“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly; and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24
Our weekly Christian devotional
Lila could have made it to the elevator if she just quickened her steps a notch. But, the cart was full and being alone was all she could think about–even if the elevator ride only lasted a few minutes.
Allowing the metal doors to close in her face, Lila pushed the button again, waiting for the cart to return. She hoped the fact that it was late would work in her favor and the elevator would come back empty. The thought of mustering another fake smile was more than she could bear. A familiar beep rang out as the heavy doors opened, sans passengers. Sighing in relief, she stepped into the vacant space while pressing the button for her floor.
The hallway to her studio apartment was vacant and the swishing sound of her skirt echoed off the grey walls of the apartment hallway. Turning the key in her door, Lila could hear her furry roommate scratching on the other side. As soon as she stepped inside, Ricco, Lila’s Persian slid like moving silk between her legs. Eagerly, she swooped down to pick him up; Miss Lila was anxious to hug and be hugged. But, Ricco twisted his chubby torso in defiance. Although he enjoyed a good pet now and again, hugs definitely weren’t in his repertoire.
Lila and Ricco had been living together for eight years, so she was very aware of his finicky ways. Today was particularly rough for her. She was hoping that her icy roommate would be kind enough to lend her just a bit of affection. Unfortunately, it was plain to see that Ricco wasn’t about to happen—at least without a fight.
“Whatever.” Gently placing the cat on the kitchen floor, she reached for the cupboard that kept his cat food; this was all Ricco was after in the first place.
“Who would have thought that Lila, the prom queen of Lakeside High would end up as the thirty five year old cat lady?” The sharp thought darted across her mind like a bullet.
Miss Lila had lofty dreams of becoming a world-traveling novelist. But, her degree in writing only opened up the not-so-glamorous life of editing. Unfortunately, she didn’t even edit for publications she felt were worthy talking about; medical journals, technical manuals…any kind of writing that seemed to be specifically designed for putting audiences to sleep! But, that work paid her bills and kept her fat Persian fed.
As Lila poured Ricco’s meal into his bowl, she recalled the days of her booming social life. It felt like such a lifetime ago. Slowly, over time, friends started falling away.
This began when her best friend found out she was pregnant. After she did, all Ruby could talk about was her little girl—A subject that was beyond boring for Lila. So Lila took great efforts in making excuses to avoid talking or bumping into her dear friend.
Another confidant, Denise, had gained a significant amount of weight within the last few of years. Instead of accepting her invitations to join her for spin classes, Lila found reasons to exclude her from girls’ night out. She didn’t want Denise to risk her ‘hot’ reputation on the nightclub scene.
The most brutal breakup pain was when her good buddy Britney got serious with her adorable boyfriend. This made Lila so jealous that she actually started to loathe the sight of her grade school buddy. Eventually, that tension took its toll and their friendship fizzled out as well.
Somewhere in the back of her mind, Lila figured that all her friends would miss her fabulous presence and would eventually make their way back into her life. But, that never happened.
Even with this lack, Lila continued keeping to herself at the office. She wasn’t in the habit of feigning interest in anyone who didn’t have anything to offer. But her cold disinterest was rewarded with equal disinterest. So, life for Lila became uncomfortably quiet. It had dwindled down to just her, Ricco and the occasional chatty waiter.
“Is this all there is to live for?” Flipping on the television, she hoped to dull the numbing silence in her head.
“Dear Heavenly Father,
After reading Proverbs 18:24, I see where I’ve gone wrong in my life. Your word says if a person wants friends they must be friendly. It never mentions that friends are mere stepping-stones to be used.
My whole life has always been centered on one person—me. Now, I’m reaping the results of my investment. There is only me in my life.
Lord, help! I’m too old to be this lonely. I crave real friendships. I regret and repent of letting good people go because I was just too selfish to appreciate them. Please give me another chance and help me find some good friends.
Help me to have the strength and humility to admit my faults to those whom I’ve hurt, so I can start repairing and recovering friendships that were good.
Oh, Lord I need you to help develop the kind of character qualities that I need to attract good people. Please give me the consistency I need to keep them in my life.
Help me to stop looking for what others can do for me. I don’t like it when others have used me, yet I have a tendency to do this myself. Lord, the hypocrisy of my life is almost too much to bear.
Bless me to be a blessing, not a burden to others.
Show me where I need to change and give me the strength to deal with that ugly truth. Bless me with the ability to make the changes I need to make—no excuses this time!
Lord, when other people start entering my life, help me never to forget how precious human connections are and how important it is to be a good friend. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.”
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Author: Julia Shalom Jordan