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Watch 2022 online sermons » Joyce Meyer » Joyce Meyer - When Friendship Isn't Easy

Joyce Meyer - When Friendship Isn't Easy

Joyce Meyer - When Friendship Isn't Easy
TOPICS: Talk It Out, Friendship, Relationships
Joyce Meyer - When Friendship Isn't Easy

Ginger Stache: Hi, everyone. Welcome. We are so glad to have you, our friends, here, with us, because today, we're talking about friendship and not just the fluffy surfacy stuff.

Jai Williams: No.

Ginger Stache: We're talking...

Jai Williams: No.

Ginger Stache: No, not that. We're gonna pull back the curtains on friendships, talking about how hard it can be, how to work through difficult times. We're gonna get real about our own friendship between us and how much we appreciate and love all of you, too. But there was a beautiful moment of friendship just a moment ago.

Erin Cluley: Yeah, I'd like to share something...

Ginger Stache: Yeah.

Erin Cluley: That my close friend just did for me. I'll have you notice... It's disgusting but...

Jai Williams: But you let me do it.

Erin Cluley: The sentiment was really sweet.

Jai Williams: You let me do it.

Erin Cluley: Yeah, I had... My foot was a little dry. And so, I couldn't tell if it was a tan line or if it was dry skin. So, Jai...

Jai Williams: Before this shoot, I mean, I just licked my finger, and I did like that.

Erin Cluley: Oh, you did again, though! Like, once is enough.

Jai Williams: It is on the other foot too.

Ginger Stache: Right there on the...

Erin Cluley: But you gave me a spit bath and I would only let my close friend do that to me.

Ginger Stache: It's beautiful.

Jai Williams: Yeah, and I would only do that to... I wouldn't lick my finger and rub a random person's foot.

Erin Cluley: Yeah, no stranger would do that to me.

Ginger Stache: I'm glad to hear that because we don't want you not to be here because you've been arrested.

Jai Williams: I'm pretty sure that's illegal.

Erin Cluley: So, true friendship, right here, on this couch.

Jai Williams: That's real friendship.

Ginger Stache: That is beautiful, and I feel a little teary, right now.

Erin Cluley: Well, she might do your foot, too.

Jai Williams: No, you first were disgusted.

Ginger Stache: Well, I did say, "I'm not gonna do that".

Erin Cluley: Keep my shoe on.

Jai Williams: "I mean, I love you, but not that much".

Ginger Stache: That's how all friends are a little different. When it comes to feet, I'm out.

Erin Cluley: You do make that pretty clear upfront in friendship.

Jai Williams: But I do think that her feet look like cute little barbie feet today, so.

Erin Cluley: Thank you for noticing, friend.

Ginger Stache: You both have cute little sandals on, and I've got my big Chunky Chucks.

Jai Williams: Yeah, we're in, like, bright colors. And you're like...

Ginger Stache: Camo, yeah.

Jai Williams: And you're Chunky Chucks. But you still look great.

Erin Cluley: I almost wore those today.

Ginger Stache: Thank you.

Jai Williams: But it's even the way you said, camo. When we were talking about... Like, talking all high-pitched to say how we looked, and you were like, "And I'm in camo".

Erin Cluley: Deep in her soul is where it lives.

Ginger Stache: It's how you say, "Camo".

Jai Williams: I love it.

Erin Cluley: Okay, before we start, can I tell you a win that I had this morning?

Ginger Stache: I want to hear it.

Erin Cluley: It's not very big, so don't think, like, life changing.

Jai Williams: Okay, a win's a win, a win's a win.

Erin Cluley: But just like a real honest moment. It's summertime. And so, our schedules are crazy. And my kids, we, like, have babysitters and camps, and it's just not... Our schedule's off. Our routine is not the same. So, for months, I've just felt like I was like behind. I'm always one step behind. And everybody... Like, I'm just running to catch up. So, this morning, I got up extra early and I exercised in the morning, which I don't like to do, but just to get my mind right. But then, I had like a solid 30 to 45 minutes just to sit with some coffee and my Bible. And I realized it had been a little while since I put the armor of God on purposely on myself, and on my kids, and on mike. So, I sat there, without being rushed and got a chance to do that, and it was so wonderful. And I thought, afterwards, I thought, "I gotta tell my friends".

Ginger Stache: That's great.

Erin Cluley: Because we talk about this stuff.

Ginger Stache: Yeah.

Erin Cluley: And I don't always do it, you know. Like, my life... It sounds good to talk about. Sometimes I fall off.

Jai Williams: Right, because the practical...

Ginger Stache: We all have good intentions.

Jai Williams: The practical application of what we talk about is something... Is sometimes not easy, you know, like to actually remember to do it every day and to remember not just that, in everything we talk about, like, it's like, yeah, it's easy to talk about in the moment but when it comes time to actually live it out. So, that's a huge win. I think it's a big win.

Erin Cluley: And I was kinda excited to tell my friends about it. Like, talking about what we're talking about today, there's some small things like that, that you just want your friends to be your cheerleader for, you know, so.

