Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Some Thoughts on Friendship

I am super thrilled for today's post about friendship. I asked one of my oldest (but we're still young ;-) ) friends Joshua Grubb to answer a couple of question for me. Well as a matter of fact he is a writer and turned this whole thing into a beautiful article about friendship (you can read more by him on his blog STAND).
We in fact have been friends since we were both 13 and have been long distance friends for nearly 8 years now. I believe part of the reason why we are still friends and still regularly talk is because we made a choice to be friends and invest in the friendship as it is only then that it can grow and continue...

The oldest picture available from 2002

Some Thoughts on Friendship
by J.D. Grubb

What is friendship? Who is a friend? Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines “friend” as “one attached to another by affection or esteem.” The World English Dictionary elaborates, defining “friend” as “a person known well to another and regarded with liking, affection, and loyalty; an intimate.”

Friends share a unique connection with one another: a level of trust or intimacy. In friendship there is a mutual commitment and desire to support and serve one another. In it there is a bridge of love that extends beyond the general love or respect of mankind, but that does not quite surpass the level of love that is shared in marriage. To differentiate, for example, an acquaintance is defined by Webster as “a favored companion”, or someone with whom one if familiar. An acquaintance holds less sway than a friend. They are important, but they are not to be equated with true friends. Though the term “friend”, like “love”, is often used somewhat broadly and casually, perhaps it should really be thought of as those deemed as best or closest friends. Most people can be friendly with others, and most people usually have various circles of friends. Acquaintances and casual friends are important and can lead to true friendships. But to be clear, when I write or think of friendship it will be with regard to those considered in the innermost circle: the closest friends—those whose opinions are identified and valued above the general crowd and who are shown the greatest attention and effort. Friends are, in effect, like family.

Joshua's graduation back in 2003

Finding, developing, and sustaining friendships throughout life may be rooted in these principles, but it is certainly not limited to them. It is messier than that. It is more organic, more stunning. As we progress through life the roots deepen and expand, but do not necessarily change beyond recognition or disappear. Ideally, they reach new depths and affix new layers. Ideally, they grow and branch out to strengthen our character and perspective—our ability to receive friendship and offer friendship to others.

In the early years, from birth through primary school, life is often understood through a filter of desirable and undesirable—likes and dislikes. Observe a baby for any time and this quickly becomes evident. Thankfully our worldview gradually expands and comes to include a sense of right and wrong, good and bad, and later even more complex realizations. Life seems simple as a child, often understood through a filter of playful possibilities protected by family and community.

For example, I generally made friends through shared interests and values as taught by family. There was little thought as to where the friendships were going or how they would benefit or hinder my pursuits. We simply wanted to share adventures with each other, to imagine new worlds and possibilities together. Friendship was about acceptance and encouragement at the most basic level. It was about just having fun together in almost any environment.
Graduation from College in 2007 when I was studying abroad in Santa Barbara

As I have grown older, however, life’s complications seem to persist in gradually revealing themselves and adjusting that worldview. I moved to southern Germany when I was twelve years old. It was hard to leave the friendships of primary school behind; yet it was also relatively natural in that we were all facing a significant transition anyway (i.e. middle school and puberty). I was excited to embark on a great adventure overseas from my place of origins. Though shy as a youth, I anticipated meeting and befriending new people, and having new adventures. That has not really changed. Yet so much does change when we enter our teenage years. By moving away to another country, most of my friendships faded due to distance and a lack of shared experiences (or growing up) together. The same occurred after I graduated from high school and returned to the United States to study for my bachelor’s degree, as well as when I graduated from college and moved back to Colorado. Yet because I have deliberately tried to remain committed and loyal to my friends, I have by the grace of God preserved my closest friendship from the various chapters of my life: childhood in California, primary school in Colorado, secondary school in southern Germany, and college in California.

