What We Can Learn From Mankind’s Best Friend
The first time I met GracieLu, she was dragged out of a van in a school parking lot. Matted hair, malnourished, and terrified, this wire-haired Jack Russell had obviously lived a hard life. Anxious to leave, the owner shoved a bag of dog food into my hand, then quickly got in the van and left. Poor GracieLu, she had no idea who I was nor where she was going.
Gently picking her up, I drove to the condo where I lived with my son Ben. Knowing Ben was soon heading off to college, I wanted to adopt a friend to keep me company. GracieLu stood in the same place for a long time, trembling and uncertain. Ben walked into the room. Hearing his deep voice, Gracie peed on the floor then rolled over submissively, her eyes begging Ben not to hurt her.
My heart broke seeing her fear, knowing there was no way for me to effectively communicate she was safe. Over the next six months, GracieLu experienced consistent love and came to see we were different than her former owners. What a blessing to watch her excitement when I came home, unabashedly demanding my attention, showering me with kisses.
When people are treated poorly by others, we often shut down, hesitant to open ourselves up for fear of further hurt. However, being made in the image of God means we’re relational beings. Shutting off from relationship deprives us of comfort, encouragement, support, and enjoyment leaving folks isolated, cynical, and bitter. You can be disappointed and rejected without being devastated and withdrawn. GracieLu gave me a chance to show my true character, and she joyously accepted all the love I offered. Spend time with God, share your sorrows and pain about those who’ve hurt you. Then ask Him to bring a true friend into your life.
Judy A. Lair, LPCC
Judy Lair is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in private practice in Worthington, Ohio. She graduated from Ashland Theological Seminary with a Masters in Clinical Pastoral Counseling in 2002. Her relational, client-centered godly approach builds strong therapeutic relationships, supporting others in their transformation journey. Born in Boise, Idaho, Judy moved to Alberta, Canada when she was in elementary school, then to Hershey, Pennsylvania for high school. Judy lives in Columbus, Ohio and enjoys spending time with her son Ben, who recently graduated college with a double degree in Journalism and Sports Management. Judy is the author of From the Other Side of the Couch: A Biblical Counselor's Guide to Relational Living
From the time Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, humankind has lived out of a rule-oriented, standardized framework. This strategy is great for getting tasks done, but significantly impacts the ability to do relationships well. Self-protection, anxiety, depression, bitterness, and resentment indicate a fear-based life. Learning how to love God, ourselves, and others requires a transformative process. Living a Relational lifestyle brings the happiness, contentment, and joy humans crave. Change is possible, and the reflective questions at the end of chapters help you personalize the journey. My Roadmap to Freedom shows how to walk through the valley of woundedness, liberate your feelings from captivity, wrestle inaccurate beliefs into submission, plant your flag on the mountain of truth, and learn how to live in godly freedom. Together, we will ask God to bring you context, clarity, compassion, and understanding about the pain and hurt you’ve experienced and their impact on your present life. I can tell you I absolutely, positively, completely believe in God’s heart for you and your healing—because I know His heart for me. This book welcomes you into my counseling office where I share the insights God has given to me on both sides of the couch.
Thanks so much for visiting today, Judy, and sharing your thoughts on Friendship.
This post is part of a series on Friendship as we lead up to the release of the paperback version of the Spiralling books, this Saturday 19th July.