Ginger Stache: And because your friends get it. I mean, that's such an important keystone to friendship is somebody that gets me, and I can say, whether it's a good thing, like you shared or bad thing, like, "I didn't get to anything today, I was supposed to do".

Erin Cluley: Yeah, absolutely.

Ginger Stache: And you're still supported in it.

Erin Cluley: Yeah, absolutely.

Jai Williams: You understand the balance of it all. And that's the difference between like a superficial friendship and a deep friendship to be able to say, "Okay, guys, really, I really did good. I was a good Christian today," and we would celebrate it. But even if you say, like, "Guys, I missed everything today," we'd still celebrate you, and love you, and you know, like...

Erin Cluley: And push me.

Jai Williams: And push you. And now, not only do you have your feet shod with the gospel of peace, you got my spit.

Erin Cluley: I'm like, I might have to wash it off when we leave.

Jai Williams: No! But both of those are good things to have on your feet.

Ginger Stache: God, I pray for shoes use of readiness to spread the gospel of peace and the saliva of Jai to wipe out the dry skin.

Erin Cluley: That's a sweet moment.

Jai Williams: You are fully armed.

Erin Cluley: I'm ready to go for today.

Ginger Stache: She is so ready to go.

Jai Williams: That's a big win, though, friend. High five with my spitty hand.

Ginger Stache: Well, one of the things that we hear from so many of our listening and watching friends is that they love being part of talk it out because they really feel like they're one of the girls. You are welcomed into our friendship circle, and we love that. We love having so many people that, whether we connect on social media or they're, you know, making comments on YouTube or wherever else, it means a lot to us. And a lot of people are saying, "I wish I had friends like that," or, "How do you develop relationships"? And we're gonna talk about that. Not because we've got it all down. We all have so much to learn and so much to do. But it's a really important thing for all of us.

Jai Williams: Yeah, it's a completely... It has to be intentional, for sure. You know, and one of the blessings of having this, you know, ability through Joyce Meyer Ministries and this platform to be able to do this, I never would have expected in one of the most lonely times of my life, you know, to be walking through... I didn't approach this, you know, this podcast to be a part of something that was about... Like, that happened while we were already in, you know, in like, filming for this. We weren't even doing visuals yet.

Ginger Stache: What happened with your marriage. What happened in the middle.

Jai Williams: What happened... I was... In my mind, I was happily married when I agreed to do this podcast. I wasn't happily married. Well, I was, he wasn't, I guess. I have to talk like the Grinch to not be so serious about it.

Ginger Stache: That is such an excellent plan. I love... I'm gonna use that.

Jai Williams: That's why I have on green. But no, I'm saying like, when we first started the podcast, I was just in this to talk about life and talk about God and talk about everything with my girls, you know, that I love. But little did I know is that the friendship that even took our friendship to a deeper level would be something that would expose me to so many different people, new people, during one of the most isolating times of my life, you know. And so, just as much as people write in... Because sometimes, even like our, you know, marketing team and the social media team here at the ministry will send us like a group text to say, "Hey, somebody sent this message in". And how much it blesses me to know that what I deemed as painful and almost like flat out embarrassing, I have friends all around the world that are praying for me, supporting me, crying with me, celebrating wins like putting on the armor of God, you know, it's just little... You never know. And you have to be flexible to allow God to bring friends, however he wants to bring them.

Ginger Stache: Because vulnerability and honesty creates friendship and it creates bonds that are different than they are without that. So, this is really important. And I think, sometimes, we think we have to be perfect to have the right friends, for people to want to be our friends. Or even worse, is we look for or want perfect friends, and expect things that we shouldn't. And that doesn't work either.

Erin Cluley: No, I think one word that came to me this morning when I was thinking about this, it kinda goes along with that, is the word "Insecurity". On either side, I think that's a really big part of friendships that some... For myself, sometimes, I don't even want to admit how my own insecurity might affect my friendships, how I treat a friend or how I expect them to treat me, or why they're not. I think there's some...

Ginger Stache: Very true.

Jai Williams: Projecting our insecurities onto others is something that can be very detrimental. And I've learned it the hard way, you know. But I'm a firm believer too, though... My mom has always said this. As a... When I was a kid, she's just like, like, "If you want friends, you have to show yourself friendly," you know? And not saying overly friendly where it's just fake. But if you want friends, you have to make yourself available for people to even approach you, you know? And you have to have what you said, that vulnerability. If we weren't... We didn't know, and I keep talking about the podcast because we are talking about to all our friends that are out there. But like, we didn't... I remember our original producer was really worried that this was even gonna work because he was like, "Are you all going to be able to be vulnerable"?

Ginger Stache: And we are like, "No worries, there. You should hear the stuff we already talk about".

Jai Williams: "You're gonna have to reel us in". I'm like... But that's the thing. Like, without a willingness to share, and be vulnerable, and transparent, even when it might seem embarrassing, we've all shared some things on this podcast, and of course, in our private... If y'all think what we share on here.

Ginger Stache: Look out.

Jai Williams: Look oouut! Cuz what we share in our regular conversations is "Whoa"! You know, but I'm just saying like, there's a certain level of vulnerability you have to have if you want real true friendships.

