Friendship breakups are a real thing!
Week 4 of Cultivate Book Club Fall 2016
Chapters 5 & 6 of Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst
There must be like 5.2 bazillion songs out there about couples breaking up. Seriously, you can search the radio stations at any given time and find at least one song on a station talking about the heartache of a couple breaking up. WHY?… because breaking up sucks! It breaks our hearts, it leaves us wounded, and it feels really really bad and sucky. And mostly because… everyone can relate! When we break up with a boyfriend there’s so much room to lament over it, there’s language to use to describe it, and there’s a basic universal understanding that it’s a painful thing. However, when it comes to a friendship break up… not so much. There’s no songs to lean into or speak to the condition of our hearts. When someone asks “what’s wrong?” it just seems weird to say “Me and Suzy broke up”. But friendship breaks up are real. I wish they weren’t but they are. I know this because I’ve experienced them first hand. And regardless of if you’re the breakup’er or the breakup’ee~ it still sucks! I’ve been both the unfriended and the unfriender.
At first thought it seems like it’s much better to be the breakup’er doesn’t it? Because then it’s YOU making the choice instead of having the choice made for you. However, having been the unfriender/breakup’er myself before I’m here to tell you that it still sucks! It sucks (and just get ready because I’m going to use the word ‘suck’ a bazillion times because there’s few other words that accurately describe what we’re talking about here) when a friendship that once was the pinnacle of joy for you now is a source of sorrow. It’s quite crazy making actually to try to figure out HOW something and someone that once was so life giving is now causing you pain, frustration, and sucking your soul dry. I know in the few situations I’ve been in like this, the unfriending was never the first choice, rather it’s was ALWAYS a last resort.
It sucks when you have to come to terms with the truth that the friendship that once was no longer is. Sometimes the reasons are super clear, “something” happened! It’s someone’s fault! There is clear blame. Other times it’s sorta a mystery. Sometimes it’s loud, ugly, in your face, messy. Other times, quiet, passive aggressive, distant, and cold (I could argue that this is the worst of the two for me). But, for whatever reason, you feel the friendship as it is (and I think it’s very important to note the phrase as it is here because despite how much you wish it was what it was~ you have to come to terms with what it is) needs to come to an end. Maybe there’s a competitive spirit involved, maybe it’s lying, anger, co dependency, or jealousy. Maybe the friendship isn’t family friendly (meaning it causes strife among your immediate family members… ie. husband or children). Is it a friendship that is bonded in being against others or rooted in gossip~ meaning if you made a pact to not talk about anyone else… would you guys still have anything to say? Maybe the friendship isn’t encouraging you to be a better version of yourself, but you see yourself being the worst version of yourself when you’re together. Maybe it’s a friendship that pulls you away from Jesus instead of pushing you towards Him. Whatever the case, you just know that you know that it isn’t good for you. I think it’s also important to note that being the breakup’er also doesn’t mean that you want it more than the other person, it might just mean that you were brave enough to do it first. I know for me I spend a lot, like a lot a LOT, of time wishing things were different, wishing what has happened wasn’t true, wishing it was what it once was. There’s never been a time when I was the breakup’er that I was happy or excited about it. Even as the unfriender, my heart has been broken… I mean B-R-O-K-E-N! There’s never been a time I didn’t grieve and my heart didn’t ache for a long period of time. No one wins when friendships break up, not even the breakup’er.
When you’re the breakup’ee, even if you have all of the above knowledge and feelings, now rejection has been added into the mix, and let’s be honest… now all we focus on is the sting of the rejection~ even if we know it’s best and right for us too. That’s the thing about rejection~ it completely clouds our judgement and causes us to live feeling anything but loved. Being unfriended (aka rejected) sucks! Sucks so bad! Especially if it’s not what we want at all. It makes us question ourselves and others. It can make us call into question our value and worth. “If this person doesn’t like me anymore, am I likeable?” Sometimes we feel replaced or we actually are (let’s just be real) replaced by someone else, this happens. Being replaced sucks. I literally have had a situation in my life where I would see my (ex) friend and think to myself, “there’s her new Tammy”. Guess how that feels? You guessed it… it feels SUCKY! No one wins in a friendship breakup, especially the breakup’ee because they now only have the loss BUT also the sting and lies rejection leaves with us.
So why do friendships breakup? The answer to this… for a bazillion different reasons, but most of all because we’re a broken people. We’re broken, they’re broken, two broken people in a relationship are going to, well… have some breaks. You’re messy broken places are going to come out on them, and their messy broken places are going to come out towards you. There’s no getting around this. This is us living in a fallen, broken, sinful world. Some people’s brokenness is going to rub your brokenness all wrong, and your brokenness is going to rub their brokenness all wrong. Typically when we start out as friends we’re in a best foot forward/honeymoon phase. Everything is fun, easy, natural… and then! And then, eventually, as time goes on and life get’s real… inevitably there’s going to be rub. And why some friendships can withstand more rubs than others I have no idea but they just do. And the one’s who can’t… they breakup.
Whether you’re the breakup’er or the breakup’ee here are somethings I know to be true when it comes to friendship breakups:
“THEY” are not the devil.
