When the hope of a friendship extends beyond the fun and enjoyment of companionship into the realm of the soul, the process of self-disclosure often leads naturally to the places of greatest challenge: our areas of struggle. Some would say that women more naturally dwell in this relational territory, but I find that any relationship that truly begins to delve into our spiritual life will necessarily begin to touch on the reality of our struggles.

Whether we struggle with materialism, negativity, resentment, self-acceptance, prejudice, or irresponsibility, our friends become a safe place in which to talk about the challenge as well as the efforts we are making to turn these over to God’s care.

Often, as we learn more about a friend’s personality style and family of origin, their areas of struggle begin to make more sense. “Of course,” we might say, “No wonder it is so difficult to trust again, or try again, or rest in God’s goodness.” And that kind of understanding can lead to transformation, as we’ll soon see.

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