This was one of the most convicting, practical, applicable books I have ever read. Christine Hoover shares her personal experiences with friendship, the struggles and blessings. As a pastor’s wife and a speaker, Christine has the unique ability of seeing the difficulties friendship can bring from an outsider’s perspective. Through Messy Beautiful Friendship, she talks about the biggest hindrances to friendships and how we can make our friendships stronger.
My Big Takeaways
#1 – We’re selfish.
One of the biggest struggles with friendships is that we tend to think about how the friendship benefits us, rather than how we can serve others. I’m not sure why this was so mind-blowing to me, because, duh. But Christine’s words really convicted me about what I think about my friendships. Why do I do what I do? Is it so people will like me, or is it because Jesus set that servant example?
“We must also look to serve rather than be served, which means it’s possible that we might not be served in the ways we hope.”
“Isn’t this what true, biblical friendship is about: being willing to love, forgive, and bear with those we might not necessarily always understand? And being willing to confess sin, inadvertent or not, and receive the grace that helps us grow? This is certainly more what it’s about than dinner parties and game nights. Biblical friendship is what helps us grow; it sharpens us just as we are used by God to sharpen others.”
#2 – Vulnerability is so so so important.
We can’t serve one another or comfort one another if we’re not honest about what is going on in our lives.
“Naming our common struggle and our common need is what helps us get to the true friendship we crave, and with true community comes true growth. Because where we name common need, we can also name common grace in Christ and grasp him together.”
“A godly friend is one who embraces us in our weakness, listens to our uncertainty, and the points us to God, but we can only give and receive this ministry when vulnerability pervades the atmosphere between us and our friends. If we want to spark a fire of friendship, we have to ask for help and invite others in.”
#3 – We are not Jesus. Our friends are not Jesus.
We cannot expect our friends to fulfill all of our needs. That’s not something friendship was ever designed to do. Jesus is the only One who has ever promised to meet all our needs. On the flip side of that, we cannot be Jesus for our friends either. I think many of us want to save our friends from their decisions we may not agree with, but we can’t do that. Only Jesus can. We can go to our friends for wisdom, and we can provide counsel, but ultimately, we have to trust Christ first.
“I want God to give me good friends, and when he has, I’ve been prone to shove him aside for the attention, wisdom, and companionship of those friends, despite knowing that they were intended as gifts rather than replacements. People are not fillers for a present God, and God is not a placeholder for future friends.”
Honestly, I think that we were created to live in community. I believe that the church should function as a family, not an unapproachable, elite club. It seems like more churches are starting to push the importance of community and deep friendships that reflect how the church of the New Testament functioned – just living life and loving Jesus together. While there are countless books that give counsel for marriage and dating relationships, there are hardly any on cultivating and maintaining strong friendships. Having a book like Messy Beautiful Friendship is super helpful in teaching women the importance of friendships and how to go about developing those.