Ginger Stache: Very true. And we're gonna dig into some of that today because we wanna talk about some of those things, because I think people think friendship should be easy. That's what being a friend is. And that's not how it works. It's hard, it takes work. And so, we're going to talk about things like, how do you connect with people? How do you make friends, and show yourself friendly, like you said? How do you navigate hard conversations? We've had a lot of those. And what to do when you're feeling lonely or rejected because that is so hard in friendship. So, a lot of things, even boundaries in friendships. But we're gonna start, right now, hearing from Joyce, talking about what a true friend really is.

Joyce Meyer: Matthew 7:12, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". John 15:13, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends". Now, right away, we're getting into that, let's be unselfish, thing. Laying down your life means not necessarily doing what you want, or what would be good for you, but doing what somebody else wants, or what'll be good for them. And I don't know about you, maybe you're a lot further along spiritually than I am, I'm sure a lot of you are, but I have to do this on purpose. It's not something that my flesh just says, "Oh goodie! Let's see how much we can give away and who all we can help today". But I believe as far as defeating the devil, who is our enemy, and who attacks us and comes against us, I believe that walking in love, really walking in love, with people is the highest form of spiritual warfare that you can do.

And I really imagine, if we really walked in love, the devil wouldn't have too much that he could do to us. Amen? 1 Corinthians 13:5, says, "Love seeks not her own". 1 Corinthians 10:24, "Let no one then seek his own good and advantage and profit, but [rather] each one of the other [let him seek the welfare of his neighbor]". Man, they're some of the best scriptures in the Bible. Do you know the answer to every problem we have, is in the Word of God? And I mean, I believe that 100%. If we actually, took the things that we hear, and actually did them... As I tell people all the time, having it underlined in your Bible, doesn't mean you're doing it.

Philippians 2:4, "Let each of you esteem..." that means value and respect, "And look upon and be concerned for not [merely] his own interests, but also each for the interest of others". Now, that, doesn't say that you can't care about yourself, but that's not the only thing that we should care about. Come on, this is gotta be hitting home with somebody. And then one of my favorite in the Amplified Bible, Mark 8:34, "If anyone intends to follow Christ..." how many of you are Christ followers? Well, here's what you have to do, "Let him deny himself, [forget himself, disown himself, lose sight of himself and all of his own interests] but live for the interests of others".

Hmm, see, here's the thing, it sounds like man, "That would really be a bummer life". To just give up everything, and not do what I want, and not think about myself, and just live my whole life to make other people happy. But here's the thing, if anyone would ever dare to do that, God would take such great care of them. There would be nothing that you would want or need that God wouldn't supply for you, if you stop trying to get it all for yourself, and instead do for other people.

Ginger Stache: So, that's the real stuff. I mean, you talk about these scriptures, and they're hard. Wouldn't you love it, if what Joyce said was true? That when you underline it in the Bible, it's done like, "I underlined it because I do it".

Erin Cluley: Like a check Mark.

Jai Williams: Yeah, I said I would be a perfect Christian then because I have the perfect highlights and underlined. My Bible is so pretty on the inside. Not me though.

Ginger Stache: If only life was like that, a rainbow of highlights that just worked beautifully in application.

Jai Williams: Yep, but it goes back to even what you were saying earlier, you know, like, the practical living it out, you know, like, it's not always that easy to remember, "I need to just go back to the word. I need to go back to what we've talked about," you know, "What we've discuss with friends". And it's not easy.

Ginger Stache: Well, some of these things, they're just not natural for us.

Erin Cluley: No, they're not.

Ginger Stache: So, I wanna ask you about a couple of these scriptures and just tell me your thoughts. Kinda like a rorschach test for scriptures.

Erin Cluley: Like a pop quiz, I'm not ready!

Jai Williams: Like family feud...

Ginger Stache: Okay, here we go. Matthew 7:12: "So in everything, do to others, what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the law and the prophets". So, you know, it's the rule that we've all heard, and all want to live by. But what does this mean when it comes to friendships to you guys?

Erin Cluley: I mean... So, last night, mike and I were talking. He's my friend, he's my husband, but we're friends. But it was very applicable to this because I said something about... Or he told me, "Why don't you remember I told you this? Why don't you remember that"? And I said, "I have a lot going on. I can't remember everything". And he said, "Well, why do you always tell me that, that I forget everything"? And it was... Gosh, my pride in that moment.

Ginger Stache: Ouch, I hate when that happens.

Erin Cluley: But he was right. And that's what that reminds me of, that I expect of other people very differently than I expect of myself, sometimes. So, as a friend, I expect you to always know what I want without saying it, and to always be at my beckon call. But I don't want to give you that.

Ginger Stache: "Somehow know that I need you".

Erin Cluley: Right!

Ginger Stache: Right. "You should have known".

Erin Cluley: Right.

Ginger Stache: And yeah, that's a really great point.

Erin Cluley: "Didn't you know that I'm broken on the inside". Well, no, if I didn't say anything, how would you know that?

