When you get serious about your faith, it doesn't come without loss. You lose a sense of whom you used to be as you begin to be less impressed by "worldly" things. You begin to see the world through the eyes of God and measure things according to His word.
As you cautiously navigate this newfound faith and make adjustments, people start to notice. First, they comment, then they start to question, and eventually, those who aren't ready to surrender their lives pull away from you.
It may come in the form of petty arguments or outright accusations. It begins with fewer phone calls, and suddenly you aren't invited to girls' night out anymore. They roll their eyes when you mention a particular bible verse that may apply to their situation.
You start to question, "Is it me?"
The truth is, it is you. You changed, not them. They are the same person you've been friends with all these years. When they say, "You're acting brand new," they're not lying. When you accepted Jesus into your life and started operating in your faith you became a completely new creature. The old you went away (2 Corinthians 5:17).
So, how then do you cope? How do you embrace this new and improved you while navigating these old relationships? How do you deal with Jesus coming between you and your friends? Here are three things to consider when coping with lost friendships because of your faith.
Coping with Lost Friendships Because Of Your Faith
1. Don't Fault Them For Leaving
Bottom line, you changed. They enjoyed spending time with the girl they first met back in the day. That's whom they agreed to be friends with, not this new Woman of God.
Recognize that they have a right to leave. Relationships are fulfilling, until their not. Just because you're comfortable with being God's girl doesn't mean they're comfortable with being friends with her.
Think of it like this; your friendships are bound by a verbal contract based on the terms laid out when you first became friends. The friendship was based on the people the two of you were back then. Just like any other contract, each party has the right to terminate when the agreement is breached.
Your friends agreed to be friends with YOU, not you and Jesus.
2. Darkness Cannot Exist Where There Is Light
You're not cool with certain conversations, books, movies, and music at this stage in your journey. You're not even cool with certain places and people. They recognize that, and they're wondering if you'll even have anything in common anymore and if you're even still cool with them.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. - John 1:5 NIV
Sweetheart, the Holy Spirit in you is making that spirit in them very uncomfortable. Your light is smothering them. Instead of giving themselves over to your light and following your example, they have chosen to continue in darkness.
You must follow God's example...
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. - Romans 1:28
Let them go. Pray for them, but let them go and continue to live the life they want to live.
3. They're Not Equipped To Be Your Friend Anymore
For everything, there is a season, including friendships. The heights that God will take you if you endure until the end are usually higher than they are willing to go.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die. - Ecclesiastes 3:1-2
When you decided to get serious about your faith, the old you died. Those old friends are not familiar with this new version of you. You're not even familiar with her yet. You have been spiritually reborn.
This is a delicate time in your life. It's like you're a baby all over again in need of special care. Would you trust your newborn with just anyone? Then, why trust this new version of yourself with those old friends who have not themselves experienced this type of transformation?
It isn't fair to them or you. You know they aren't equipped to pray with you or for you. When you go through trials, they won't be able to offer good, sound biblical advice. They can only give you what they have, the world. But you're a Woman of God now. You have no need of this world. What you need is Jesus.
Here's a prayer to help you cope with lost friendships because of your faith:
Merciful Father, thank you for allowing me to see another day.
I humbly ask that you hear my prayer.
Please forgive me for the times that I've fallen short of being the woman you created me to be.
Please, at this moment, as I prepare to make my petition known to you in words, help me to recall any unforgiveness that resides in my heart towards others.
I understand that they, too, are imperfect creatures trying to survive in this fallen world.
Lord, help me to continuously view myself through your eyes and not how others see me.
Help me to remain obedient to your commandments.
Please give me the strength and courage to stand firm and flat footed on your word even when it's not the popular or politically correct thing to do.
Help me to release acquaintances, friends, and even relatives who have walked away from me because of the changes I've made in my life to please you.
Father, help me forgive them for not understanding the vision and purpose you've laid out for me.
Your word says that everything has a season and time.
Help me accept that those who left me are not required for me to walk in this season of my life.
I release them in the name of Jesus.
I release them from any obligation I've previously placed them under to comfort me, care for me, and to walk beside me.
I graciously accept the assignment and call on my life, and I respect the assignment and call on theirs.
Father, open my eyes to my own limitations so that I may work on them.
Help me to let down my guard so that you may chastise me as a loving father should.
I surrender everything to you.
In Jesus' name, I pray