Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart,

and the pleasantness of a friend

springs from their heartfelt advice.

– Proverbs 27:9

I recently received a text from a friend asking questions about baseball and her son.  After some back and forth it turned into a request from both of us to swap baseball game dates so each of our families could see the others son’s play baseball this summer.

Last week I was at another friend’s house and she told me about her plans for the brand new patio she was having built at her house this week.  I asked her if I could come and dig up all the plants she wasn’t going to use anymore and she said yes.  I had two truck loads of brand new plants to spread throughout my yard!

During one of my small group sessions we were talking about what irritated us.  I explained how my husband was such a loud chewer and how it makes me cringe every time I hear it.  How irritating it is and mad I get.  One of my friends asked me something along the lines of:  “what would happen if the next time you were irritated by his chewing if you didn’t say anything and took a moment to see if there is something else happening in your life that is making you react like that?”  A hard question that she asked with genuine interest and love for me.

I was invited into the struggle one of my friends was having in her job.  She invited me to her home and asked me to be a kind and helpful ear for her story.  I was honored that I could be that for her.

I can have honest and true conversations with one of my friends when I’m confused or unsure.  She knows and researches so much on topics I’m sometimes concerned about.  I know that she will listen to my questions and answer them honestly.  I know that we will love each other whether we see things the same or not.  We have each other as soundboards for life.

When I was a new mom struggling with raising my littles and keeping up a house I had a very good friend point out that I didn’t have to meticulously scrub my bathrooms every single week.  That may be my kids wouldn’t get the stomach flu all the time if I cut down on the bleach!  (We still laugh about this today.  We just shared this story with our 18, 17, 15, and 12 year old daughters about a month ago.)

Self care needs to include a community of people that you surround yourself with that love you.  These are the people that you can count on to help you through hard times.   These are the people that love you and will provide you with strength and courage when you need it.  These are the people that will cheer you on from the sidelines and pick you up when you fall.

These will be your closest confidants.  They will be honest with you.  They will be helpful to you.  They will be there immediately to comfort, feed, clothe, and just be with you if tragedy strikes.  They will help you relax and laugh and breath when stress strikes.  They are your people.  You will reciprocate all of the same right back at them. You will take care of each other.

Be sure you know the condition of your flocks,

give careful attention to your herds;

for riches do not endure forever,

and a crown is not secure for all generations.

When the hay is removed and new growth appears

and the grass from the hills is gathered in,

the lambs will provide you with clothing,

and the goats with the price of a field.

You will have plenty of goats’ milk to feed your family – Proverbs 27:23-27

I have worked through my darkest times and therapy sessions with close friends.  I have sat in cars talking for hours and crying with friends.  I have sat in countless coffee shops and restaurants laughing and sharing over coffee and drinks with friends.  I have prayed a thousand prayers for the health, jobs, marriages, children, and well being of friends.  Friendship is an essential need to your self-care.

I have had friends for different seasons of my life.  I’ve even had friends I’ve had to let go of for the genuine good of my soul.  What I do know, is you don’t have to have 100 friends to be cared for and loved.  You only need one.

Essentially friendship is an ear to listen, advice to provide, hands to help, and hearts to love.  Those friends will help you grieve, laugh, love, forgive and succeed.    I’ve learned that sometimes the hardest things to hear come from good friends and the hardest things to say need to be said to good friends.  But the love of friends will endure.

Friendship IS self care!

How is your self care through the friendships of others?  How have you been at caring for others through your friendship?  If you need self care text a friend with a request for help – may be a walk, a date for coffee, or a FaceTime call.  If you are feeling well, find a way to let a friend know you care and are thinking of them today.  If you are struggling with finding a friendship look around you.  Where are you spending your time?  Friends can be found at work, at the gym, at church, at school….where you like to be others with similar interests are.  Introduce yourself and see where it goes.

STUDY – Proverbs 27 – NIV
1Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring.
2Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth;
an outsider, and not your own lips.
3Stone is heavy and sand a burden,
but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both.
4Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming,
but who can stand before jealousy?
5Better is open rebuke
than hidden love.
6Wounds from a friend can be trusted,
but an enemy multiplies kisses.
7One who is full loathes honey from the comb,
but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet.
8Like a bird that flees its nest
is anyone who flees from home.
9Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart,
and the pleasantness of a friend
springs from their heartfelt advice.
10Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family,
and do not go to your relative’s house when disaster strikes you –
better a neighbor nearby than a relative far away.
11Be wise, my son, and bring joy to my heart;
then I can answer anyone who treats me with contempt.
12The prudent see danger and take refuge,
but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.
13Take the garment of one who puts up security for a stranger;
hold it in pledge if it is done for an outsider.
14If anyone loudly blesses their neighbor early in the morning,
it will be taken as a curse.
15A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping
of a leaky roof in a rainstorm;
16 restraining her is like restraining the wind
or grasping oil with the hand.
17As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another.
18The one who guards a fig tree will eat its fruit,
and whoever protects their master will be honored.
19As water reflects the face,
so one’s life reflects the heart.
20Death and Destruction are never satisfied,
and neither are human eyes.
21The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
but people are tested by their praise.
22Though you grind a fool in a mortar,
grinding them like grain with a pestle,
you will not remove their folly from them.
23Be sure you know the condition of your flocks,
give careful attention to your herds;
24for riches do not endure forever,
and a crown is not secure for all generations.
25When the hay is removed and new growth appears
and the grass from the hills is gathered in,
26the lambs will provide you with clothing,
and the goats with the price of a field.
27You will have plenty of goats’ milk to feed your family
and to nourish your female servants.

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