Believe it or not, I don’t like sharing my feelings. Though I cry a lot and sometimes even in front of people, I’m always extremely embarrassed by it, and if I could control that, I would! It is rare that I will just tell you how I feel about something unless you ask, and even then, I choose my words wisely. I, for one, appreciate my friends who have asked me questions that allow me to open up because I’m just not that person who spews her feelings out to anyone who will listen.
I remember when I started attending a new church two years ago. One of the girls invited me over to her house. We jumped in her jeep and went to get snow cones downtown. With our snow cones, we sat and talked. She asked me about my life, and I asked her about hers. Within a couple hours, she knew more about me than people I had known for quite awhile. Why? Because she asked questions. We talked about our families, our favorite things to do, and we talked about some of our desires and things we love.
Our conversation didn’t start and end with what we see around us but what we see inside us.
Many times, I’ve noticed that more times than I’d like, my conversations and others’ conversations consist of everything but us. We talk about the weather. We talk about sports or a show we like. We might talk about how our family is doing or what someone did at work, but how often do we talk about our struggles, our triumphs, our desires, our frustrations, or what brings us joy?
I believe conversation like this is necessary because conversation is often a conduit of growth, and when you talk to someone about yourself, you allow that person to “sharpen you” by offering a different perspective. That friend is able to offer a different, sometimes better, perspective because they can see things you might not see. In my own limited perspective I can only see so much. When I allow a friend to come alongside me and speak into my life, I can allow change to happen in a way that is most Biblical and most beautiful.
Remember in school that pencil that would always break? You’d be writing… snap… writing… snap… writing… snap! Your story resembles that pencil in such a profound way. Slowly but surely your story is being written… all of sudden, life happens, and you have been broken. You need a sharpener.
The only way to keep writing is with a sharpener.
You lose a job. Snap.
You get a terrible diagnosis from a doctor. Snap.
Your family member dies. Snap.
You feel life is just too hard. Snap.
All of the situations above and those like them seem like story interruptions. You feel hopeless at times, but then your friends come alongside you to lift you up, to hold you accountable, and to say, “Your story isn’t over yet!” That’s how your story continues.
My friend says things to me like, “Mytra, how’s your heart today?” I try to give an honest answer, and then, like a pencil sharpener to a pencil that keeps breaking during that important test at school, that friend sharpens me by saying things like, “You’ve got this,” “You’re going to make it,” or “Jesus is with you through it all.”
And sometimes, if I am honest with you, it hurts because it rubs the wrong way. I’m hurting, and someone is saying, “It’s all going to be okay, God’s got this!” I just don’t believe it because it’s so hard to believe. But one day, I wake up, and I realize that I do believe it! I realize that I made it through the test.
My pencil kept breaking, life kept interrupting me, but I finished well. I passed that test but not without the sharpening.
Do you have a friend like that? Do you have a friend that will sharpen you during the tests of life? If you do not, pray about who that friend can be. Maybe it’s someone already in your life, or maybe it’s someone you’ve yet to meet. Find that friend, and then, have a meaningful conversation, a conversation that might be hard, but in the end, you’ve been sharpened, and your story is being written.
“As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17