In Search of True Friendship

Youth Inspire Reflection

A group of middle school students got together for a lock-in & ski day last month. We hit the slopes – ten skiers and one expert 6th grade gal on her snowboard – on one of the first bluebird days in weeks – picturesque!

Over the 24 hours, the students had a blast together and shared in some reflective moments. We spent time pondering what it means to be a good friend.

“Share about a friend who, looking back through their life, has really meant a lot to you.”

“What about this friend makes them so special?”

Their responses inspired me: someone who really challenges them to be the best they can be, someone who (even though they only see each other once a year) is irreplaceable, someone who showed vulnerability and asked for help, someone who welcomed them on a scary first day of kindergarten, and on…

Our youth know exactly what a good friend looks like – are we surprised?

I’m betting we recognize these special friends, too. Think about it – what friends have been important to you in periods of your life. What do you notice? What kinds of friends do you gather around you? What does this tell you about yourself? 1

As Christians, we look to Jesus to understand true friendship – a genuine, deep, intentional relationship. Jesus modeled what it means to live in community. Jesus illuminated that true friendship is an extension of love, by elevating our status, “Instead, I have called you my friends, for everything I learned from my father, I have made known to you.” (John 15:15).

This is spiritual friendship. A next-level friendship. It stems from a desire to be in a relationship that inspires us to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. It is a commitment to support, encourage and pray for each other. 1 Doesn’t that desire hit home? We need these kinds of friendships. We are built to need these kinds of friendships.

As we equip our youth with faith for their journeys – I hope we are also working to be students of Jesus. Extending love. Living in community. Journeying with each other in spiritual friendships. It’s how we are called to live out our faith, in celebration of the greatest Friendship we have received through Christ.

Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, Practices that Transform Us by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun

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