Jai Williams: Yeah, and I think I'm the opposite of that. Where I... I overthink that a lot, sometimes. Where I overthink, "Okay, I want people to do this to me". So, sometimes, my intentions aren't always as pure as they probably should be, because I'm always thinking of that. "Do unto others..." okay. So, in this situation I'd like that, which can oftentimes, then turn into me expecting my friends to pretty much be me, to me, which isn't fair.

Ginger Stache: Interesting.

Erin Cluley: Oh, wait... Ginger and say that again.

Ginger Stache: Because I get.

Jai Williams: You know what I mean?

Ginger Stache: Yeah.

Jai Williams: Because I'm so... I've been a very intentional Bible-studier, Bible-liver all my life, and I'm a to-the-book rule keeper, for the most part, you know. Other than like, certain things, I'm a rebel, but for the most part, when it comes to like scripture, I'm like... All my life I've been that. So, because of that, I've intentionally, in my friendships, done things that help people or encourage people the way I would want it to be done, which then, sometimes, is unfair to expect that in return... To expect me, as a friend, from my friend. So, I don't give, my Ginger, room to be Ginger to me, because I'm expecting Ginger to be Jai because I did that for Ginger, you know? Or you know... It's just not fair.

Ginger Stache: I think... That makes so much sense. And I think that's really eye-opening for a lot of us is we do expect people to act like we think we do, not always that we really do. But like we think we do, to respond like we think we would, to say the things that we think need to be said. And that's not fair.

Jai Williams: It's not fair at all. And then that's when I... Once I really... Especially during... I know I talk about it a lot, but that divorce season really did help me like... And it's still helping me, like, break some of that down. Like my expectations of people, it changed in that. And it also helped me understand that all friendships aren't forever, you know, like, you know, but it just... What I expected from people sometimes wasn't fair because it's like, they're not even... They're not me, you know?

Ginger Stache: And they may need something different that I don't know about.

Jai Williams: Exactly. But then that also robbed me of really appreciating the friend that was being that friend to me. You know, like, because I was too busy expecting them to do what I would... And I've seen a lot of friendships fall apart because of that. I've seen a lot of friendships fall apart because people are like, "Oh, well, why wouldn't she send me a casserole at that..."? You know, like, I've seen... I'm just saying like...

Ginger Stache: I don't know. I'm surprised we're friends at all because I have never sent you a casserole and it might give you botulism.

Jai Williams: You've never sent me a casserole. Right, you're like, "No, I'm being your friend by not sending you a casserole".

Ginger Stache: Exactly. I love you, so I don't cook for you.

Jai Williams: But I've seen it in church so much that people get offended because people didn't do certain things that they would have done. And they're like, "They're not a good friend," you know? And so, yeah, like, the whole idea of friendship changed for me over the past couple of years.

Ginger Stache: Well, here's another verse and it goes along with it so well. But I think people misunderstand what we're supposed to do with this. John 15:13: "Greater love has no one than this to lay down one's life for one's friend". And when I hear that, I think, "Oh, my goodness," you know, "I can't be Jesus. I can't die for my friend". And yet, this means something so different than that. It's much more laying yourself down, putting some things aside, and picking up what your friend needs at times. And there's just a lot of wisdom in this, and I think it's really important. Because I have my self on my mind a lot. And I need to put that away sometimes, and really focus on what that friend needs.

Jai Williams: I love that.

Erin Cluley: When you said that, it made me think about how I know I have had to, at times, especially in this busy season, I live in, with like family and navigating all the different pieces, if I know like, a friend is hurting, or if they need to meet or something, and my go to is, "No," I'm... Me. I'm thinking about me. I'm tired, I wanna go watch Netflix because the kids have gone to bed or whatever. But to do what you're saying, to me, that looks like, "What do they need"? So, denying my desire to go get in bed and watch Netflix, I'm going to...

Ginger Stache: With a pizza. Cuz, I know you really well.

Erin Cluley: We're doing that tonight! You do know me well. Date night, Netflix, and a pizza. But to sacrifice what I want, in that moment, and instead, put on my pants that have buttons and go out to meet a friend who is in need.

Jai Williams: Pants with buttons.

Erin Cluley: Yeah, I know. That's a lot of love, right there.

Ginger Stache: It is, it is.

Erin Cluley: It is, but I...

Ginger Stache: I think that's a scripture. Greater love is to put on pants with buttons and go do what your friend needs.

Erin Cluley: Next time I do that. I'm gonna let them know for sure. Like, "Do you see what I've done for you, here"?

Jai Williams: Lift your shirt up, "Look at this". "For you".

Erin Cluley: But when you do that, like, there's such... It's such a gift to you. Because you really are operating out of selflessness. And it's... You're helping your friend.

Ginger Stache: Yeah, I think there are so many things that can make friendship easier for us. Because it really is not naturally easy. And some friendships are different than others. And I've been in different places in my life, you know, where I love it when God just gives you an instant connection. And I pray for that all the time. "Give me those divine friendships that just kind of happen". But others develop over time and sneak up on us and surprise us and they're wonderful gifts, too. But it takes a little bit of learning, and work, and sacrifice, like you said, to be a good friend.

