Fixer Versus Friend

helperWhen it comes to friendship, I have one rule for others and another for me.

It seems to me that the way I give myself to others, is by holding myself back. Providing solutions instead of silence, keeping it together and most of all, Not Being A Burden.

What blesses people is not Messy Emma (in all her brokenness). It’s Shiny Emma: the Helper with her box of solutions. If I lean on others, I’m not being a friend. They want answers: not mess – right?

Then, I think of my friends and the people who bless me.

They’re messy and they’re real.  They don’t pretend to have it together: and they don’t tell me what to do. They listen. They sympathise.  Sometimes they challenge. They share themselves: their struggles as well as their triumphs. And their weakness is often what gives me strength.

This idea of ‘not being a burden’ is not biblical – and it’s disastrous for my diary and my mental health. If I’m always performing and pretending, I’ll quickly burn out.  I’ll grow to resent those I want to bless; and I’ll look to my wisdom and my perfection to offer others hope. When this fails, I’ll withdraw and despair or scrabble around frantically for solutions.

The gospel preaches dependence:  a Saviour who lives according to His Father’s will. Who gives us His Spirit and places us in a family that carries one another. If Jesus can ask His friends to watch and pray, then I can do the same.  If Jesus relies on His Father for every breath, then I can rely on mine.

Friendship is not about keeping it together. It’s about sharing ourselves; in all our beauty and all our mess. Shininess blesses no-one.  But honesty and grace reminds us that we’re not alone.  They point to a hope that’s bigger than our very best solutions.  And humility is something we practise as well as pray for.

4 thoughts on “Fixer Versus Friend

  1. This has been something that I’ve always struggled with, feeling like a ‘burden’ and a pain to everyone around. Often trying to fix people and offer help but never really allowing them to see my brokenness because I don’t feel worthy of care.
    But that’s not being genuine. And I think we often forget that we were created to depend on Him – and we are not independent individuals – we are all meant to be part of a family caring for and supporting one another.
    Allowing myself to be vulnerable around friends and sharing my struggles will be scary, but hopefully God’s light will shine through my brokenness.
    Thanks for your encouragement, Emma.

  2. Hi Emma, I think it can also be really painful doing friendship like this though. I am no good at being ‘shiny’ with friends, being serious and honest is what comes naturally. I feel like the result is that lots of people run to you when they are in trouble and then ditch you to go back to their easy, shiny world as soon as they have it together again. My little, intense world where I will always tell you the truth about me and expect you to tell me the truth about you is great when things suck but too much effort when things are fine. The ones that stay to put up with it have accumulated over the years and I thank God for them. But I wish I could be more shiny sometimes.

  3. Hi P

    I know what you mean. But we don’t see a lot of shininess in the gospels: and I wonder, if we could do it, would we ever dare go beyond the masks?

  4. Hi Kez

    I think it’s something that many of us find hard. But you’re absolutely right: we’re not made to be independent, we’re made to rely on others and there’s real beauty in this.

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