Two of my best friends were in my house the other day, they were actually visiting for a few days from out of town, and we were preparing a meal together (aka making mac and cheese for the kids) and my friend, Tracey opened my microwave.
I heard the door opening from the other side of the kitchen and I cringed…
I knew it was coming…
I had been putting the chore off for weeks. I don’t know why?! I hate to live in a mess and it's not an awful chore (especially if you use the white vinegar trick!)
But there was no escaping the sound of disgust that escaped from her lips in that moment.
Followed quickly by, “Amber?! When was the last time you cleaned your microwave?!”
I was honestly just quiet, I knew there was no excuse.
I knew it was bad.
I knew what Tracey was seeing and in that moment, I didn’t even have the words to try to defend myself when I knew I was busted.
My dear Courtney, piped up quickly in my defense. She was quick to pour out grace and bring up the craziness of our “life season.” (Courtney is the one with 4 year old twin boys and an almost 2 year old son) She reminded Tracey that our kids are not in school yet (like hers) and that even using the bathroom unattended should not be expected in this life season. I’m so thankful for Courtney’s gracious spirit, she is the voice that is faithful to remind me of God’s never ending grace when I am being too hard on myself. ALL that she was saying to excuse the messy state of my microwave was true. BUT Tracey’s next comment was my big takeaway and resounded in my head until I cleaned my microwave (within 36 hours of their departure!). Tracey looked at me and said, “Amber, I have been in your house more than 100 times, more times than I can count and even in hard seasons, the inside of your microwave has NEVER looked like this.”**
The next day, as I approached my microwave to clean it, I noticed how clean it already looked on the outside and what a complete contrast that was from the reality of how downright unsanitary it was on the inside. As I was awkwardly scrubbing the microwave walls, I was thankful that it would be done. I felt silly for putting it off as much as I did and I was actually thankful that Tracey had seen it and prompted me to do what was completely necessary. I heard the Lord sweetly whisper, “Aren’t you glad for friends who see the INSIDE of your microwave?”
Sometimes, it’s not enough to just know we should do something. Sometimes we need a gentle (or not so gentle) nudge from a friend to make things right. Do you see where I’m going with this? Sisters in Christ see past the shiny outside, open the door, and see what’s on the inside. And if it’s not okay, they will push you towards what is right.
Tracey didn’t compare my microwave to one that would be featured in a magazine or even worthy of preparing food for the general public. She compared what she was seeing in front of her to what she and I both know is right. A sister in Christ can look past a smile and see that bitterness is stirring in your heart, or jealousy is taking root in your spirit, or maybe there is an idol in your life that is taking up the place where God belongs. A sister in Christ will push you towards spending time in God’s word to feed your spirit and fuel your sanctification.
A few days after they left, Tracey (jokingly, but she was serious) followed up to make sure I had cleaned my microwave. I couldn’t help but thank God for friends like her. While the microwave “incident” is a silly analogy, It is just one example of the way that my friends make me more like Christ. Friends in Christ are not just a fun addition to our lives, they are a necessary element of our Christian faith. The bible talks A LOT about friendships and especially friendships between believers in Christ.
**I should tell you, I don’t use the term, “best friend” lightly. So in this story/analogy, if you find yourself wanting to come to my defense and stand up to Tracey, resist the urge. She’s earned the right to call me out, we’ve lived life, seen some stuff together, we’ve grown together, celebrated, grieved, done it all together. It’s a safe place and she’s earned the right to say these things.
I’ve included some of my favorite scriptures about friends at the end of this post and as you read them, take inventory of your friendships. If you have friends like this in your life, thank God for them, pray for them, and contact them TODAY to thank them for being friends that push you into further fellowship with Christ. If you don’t have friends like this right now, pray and ask God to soften and prepare your heart for these relationships, ask God to reveal people in your life who also may be seeking this type of friendship and look for opportunities to serve those people. Reach out to someone today and ask them how you can be praying for them.