Friendships: Opportunities, Not Pressures
We've all felt the pressure to be popular - and all too often this can distract us from living for Jesus. This is a fantastic post from Katie about how to spot opportunities in our friendships, and how to put God first. Enjoy! MP Team x
Popularity is something that many of us want. We want to be accepted, liked by people, don't we? It will be something that we grapple with all the way through life whether it is at school, now or in the workplace when we are older or even at church (surprising hey?).
Being a Christian doesn't mean that you can't be popular, and being a Christian certainly doesn't mean you can't have lots of fun. You definitely can! But who is our focus on? It's important for us not to think too much about ourselves and what we want (which I know I do a lot) but instead to think about Jesus and what He would want.
We need, for example, to think about our friendships and whether they are helping us to live for Jesus or not. A verse that has really helped me in how I think about friendships is:
"Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders: make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." (Colossians 4:5-6)
In my friendships, "making the most of every opportunity" has helped me to be praying for my friends - praying for opportunities for speaking about Jesus to naturally come up in our conversations and for them to be able to see how He is changing me even in normal everyday life.
Just this last week as I was sitting with my friend during lunch she noticed a picture of Esther on a poster in our kitchen and said "Who is Esther?!" This was amazing as Esther is my favourite book, and so I was able to tell her the story of Esther and a bit about what it is doing in the Bible.
Seasoned with salt
I have also been really challenged by, "Let your conversation always be full of grace, seasoned with salt". Girls are renowned for gossiping at school, and this isn't gracious speech - but it is so easy to be caught up in the flow and go along with everyone else. Sometimes it is really hard to either stay quiet or to stand up for someone who isn't there or say the hard things that people don't want to hear. I don't like standing out from my friends and going against the crowd.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be friends with the popular people. After all, everyone needs to hear about Jesus! However, I often found it especially hard to put God first in those friendships. I was more concerned with fitting in and being liked by them than living the way God would want me to. I was tempted to put those friends and what they thought first before God and what He wants.
We need to remember that Jesus is the most important person in our lives - not us! And therefore it doesn't matter what our popularity status is at school. Jesus' opinion is what matters. Let's be girls who seek opportunities in our friendships, and rise above the pressures of popularity, serving Jesus first.
Katie is in her last year at sixth form college and already looking forward to the adventure of university. She lives in a town called Leyland in the north west of England. She loves baking, spending time with friends and more importantly Jesus!