The Problem with Familiarity

Lately, I have been thinking alot about friendship. About what a beautiful reflection of the heart and character of God that friendships are. I mean, think about it. REALLY, think about it. Friends are random people that we come across in this journey called life. They are different from us. They have different personalities, different ages, and different backgrounds. Yet, something inside of us connects with something inside of them. It just works, and we just fit.

To me, friendships are evidence that God did not mean for us to do life alone. It is a blessing and a gift to be understood and to be seen and to be known by people who have nothing to gain from loving you. They just do.

There is great comfort in our relationships. We grow close to people. We grow to understand how they think and how they behave. They become familiar. Sometimes, our friends become too familiar, so familiar that we no longer see them for who they really are.

This is the problem with familiarity. We grow so accustom to the sight, sound, and presence of the people in our lives that we stop really “seeing” them. We no longer pay attention. We assume much. We take their presence for granted. I remember when I first started attending the church that I currently serve in (this was about four and a half years ago), whenever one of my new friends was absent, I noticed. I also noticed when they did not act like themselves, when they seemed sad or upset. I took an interest in what was new in their lives. But, as time passed and as life took on a routine, I began to assume that what I knew about them still held true.

To a certain degree we do know our friends. We know their likes, their dislikes, and their personalities, but we should never forget that people are mysterious gifts. People, even the people we know best in this world, are constantly growing and changing. I am DEFINITELY not the same girl who walked into that church…why should I assume that my friends are?

Our friendships are gifts; it is our responsibility to steward them well. It is our responsiblity to take the time each day with each interaction to really “see” the people God has placed in our lives. It is our responsibility to love them as they change and grow, to point out that growth, and to accept who they are becoming.

So, that is my prayer as of late, that God will break into the routine and into the assumed and help me to really see my friends. I pray that He will help me to notice their individuality and their growth, to appreciate their presence and their talents, and to never become so familiar that I take them for granted.


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