I've always loved Oprah. I would watch her shows religiously and was so thankful when the DVR was invented. I am the only one in our family who can lose her keys EVERY SINGLE DAY and not remember to put them on the several key holders I have been given since I have been driving. So trying to remember to set the timer on a VCR (back when the dinosaurs roamed) was equally as frustrating for this chick right here. Anyhow, I particularly loved watching the dynamic between her and Gayle, her best friend. I have always longed for that type of relationship. One that almost seemed like your soul's counterpart in female form. Someone who would never betray you and someone who, when you left their presence, left you with your bucket filled.
I am certain we have all had our share of bucket emptiers throughout our lives. Those people that we spend time with and leave us feeling wounded after every visit. Not the kind of wounds from arguments or fights, but the kind of wounds that we only get when someone constantly takes from our buckets and never puts anything back in. The kind of wounds that leave us feeling empty.
I am not sure when I realized I was a HUGE part of my own problem. I can hear Dr. Phil now, "You can't change what you don't acknowledge." I was allowing myself to be used, abused, and taken advantage of by a few people. I knew what was happening and time after time I said to myself, "It's okay" or "It's fine" just trying to be a good Christian girl. I was trying to give grace. In the process of being so nice, I was killing myself with kindness. I was dying inside, little by little. Eventually I was quite literally ready to blow several gaskets. My "give a care" meter was dead. I had been running on empty for so long and withdrawing from my "friend" bank account until it was overdrawn. That is what happens when there are no deposits and constant withdrawals.
We cannot change other people or want the friendship enough for them. I was far more invested in these friends than they ever were in me. I'm fairly sure they knew it and used it to their benefit. I even addressed it a few times and forgave just as Jesus would have me do. What I wasn't getting and I needed desperately was respect. As Jesus was healing my heart...my big ole broken heart... He was showing me that I WAS WORTHY OF RESPECT. I WAS WORTHY OF FRIENDSHIPS THAT WOULD LIFT ME UP. I WAS WORTHY! My Lord is so loving and so kind. He broke the chains of bondage that held me in these relationships that told me I didn't deserve to be treated better and I didn't deserve what I gave. His word tells us to forgive others lest we be forgiven. So I took that to mean I had to turn my cheek and take the abuse. He loves us so much he would never want us to endure that kind of treatment. We aren't called to stay in the union but we are called to forgive, love, and pray for them. I think so many times we get confused, as Christians, wanting to please our Father, that we don't pray over the word and really try to understand it's meaning. That is what happened to me. I took scripture at face value and didn't ask Him what he would have me take from it concerning my problems. I was so worried about being nice, I wasn't being nice to myself. I was literally killing myself with kindness.
Maybe you have a friend you are struggling with like I did. I encourage you to take a knee in prayer and ask God how He might have you handle your situation. I can promise you He loves you so much and would NEVER want you to suffer a minutes worth of abuse. Be kind to yourself. Allow our Father in Heaven to break those chains and heal you up, too. YOU ARE WORTHY.
I can tell you that I have since found my Oprah and Gayle friendship I was longing for. I think God was just waiting for the perfect time to give her to me. I have also found several AMAZING Christian friendships I don't know what I would do without. I leave every one of them feeling so blessed and full of light. That is what He intended for us. Thank you, Thank you, Jesus.
"There are many virtuous and capable women in the world but you surpass them all! Charm is deceptive and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise." Proverbs 31:29-31