Visit to Santa Cruz in 2007

While each friendship is not the same as before—partially due to marriages and career pursuits, for example—the essence of our original connection remains untouched. I believe that time and distance cannot alter the original roots that form a friendship. They may be forgotten amidst years and geographical distances, especially when there has been no long-distance communication (e.g. writing or calling) between reunions. But when we see each other again it is as though the roots of the friendship are just as alive and strong as before. We have had different experiences, surely, especially having lived in different countries or cities. Our perspectives and personalities may have altered somewhat. Many things might have changed. Overall, the friendships may not have grown as they would have if we had lived in the same community, but neither have they diminished. They are ready to grow, given the nourishment of consistent time and shared experiences together. If that is not possible—if we are only able to reconnect through the occasional visit—then the friendship may not grow so much as just continue in a sort of time-locked state. Now, keeping in touch through long-distance communication tools in addition to visits does maintain a friendship stronger than if there was no communication. The friendship can grow, but not to the same affect as if both parties were actually living in the same community.

The challenge with distance relationships is to not confine friends in a box of memory. Just as I hope that they will be attentive to the changes I have experienced, so must I be mindful of the changes they have experienced. I believe that there are roots of our personalities that do not change. But there are equally significant areas that do change. Again, there is a kind of mystery to it all. Memories are important. They are the moisture and sunlight that feed the roots of friendship. But everyone experiences seasons of change. To be strong, or be the best that we can, we must adapt and be open to the possibilities of the present and future.

Cowboyhats - again :-)

Friendships are an invaluable extension of our lives. They are, for me at least, a considerable source of meaning and for gaining understanding. They are a means for success and failure. They can provide joy and sorrow. They can cause growth or sometimes even stagnation. Most of all they are a source of hope—a source of life. But they are more than a means, and they are more than an end. They are a journey, a growing thing. Without them I would be alone against the challenges of this world. Without a forest of community surrounding me, I would have probably broken from the strain of life’s pounding winds long ago.

Now, I recognize that I am excluding a spiritual element from this discussion. A belief in God, especially in Jesus Christ, offers another mysterious and complex dimension to relationships. In Genesis 2:18, some time after the first man was created, God said “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (English Standard Version). But as there are countless books written on the subject of friendship and marriage in addition to the Word of God (The Bible), I will not really delve into that pool at this time.

But I must conclude by addressing the reality that my strongest friendships have been with those who share my faith. My belief in an all-loving and presently active God who created mankind in His image and who redeemed mankind from its destructive nature shapes my worldview. It serves as the filter through which I discern, understand, and pursue friendship with others. It is not that I do not pursue friendship with those who do not believe. I do. It is just that those who do believe that Jesus was who he claimed to be have given me the most holistic relationships I have had. I believe that friendship is a gift from God. In truth it is one of His greatest gifts and not to be taken lightly. But they are more than gifts. Friendships, including all forms and levels of relationship with Believers and unbelievers, are one of our greatest responsibilities in life. Anticipating the afterlife—a new Heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21-22)—friendships are one of the only things in this world that can outlast death.
Visiting Colorado Springs in 2009

Yet there is a very real spiritual enemy battling against this hope. Lucifer, and the third of the angels of Heaven that were cast down to earth with him, is actively seeking to corrupt or destroy everything that is right and good. He is slyly seeking to counteract anything that is of God. He strives to disrupt and divide, to trigger our darkest natures, to fuel the fires of chaos by dividing cultures, nations, families, and individuals. He strives in order that we might join him in the destruction that awaits him and his servants when Jesus returns to seal the invasion that began with his life, death, resurrection. Death could not bind the Son of God. Even now his Spirit is active among those who would accept and believe in his victory. Even now he moves his followers to reclaim the world from its rebellion. Even now his Kingdom is spreading. Most evidently—most fundamentally—it is happening through the contagious power of friendship. Not only can the fruit of friendships define a life, but they can also serve as the primary weapon against the chaos of the enemy and the world.

What is friendship? Who is a friend? It can be many things. He or she could be anyone. It is a profound and beautiful mystery enhanced by mutual sacrifice and support through seasons of shared experienced. It is a gift ultimately unhindered by time and distance. It is a journey, a living truth. It is a calling.

Jesus said,

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master his doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
(The Gospel of John, 15:12-17, English Standard Version)

To God be all glory. Now and forevermore. Amen.

Monday, January 24, 2011

True Friendship

I hope you are enjoying your week and are blessed with true friends. There will be an interview coming soon about friendship that I cannot wait to post!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My view on friendship

I believe friendships are extremely important yet so many people seem to lack what I call real friendships. With real friendships I mean friends who want to the best for you and you want the best for them. Friendships that are based on God's word where you share one spirit.