Jai Williams: Yeah, I think one of the most beautiful things about our friendship, even with Joyce, understanding the differences of our expectations, with friendships. You know, like, Joyce is a busy lady with... That's a grandma that has a huge ministry. There's no way that we expect to have the same group chat with her that we, when we're talking about dumb stuff, you know, like, it can't be the same. But then...

Ginger Stache: Joyce is like, "No more gifs".

Erin Cluley: Aw, man!

Jai Williams: It's like, "I'm tired of all of it". So, we wouldn't do that with her. But I still love her as a friend. And that's something in this time, too, that in our friendship, that it's... All of us are literally, what we say at the beginning, like different stages of life. We do something... Probably ten years ago, I never would have even expected to have friends that were, you know, ten years older than me, ten years younger than me. I don't even know the math about how much... Joyce is almost 40 years older than me. It's like, I would have never thought I'd have a friend that's 40 years older. And I'm actually like, that I can say is like, I love this group of friends and I think it takes a level of flexibility and even expectations as friends in different seasons of life. Like, don't shy out to say, "I only want to be in this group of friends". Like, "I only want this group at church". "I want to be with the cool people at church," or "I want this age group".

Ginger Stache: That is such big point.

Jai Williams: It's okay to have differing friends. And the fact... I'm the only black girl, you know what I'm saying? Like and that's different too. Like so... But I'm okay with it.

Ginger Stache: That's such a good point, because you're right, we get the good stuff from our friends. And that's why what you said, I love having different friends. People who are not like me, I need them to rub off on me, whether it's age or gender or race or whatever it may be, I love learning things from different people. I need deeper friendships, and we do need this. So, we wanna talk about that and how to deal with some of the hard stuff when friendships aren't going so well. But right now, and this really plays into it, because rejection is such a big part of what divides friends. And often, you know, quite accidentally, we don't even know what's happening. So, Joyce has some thoughts about navigating rejection and forgiveness in our relationships.

Joyce Meyer: Build more windows and fewer walls. You know, the minute that somebody hurts you or offends you, if you're sensitive, you can feel like this little invisible wall go up, because we want to protect ourselves. We don't want to get hurt again. But here's the fact, you can't love people if you're not willing to get hurt. There's no relationship that you can have, where you won't get hurt sometimes, or somebody will disappoint you. That's why we need to be quick to forgive, merciful, believe the best. And see we're not... You're not responsible really, for how somebody treats you, you're only responsible for how you respond. And if we respond properly, God will take care of and deal with the other person. God brings vengeance into our life, and he's our recompense and our reward.

How many of you think that God could take better care of you, than you can take of yourself? Well, if you really believe it, then why don't you put it to a test in your life? Mmm-hmmm...Different story. Learn to be a little more transparent with people. We usually don't do so because we fear rejection. But if a person rejects us for being honest about ourselves, then they would never be a good friend, anyway. If you have to be a people-pleaser, doing everything the other person wants you to do in order to gain their friendship, you will always have to do the same thing to keep their friendship. And eventually, you're gonna get tired of it and not want to do that anymore. It's impossible to be what every person in our life wants us to be, so we should decide to be ourselves.

I've got a new statement that I'm gonna be using: stop saying, "Yes," if your heart is screaming, "No". Be authentic, take off your masks, stop pretending and be real. Be totally honest with people, simultaneously using wisdom... And that's very important. Being honest doesn't mean that you have to give your opinion on every subject that comes up, "Well, I'm just being honest," well, no, that lacks wisdom. The Bible says, "Only a fool speaks out all of his opinions". It doesn't mean that you tell a friend everything about yourself, some things should be kept just between you and God.

Erin Cluley: I feel everything she just said very deeply. Like, there's a few statements in there that I'm like, "Oh".

Ginger Stache: I think so too, yeah.

Erin Cluley: Don't be everything for all people.

Ginger Stache: That's hard. Because we don't want to hurt anyone. And so, somehow... And this is wrong thinking that I'm sure I've had, is I think I have to be what they want to be the kind of friend that they need. But then, I'm not worthy or worthwhile as a friend because I'm not being myself.

Jai Williams: Exactly, yeah.

Ginger Stache: So, it's just a cycle.

Jai Williams: That friend is... Like, I said earlier, it's... You're robbing... I'm robbing you the opportunity to be authentically you. And I'm missing out on the benefits of you being authentically you.

Erin Cluley: Yeah.

Jai Williams: Because that's why God brought us together. It wasn't for you to morph into what you think I need or morph into what I say I need from you. Like, it's to be you. Like, of course, we talk it out and figure out, you know, boundaries and things like that. But I think it's important as friends that we don't do that.

Erin Cluley: Just to be super honest... This is sort of silly, but even with the two of you, you all are very talented ladies. And I have, at times, thought like, I am not good enough to be their friend. I can sing. I know, we all know this.

Jai Williams: You really can. Especially NSYNC songs.

Erin Cluley: No, I can't. But like that...

