Longing For Friendship - What Makes a "Heart Friend"
Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.
A heart friend is someone who loves you deeply yet selflessly, who listens carefully and speaks back truthfully, who seeks to build you up and always points you back towards the Lord, who restrains their tongue, and who is perfectly content chatting over a cup of tea and a basket of laundry.
Since we are celebrating and studying “heart friends” all month long on the Purpose of Motherhood blog and podcast, I thought today would be a great day to dive into the specifics of what a heart friend truly is!
Though there are many qualities one can possess which makes them an excellent friend, these are the ones which I think make the top of the list.
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Philippians 2:3
Women, from the beginning, were born with this strong desire to connect and live in relationship. (After all, God created us after Adam. We were specifically crafted to be in union!) When we transfer this to friendship though, we can often put the same strains on it, as if it were a marriage. This leads to jealously and anger, and will eventually stifle the life out of the friendship.
The dearest friends see you as valuable and understand they aren’t designed to be your sole provider for your emotional needs and vice versa. With that maturity, they are able to love you deeply, see the rarities and beautiful design, but aren’t jealous or territorial over it.
Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Colossians 3:9-10
While truth should never be delivered without love, love should also never be afraid to deliver truth. We don’t need friends who agree with our every thought and decision, never challenging us to seek truth in God’s word. Those friends will let you drown in self-pity before challenging you to seek God’s help in rising above your situation. Friends who validate our sinful habits or un-Godly attitudes aren’t friends who will help us flourish.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Heart friends are like a watering can to a garden, you should feel refreshed and inspired when you leave, not drained and discouraged. We are called to build one another up and to focus on things that are lovely, pure, and true. If you spend too much time around someone who continually points out the negative, who lets fear and ‘what ifs” rule her thinking, or who doesn’t allow herself or you to dream big, it’s time to let go. You deserve friends who are your biggest cheerleaders!
4. Christ Focused
Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 1 Corinthians 15:33
Your inner circle of friends is where you will pull your nourishment from, so make sure the soil is good! It’s okay to have friends who aren’t saved, but they can not be in your inner circle of heart friends. You must protect yourself from being led astray by ensuring your core group are women who love the Lord and are set on following his ways. In this way, you will become like iron sharpening iron.
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
The most enjoyable company are those who are able to sit and enjoy the moment, focusing on eternal gain, not earthly advances. Surround yourselves with money seeking, label worshipping, and title chasing friends and you will find yourself in a relentless cycle of depression and discontentment. Earthly treasures were never meant to satisfy our deepest needs, and when we place them as idols in our lives, our joy will quickly be stifled. Instead, surround yourselves with women who chase after treasure in heaven and who aren’t impressed by designer clothes and social status. There you will find genuine connection and grace.
Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered. Proverbs 11:13
You know how your friend will talk about you when you listen to how she talks about others. Do not entertain friendships that thrive on airing others’ dirty laundry. By setting your standards higher, and not allowing a culture of gossip to invade your friendships, you set the stage for friendships that encourage and flourish, not drain and destroy.
And when we choose our friends wisely, by watching the way they speak and live, we act as protective gardeners, rejecting weeds in order to allow life, truth, and joy to continue to flourish in our hearts.
One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. Proverbs 11:24-25
To love is to give and to give is to love. Setting the example of Christ’s open arms and generous heart, a true heart friend is one who would give you the shirt off their back and feeds your kids just like they were her own. When we choose friends who radiate generosity, it will inadvertently transfer to us as well, create a culture of giving.
Want to know God's perfect design for friendship? Read more here!
Also, catch the entire series on the Purpose of Motherhood Podcast!