Yesterday my 36th book released, The Seven Deadly Friendships, and it has popsicles on the cover:
Maybe you’ve felt like one of those popsicles. That someone has hurt you. They’ve eaten away at your joy, and snapped your heart in two. I’ve certainly experienced that.
A few years ago, I prayed for a friend. I longed for us to reconcile. She was one of the seven deadly friendships I mentioned in the book (I named them all, and she typified Tempter Trevor). Whenever I was around her, I was tempted to violate what I knew was right. She kept pushing until I felt backed into a corner.
I was too scared (just being honest here) to fight back, to call her on what she was doing. Instead, in typical Mary fashion, I took all the blame for our friendship shift, while she yelled at me. Have you ever had one of those calls where your heart is beating so thrummy that it’s nearly escaped your chest? It feels like being reprimanded by an angry parent for something you didn’t do, but no matter what you said, you couldn’t help them see their side of things, couldn’t share your innocence–it only served to make you look more guilty.
I shook during that conversation. Said a bunch of prayers in the midst. Hoped upon hope that God would intervene and save this friendship before it broke up. But that prayer didn’t get answered (yet). Instead, the relationship broke in two.
Which is very, very hard.
Because if you’ve been vulnerable with someone, if you’ve shared your heart, then when the severing happens, you feel lost, broken, and alone. And all that vulnerability is out there. You wonder if they’ll share your weaknesses to a wider circle. You move to call your friend out of habit, only to pull back your finger before you do, remembering how it all ended.
After we hung up, I ugly-cried.
But then this odd sense of relief poured over me.
It was like that scene in The Two Towers where Wormtongue’s hold on Theoden is broken by Gandalf.
He comes to himself, whole.
Has that ever happened to you after a difficult relationship? You suddenly understand what went wrong, and now you are wiser.
I’ve had that happen a few times. I’ve suffered through some awful friendships. And to be vulnerably honest, I’ve certainly not always been a healthy, life-giving friend.
That’s why the book isn’t just about THOSE people out there; it’s about our own hearts, what we contribute to the relational mess, and how Jesus can empower us to grieve and joyfully proceed on with our lives.
It’s my sincere hope that The Seven Deadly Friendships brings clarity to what happened, what is happening, and how you will respond in the future to painful relationships.
I’m praying through relational verses in my daily podcast, Pray Every Day. You can be prayed for about your toxic relationships here.
If you’d like to find out which of the seven deadly friendships you’re currently experiencing, take this helpful quiz.