Ginger Stache: She can belt out those NSYNC songs.

Erin Cluley: That... I've had to work through that a few times. Like, "I wanna be just like them". Because I do, I love you both so much and I think you're amazing. "I'll never be that cool. Like, why do they let me hang out with them"? And so, I've had to work through some of that. Like, "No, Erin, you bring your own things to the table, here. They don't love you because of your lack of musical abilities. They love you because of who you are".

Ginger Stache: Probably, every one of us could say the exact same thing. Sure, I can look at the two of you and say the exact same thing. And I see erin, and I think, "Erin is like the epitome of a good friend".

Jai Williams: Yes.

Ginger Stache: You have been in how many weddings? You're like the...

Erin Cluley: Twenty-seven.

Ginger Stache: Okay, there it is, 27 dresses. I mean, Erin just has such qualities that I would love to have. And I look at Jai and I think the same thing about, so many different things, and not just talent, but so many things. And I think that's part of loving, really loving the people that you're good friends with, is not wanting to be who they are, wanting to be who I am. But it's not always easy.

Erin Cluley: It isn't. And what I had to talk to myself about this was, one: "Erin, deal with yourself," but also, "Who are these two ladies in your life"? Like, I know who you are, and I know your character. And you love me because you're wonderful and you aren't asking me to be somebody that I'm not. So, that... I had to remember who you are and not just worry about what I was thinking you wanted.

Ginger Stache: I think it's so important to realize that we do let each other be each other. And that's hard to do sometimes, because of our own insecurities. And I wonder different things, you know, that I have to work through in my mind. Let me give you an example with another friend that I have. My friend, amy, and I have been friends for years, and years, and years. And we had children together and we've just been really close. Then I moved away from where we lived in Ohio. So, now, it's been nearly 20 years that we've been long distance friends. Now, let me tell you, your long-distance friends, they matter. You don't wanna let go of those friendships. But there have been times, with me and amy, that we don't talk as much. And then you start... I start to ask the questions. You know, "Is she upset with me. Did I do something? Does she not wanna be friends anymore"? All those little insecurities start to work their way up. But what I love is that with real friendships like that, when you do talk again, it's hours and it's like you were never apart.

Jai Williams: You caught up all those years.

Ginger Stache: Exactly. And so, it's such a blessing to have friends like that. So, don't let those questions, those insecurities come up in your mind. I'll start blaming myself, and I think a lot of people will do that as friends. And even if we don't have as many friends, we start to think, "Well, how can I be different, to get more friends"? That is never the answer. Unless there are things in your life, you know, that you're hurting someone with.

Jai Williams: Yeah, because you can be real... Not you, but people I've known people to expect... And that's something that Joyce just talked about in the clip. Like some things you only do need to keep with you and Jesus. Like you need to have him be your closest friend.

Ginger Stache: That's very true.

Jai Williams: And a lot of times, we want our friends to be Jesus in human form. And we wanna dump everything on a friend where that can just be an emotional weight to that other friend.

Ginger Stache: Right, we can't be overly needy and expect them to fulfill all of our needs.

Jai Williams: Exactly. So, they're like, there are some people that are out there that probably don't have a lot of friends because maybe you... Maybe you're a bad vibe, you know, maybe you are like a joy-sucker, you know, when you walk in like... You know, so, maybe, we could work on... I could do that. I could be that way, you know.

Ginger Stache: We all have stuff to work on.

Jai Williams: We can work on that stuff.

Ginger Stache: But if it's changing who you are on the inside, don't do that. Be who you are. Ask God to show, "What do I need to do to be the kind of friend that they need," instead of, "Why aren't they being the kind of friend that I need"? Cuz, you know, you see a glimpse of us, here, on the podcast, but you don't see everything. And we've gone through some really hard things. We've had to have some serious, painful, difficult conversations that have been important and really matter. And, you know, there have been times, like you said, that just our life and the things that we're going through make it difficult. I sent a text to you guys last week and said, "I just miss us," you know, "We just need to get together". And we haven't done it yet, but it's thrown out there, you know, so that we know what each other needs. We have to be honest.

Erin Cluley: One thing, as you said, that we've had hard conversations. The one thing that has stood out to me, and any time, for us, in particular, and then other hard conversations I've had with friends, the thing that always stands out is after having them, I should have expected the best of them. And sometimes, we get so in our heads about why something is the way it is or isn't, that I forgot to expect the best of them, and remember who they are, what their heart is. I've had conversations even with someone, here, at work. And she and I were just talking about it the other day, we've worked through some hard stuff. And I went into it frustrated, and then, as I hear her talk, I'm like, "Oh, okay, yeah, I see your side. You... I know who you are". So, I think that's such a really big part of our friendship is learning that. And part of those hard conversations are going into it, expecting that they are good, and their heart is in the right place, you know, as opposed to frustration and anger.

Ginger Stache: I like that you said learning it because friendships are not instantaneous. Even with those divine connections, you know, where you just kinda click and you're so grateful, but that's a seed that has to be cultivated and watered, and it takes a lot of love and patience and forgiveness. We've had a lot of forgiveness between the three of us.