Although the friendship is over… that person isn’t the devil himself. STOP IT, they’re not! You yourself used to love them dearly. WHY?… because there is something loveable about them. In the friendships I’ve lost, especially the one’s that hurt me the most, regardless of who unfriended who, I now try to remind myself of the things that are really great about that person. Which, in the spirit of being real, sometimes is like rubbing salt in the wound because it makes me miss those things, miss what was. BUT it’s still the right thing to do~ to remember the good in them. If we don’t, we put ourselves in harms way of being prideful and bitter. Two things that are spiritual cancers to our souls. Not worth it I tell you!
“THEY” are not your enemy.
God’s word tell us…
“we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
We have to trust this to be true! We have a real enemy, and as much as it might feel like it, it is not each other. Just because a friend isn’t good for YOU doesn’t mean they aren’t good at all. Remember this friends. This matters! When we are at odds with each other, when we are against each other… we are much more likely to fall into sin. We dig our heels into being right, so much so that we become so very wrong. We justify unforgiveness, we consider ourselves better than each other when the bible tells us to do just the opposite. All of this~ is a win for our real enemy. The one who wants us to do anything but live loved. The bible says he comes to steal, kill, and destroy. When we forget who our real enemy is, satan, we do his dirty work for him. All the while being completely distracted from our true calling, identity, and purpose in Christ. Not to mention being anything BUT a light to this world. Instead, we perpetuate darkness. Yikes right?!
Friendships are for a season.
As much as we all wish this wasn’t true, it is. In our heart of hearts we women really do want the idea of the BFFEAE (best friends for ever and ever) to be the real thing. Some seasons are longer than others, but season’s are still seasons. And instead of being upset that a season with someone ended (even if it ended poorly), instead try to be grateful that there was a season at all. For a time that person was life giving to you, they brought you joy, laughter, companionship. God brought you together for a purpose. In this season~ He had something for each of you to experience and learn together. Maybe they walked through hard times with you or you with them, maybe you achieved something together (like survived high school, or college, or med school), maybe you were neighbors, or coworkers and that intersected your paths. Whatever it was that brought you together~ be grateful. Thank God for the sweet season in your life, for the person they were to you, for the joy they brought to you, for the things you learned, for the life that was had. By doing this simple act of gratitude you choose grace instead of bitterness. No season is ever a waste, each has it’s own unique beauty and struggle. Appreciate the beauty of the season
You guys, it’s OK to be sad that things are different, I know I am! It’s natural to miss the good times, to wish things hadn’t changed, but that’s not where we stay~ it’s not real (anymore). But just because that’s not the real you guys anymore doesn’t mean (and this is what I hope you remember most) that you must be enemies now. It absolutely does not!! It means you aren’t close friends anymore. Here’s what you and I are responsible for…
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18
As far as depends on us, live at peace… with the friends who used to be some of our best friends but now we’re not friends anymore… as much as it depends on us~ still be kind to those people. Whether you were the breakup’er or the breakup’ee… you’re still called to be at peace. And peace in these situations most likely will come in the form of kindness. Saying hello and a smile when you bump into each other at Target, a simple happy birthday text, or maybe just NOT talking about them behind their backs… all of these are simple acts of kindness. Simple and totally doable! Trust me when I tell you that the fewer enemies you have out there, the better off you’ll be.
Recently I’ve found myself in somewhat of a friendship breakup and my heart is still currently broken. These are not things I say to you from a place of having conquered them, I’m saying them to you while I’m still ‘in’ them. As I’ve navigated and wrestled with it, with the who’s fault, with the why’s, with the wishing it was what it was and not what it is, reminding myself they’re not the devil, that they’re not an enemy. All of this! And like I’m encouraging you to do… trying to navigate kindness in what is our new normal. I’ll tell you~ it hasn’t been easy, but I know it’s worth it. I’ve sent texts letting them know how thankful I am for our season… you know why? because I am. When I see them, I say hi, even if I have to muster up the courage and humility to say it first. Pride wants me to wait for them to say it first, but gratitude and grace urges me to say it first because you know why… as far as depends on me I want to be at peace.
Friendship breakups suck!<<Told you I was gonna say it a ton>> They just do, there’s no denying it, but in the midst of and in spite of… we need to remember that although that friendship didn’t work out~ we are still worthy of love and belonging, that there is still great friendships to be had, and that regardless of others we are still deeply and unconditionally loved by God.
Live loved friends,
This week’s statement to hold on to:
“God’s faithfulness is not dependant on my faithfulness” ~ Becca Boganwright
This week’s small group discussion & journal questions:
- In what ways have you been wounded by others that have affected your capacity to trust?
- What relationship in your life do you wish you could mend?
- How have you allowed your mistrust in people affect your trust in God? Mark 9:24 – “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.” Think about the areas that you trust God and the areas that you don’t. Bring this prayer to Him and allow Him to help your areas of unbelief.
- What is one specific way you can be a part of mending someone else’s mistrust in people and/or God?
- What were your biggest “takeaways” from Chapters 5 and 6?