actually a pretty good day. The water’s gone down outside the house. I got a lot of work done at the office. All the components of a good day were there, but I’ll admit I was a little gloomy. Not sure why. Maybe I don’t need a reason. But on break I got to Skype with my best friend who’s in England and after work I got to go over to my other best friend’s house to spend a little time with her and her awesome husband and their beautiful inexplicably already two-month-old daughter, Audrey. And on my way home, I realized that I was just vibrating with happiness.

I was reminded again what it means to be a really great friend, and that’s meeting your friends where they are and sharing their joy.

Me and best friend Katie under the Robin Hood tree along Hadrian's Wall, Northern England

Me and best friend Katie under the Robin Hood tree along Hadrian’s Wall, Northern England

Today’s verses are Romans 12:9-16.

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

This passage isn’t exactly about friendship. It’s more of Paul’s instructions on how to live a life according to God’s will. But if you think about it it’s a pretty good check list for making and retaining friendships.

I have been blessed in my life with friends who celebrate with me when I succeed or when I accomplish something. I have also had a few friends, at least they called themselves friends, who didn’t find my successes all that exciting. And that does something to your heart when the person you’ve chosen to share a part of your life with doesn’t get excited when you are. For me, a friend who doesn’t rejoice with me indicates that maybe I’m being overly emotional or silly, because if it’s not worth them celebrating, maybe I shouldn’t be celebrating either. But that’s me, or it used to be. Now I have learned what real friendship looks like. And real friendship means you rejoice with your friends.

That’s what’s great about joy. There’s always more than enough to go around. Yes, it’s important to share your sorrows with friends too, but there’s something about sharing joy that makes you both better. I got to do that last night. I got to share in the marvelous joy of the miracle that is Baby Hoo. And I got to share my joy and my recent successes with my friend, Baby Hoo’s awesome mommy. Between the two of us there was so much joy going on in their living room, I’m surprised the roof stayed attached!

If you have friends in your life who drag you down, change your friends. Friends are there to help us, to support us, to encourage us, to mourn with us when we’re sad and to dance for joy with us when we’re happy and generally excited about life. Friends who take your joy and treat it like it’s not important aren’t friends, and they’ll bring more trouble to your life than help.

Don’t hesitate to rejoice. Don’t be reluctant to be happy. And absolutely share your joy with the people who care about you. It’s good for them, and it’s good for you too.

Baby Hoo is 2 months old!

Baby Hoo is 2 months old!

And because I’m that kind of friend, behold the face of Baby Hoo and fall in love like I have. I promise, she’s ten times cuter and smarter and more adorable than this photo can tell … and I’m not biased at all. =)

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