Jai Williams: Yeah, we had to. Like this is a friendship with me and Ginger that started back, like, 2013 or 14, something like that, that's like, it's taken us several hard conversations, tears...

Ginger Stache: Oh yeah, yeah.

Jai Williams: All kinds of things for us to get to a place where we're this comfortable. And like, the same, even... Well, honestly, not really... When I first met you, you hugged me, so. I just kinda...

Erin Cluley: Which isn't normal. Just so, you know.

Jai Williams: It isn't?

Erin Cluley: No, I don't...

Jai Williams: You just really liked me initially?

Erin Cluley: Yeah, I was drawn to you.

Jai Williams: Really?

Ginger Stache: I didn't like her. No, I'm kidding! I'm really kidding!

Erin Cluley: Well, this is a safe place. Let's talk about that.

Jai Williams: Let's just hash this on out.

Ginger Stache: No, I did like... I loved her.

Jai Williams: But, like, no, like, I mean, you did. You just came and hugged... And I stood up and hugged you back, which I don't do either. But, like, but yeah, like, just understanding things and growing in friend... But we've had hard conversations, like it's not easy. Like, friendships are work. And that's a lot of times, why a lot of people don't have friends too, because it's like, do you really wanna have the energy to invest in it? Because it takes a lot of work.

Ginger Stache: It does. And we wanna talk about expectations, too. We mentioned that just a little bit, but with all relationships, friendships, marriages, whatever it may be, expectations play a huge role. So, we're gonna see what Joyce has to say about that and how it will apply to you and your friendships.

Joyce Meyer: There's so much pressure sometimes to be like somebody else or like everybody else. And I think really all of us really, we want to be loved and accepted for who we are. We don't wanna feel like that we have to do this to make you happy, or do that to make you happy, or be this to make you happy. We just wanna be free to be ourselves. And, you know, we've all got a little bit of uniqueness. And you're not gonna find two people that are exactly alike. And often, especially in marriage, it becomes a real issue because we usually marry someone that is opposite of us. We're attracted to somebody that has what we don't have, although we really don't understand that's why we're attracted to them.

And then we get married and we start trying to change them and make them be like us. And I know that was a real problem for Dave and I for a lot of years. And I'm so glad that we both got over it, because now we've been married 55 years. And, you know, that's... I'm proud of that, because there's not a lot of people that make it that long. And actually, we probably have more fun now, get along better now, than we ever have.

And there's many, many things that I love and appreciate about Dave. But the thing that I love the most, is he really lets me be who I am. Even though I have little annoying habits, I'm impatient, I'm sure I could name a whole bunch of different things, but he actually... Things that many people would think were faults, he actually laughs at me and thinks it's funny, because he knows that, that's just the way I am. But, you know, I went through a period in my life and I'm sure that most of you have too, where I really felt pressured to be like this person, or that person, or some other person. And sometimes other people do pressure us. But sometimes they don't even have to pressure us, we put the pressure on ourselves. And, you know, it's really important that you learn how to accept yourself and be yourself, because God is never going to help you be somebody else.

Ginger Stache: So, those great friendships begin with people who love themselves.

Jai Williams: Yeah.

Erin Cluley: That's huge.

Ginger Stache: Yeah, knowing that we are creations of God and not loving our self in an unhealthy, selfish way, but having that confidence of who we are in Christ, loving ourselves gives us love to give a friend. And that's something I always want to foster so that I have it to give to other people. Sometimes, I do it better than others. But you know, it's a goal, hashtag goals.

Jai Williams: Right, right.

Erin Cluley: You can always tell when someone who doesn't love themselves or they have a lot of pain that they're holding on to, it's hard to be friends with them because there's that veil up that you can't be vulnerable in the same kind of way when you aren't comfortable with who God is in you. So, it makes friendship really difficult.

Jai Williams: Yeah, I know one of the biggest things that we've had hurdles with, especially in these trying times over the past five years, is just like race and culture and differences. And a lot of people in church don't talk about it. You know, we don't really talk about it. And I know, for me, personally, because I've experienced so much in different church settings, being, you know, the minority in a lot of situations, I came to our friendship sometime with that baggage and that past pain and that past refusal to ever be treated a certain way that, you know, that maybe I projected onto even you guys, you know, that... But also, a reality of like understanding that in most of those situations, I couldn't be my authentic self. I didn't feel like I could, because if I did, half the time people couldn't understand me. So, even, my vernacular, the way I speak, like I would code switch. Like there's something called code switching that a lot of African Americans... And other cultures do it too. But I can only speak on mine cuz that's who I am. But like when I'm with my fam... I notice, it's like speaking different languages. When I'm with my family, I don't talk like, completely like this. It's a natural thing when I get in a professional environment that I code switch. I was trained to do it as a child, and I do it automatically. Well, you guys know this, because I kinda... I think when I'm at your house, I just be regular, like... You know, like, at this point, you know...

Erin Cluley: I like it when it happens.