Friendships have always been something very high on my list of priorities. They are part of my family and life without them would be mundane.
Growing up I have always had great friends. You know, people you share life with when you go to school and then you graduate and some of these friends you keep and some you don't. Some you don't see or talk to for a long time but when you do it's like you have never been apart. And with others you are still in touch, still keep up the friendship.

Yet I feel like I have just gotten a glimpse of what friendship really is in the last maybe six years. I have realized how close I am with my best friends, what a trust we have but more than that it is the connection we have through Jesus Christ that in our friendships we have a covenant. It is kind of an amazing thing. The friendships that I have are so different so out of this world so extradordinary I have never experienced anything alike.

I believe good friends are like an oasis in life. In the midst of a busy day an hour with a friend can be the best thing. The place where you can just be who you are, free.
I hate the thought of seeing my girlfriends as rivals where I have to compete with them. This thought is so against my understanding of friendship I would do anything to protect my friendships from that.
I believe when Jesus is the center of our friendship, they have the potential and should eventually sharpen you and make you a better person. They should help you grow spiritually and emotionally.
My friends definitely do that for me and I hope and wish to be the kind of friend who is that for others too.



Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Friendship... actually

Hello out there,
I figured I have to do some sort of inspirational series again, like The Exciting Times of Waiting or Heros. And something which has really been on my mind a lot lately was Friendships. What are they, how should they be, how does God see that? Also I would love to interview maybe a couple of my friends concerning this topic. I don't know yet all the directions it will go to, but I am certain it will stay interesting, so ... stay tuned or whatever they say :-)



Sunday, January 16, 2011

Colorado 2009

It has almost been two years since I was in Colorado and taking a far away vacation with new adventures. I'm already getting itchy feet again and cannot wait to go and explore. I have a couple of plans of where to go this year at least for a few short trips.
Anyways, in remembrance I want to share a few of my favorite Colorado pictures.

I loved Colorado and look forward going there again one day... but for now, off to new shores, new adventures and whatever God has in store.



Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I have somehow always been into writing letters. There is something so beautiful and powerful in the written word. A well written letter will always touch ones heart. A letter can never compete with an email and they should not even be compared.
Imagine yourself holding a beautifully written letter in your hands. Somebody took the time to sit down and write, put it in an envelope and send it in the mail.
This New Years Eve my friends and I (we had a fun Superhero party going on - nothing like best friends!) took the time to sit down and write a letter to ourselves. This letter then will be sent to us by one of our friends at the end of 2011. We were supposed to write down things that have happened in 2010 and goals, visions, dreams and maybe even fears for 2011.
I cannot wait to get that letter in December and be amazed about what will have happened!

Have you written a letter lately? What do handwritten letters mean to you?



Monday, January 10, 2011


One of my goals for this year is to be better in eating, not that I'm bad at it. I just want to better in planning my food. One of the disadvantages of living on your own without a family is the not cooking factor. But I really enjoy cooking and therefore want to make a better effort in preparing food and being smarter at it. Healthier and fresher food that is.



Monday, January 3, 2011

Blank Pages

I am not the kind of person who makes new year resolutions to then not keep them. Yet I do like to take some time to look at the new year, look at what lies ahead of me, things I already know and I like to look into the unknown, unto a blank page.
I sealed 2010 on Saturday when I sat down to write out things that have happened and I was amazed to see God's work in every detail, I see how he lead me through this past year and how he always has a plan.
Last year I had asked God to stretch me, to make me completely uncomfortable, to let me grow and I love that that is exactly what He did last year. I was stretched so much, refined and made new in a lot of areas. And the year was sealed and now I look ahead into 2011. A new year, a new decade. I am very excited about what will be and what will happen within the next months.
There are quite a few big decisions to make and I wrote down my goals, my dreams, my visions.

When I think about 2011 I think of an adventure. Yet again I go on a journey not knowing exactly where it will all take me but knowing that I will walk God's ways. Knowing that He is always beside me, carrying me through the tough times and dancing with me through the happy times. Oh this will be an adventure unheard of and I cannot wait to see the landscapes before me.

But right now I look unto a blank page, a page to be filled with words, words that paint a picture and create the Soundtrack of my life.




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