Jai Williams: I know. But it took a while for me to disarm myself, to get to... It took some really hard conversations to understand, like, "Okay, did you do that because I was black? Did you do... Did ya'll under..."? Like, it was a lot of things especially in some of the really, really tense times that a lot of people weren't... In the church, weren't talking about, you know, some of those issues which, you know, was fine with me. But it's like, "How does this affect me"? Because this is affecting me. This what's happening outside, and in the news, and in the world, it's affecting me, you know, and I'm scared about certain things. And so, as my friends, that I really love and trust, I'm like, "How do you guys feel about it"? And so, I know a lot of our hard conversations were even surrounding that, and I was grateful. And I think it took our friendship... Has taken our friendship to a whole 'nother level. Because even, I think, one of you... It might have been you that said, like, "Every time you talk to me, I feel like I'm in trouble," you know? And I'm like, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm just angry and I'm frustrated". And I mean, there are areas I had to work on. But even that level of comfort for you both to be able to say, "Okay, let's talk about it. Okay, okay, we can do better". But I feel like... I think you might have said that. I don't know. Both y'all probably said it.

Jai Williams: But I'm just saying, having those hard conversations even around things that are taboo or things that are tough.

Ginger Stache: Well, the great thing about it is there are things that we all have to learn. I mean, we can't possibly understand one another's experiences because we haven't lived them. And so, learning that makes us better people. And then, at the same time, we're learning, like you said, earlier, erin, each other's hearts. So, I can get down to, "This is who I know they are. They might need a little bit of coaching in this area because they don't know what it's like for me". And it goes all the way around. So, I think, when it's done in a healthy way... Which is hard to figure out.

Jai Williams: My ways weren't always healthy.

Ginger Stache: It's hard.

Jai Williams: Let's throw that out there. They weren't the healthiest. It's the grace of God that we're still friends.

Ginger Stache: It makes us all better in the long run.

Erin Cluley: It does. And I... Looking back on some of those conversations, they were uncomfortable. And I have never had someone to talk to about some of those really difficult things before. I've never had to talk to somebody about what their experience was like growing up so differently than I did, being a different race than I am. And so, they were hard conversations. But also, I was so grateful, don't know if I ever told you this, that you were so patient to let me have them with you. And we were able to have conversations that not everybody's having. And it was really important for me. Like, I feel like I have grown a lot, in a lot of ways, because of your willingness to talk with me.

Jai Williams: Your willingness to, like, understand, not just me, as Jai, but understand that baggage to say, like, "Okay, let me research". So, you did some your own research, and then you also were like, "Is there any literature I can read? Is there anything..."? You know, so, like...

Erin Cluley: 'Cuz I care about my friend.

Jai Williams: You cared about... And so, I felt seen. And I think at the end of the day when you feel seen and known, that's a whole... That's our whole goal, like is that willingness to see and know goes deeper in that friendship and takes that friendship deeper.

Ginger Stache: That could be the definition of friendship almost.

Erin Cluley: Yeah, it is.

Ginger Stache: Yeah, to take the time, to lay down your life, to see and know...

Jai Williams: Your way. The way you said it.

Ginger Stache: Your friend, yeah. That's nice.

Jai Williams: No, I love it. I mean, that's what... And I do believe that friend... A brother is born through adversity. I think once we have those tough times, it's not... That's not the sign to tuck in your tail and run, to be like "Ah! Conflict".

Ginger Stache: "Never mind, I'm out," and a lot of people will do that. "I am out". You know, yeah.

Jai Williams: That's not what friendship is. Like, without... If you love someone, there will be contrasts. There will be conflict. But it's about the resolution of it all. Like, how do you agree to disagree? Or how do you try to find out why? And you know, the foundation... If you really love it, you'll invest in it.

Ginger Stache: And it's so scriptural. I mean, it's how Christ tells us to love one another, anyway. And he says in the Bible he created us for a relationship. He... Man should not be alone. I mean, that... He brings us together so that we can love and support each other. And, you know, there are so many beautiful scriptures that tell us that. That says, "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way, you'll fulfill the law of Christ," Galatians 6:2. And then, other things about forgiving, and not being a gossip, which separates friends, and just so many great guidelines in God's word. Well, thank you, both, for being my friends. I love you.

Jai Williams: Well, thank you, friend.

Ginger Stache: And all of you, out there, I know we talk like this because we sincerely mean it. Maybe I can't see you. Maybe I don't know everything about you. But there is something that God does in a supernatural way that pulls us together when we have these conversations, when you're listening, when you're part of it, when we're praying for one another. I don't have to know you to pray for you. And so, today, I pray that God opens your heart and your life to the right friends, the people who will bless you and who you can bless in return. We do have an offer for you that I think will really help, and you're gonna love it. If you go to:, it's a free audio download called, "Love God, yourself, and others". Three really important ways to work on yourself so that those relationships are gonna be seeded into fertile ground. That's who you can be, that friend that is ready to be a friend to somebody else. And don't forget, while you're there, to subscribe to the podcast, catch up on other episodes, let us know how you're doing. We love hearing from all of you. And we'll see everybody next time.

Jai Williams: See ya.

Ginger Stache: Bye.
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