The Wonder of Healthy Friendships (#550)

New studies just out show just how powerful a network of good friendships can be. One study calls friendship better than morphine for its ability to produce endorphins that have pain-killing effects. Another suggests that the lack of human relationships may be the real cause of addiction, concluding that "the opposite of addiction is not sobriety; it's human connection." It's no wonder then that human brokenness—insecurity, loneliness, and price—keep us from the very relationships we seek.  Finding our life in the Father's affection allows us the freedom to bond with others in healthy friendships that brings joy to our lives in so many ways.  Wayne and Brad talk about what friendship really is and how you can find the connection you need, both with God and others to cultivate the friendships that can have a huge impact in your life.

Podcast Notes:
Wayne's Travel Schedule
Friends are Better than Morphine
The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered
Do Your Friends Actually Like You?
There are still a few more slots available if you want to join Brad and Wayne on their Trip to Israel
You can find our latest update on our work in Kenya here.
Add your voice to our question/comment line via Skype at "TheGodJourney"


  1. Wow… Thanks guys! Just yesterday – a co-worker was doing a certain task, he couldn’t see what he was seeing. After he left, I knew why he was having trouble: he was trying to have the right answer (even before he understood the question) like a child trying to gain approval. I recalled myself and the very same types of addiction to attentions. At any rate, when I read the info for today’s podcast, it was yeah, get that. Have a friend who created the world in six days… This has changed so much in the last decade. Don’t get me wrong folks, I like people, even love them. But the difference now is…I don’t need anything from them to do so, not even friendship. Friendship isn’t exactly dicey – it’s there or it isn’t. One’s errant expectations cause most of the problems. You don’t need to have friends to connect with the people in the world. Hence, Paul’s observations…just be what they need from love’s point of view not the flesh’s, misplaced clingy friendship isn’t real friendship either. Or agenda driven friendships, etc., yikes! Friendships will eventually happen over time between those who click. We just get to learn to be okay with that. When we bond errantly no one wins! Be equally yoked, and don’t settle for just anything as a relationship. And we cannot seem to figure out why there are so many divorces. Intimacy is sought by all, but so few are willing to let go of those darned expectations and control. We usually do not need what we think we need. The alone-ness which occurs as one seeks God’s heart through the religious fog is good; the addiction of busy fades away and you get back to who you really are, minus the trash or railroad ties, whatever… ; ) Have experienced the multi-verse around here: helping folk out from time to time you come across those would rather someone else do for them, rather than they themselves, thus clinging dependency. (An aunt has done these same things over the past few years to a sister and it has wrecked the family, cause of the need to take a side, absolute chaos.) Have mowed next door over the years many times, and had before sought to do good to those… These days, not so much or fast to do it for them, and it’s good. The real help may actually be in not calling the city or complaining to the neighbors. Let them deal with their own consequences over time, scaffolding which isn’t attached doesn’t need removed later. In the past, I would have jumped into the friend-zone and ended up doing us all no real favors. Here’s to Wayne’s forthcoming conversation with his neighbor…hope it goes well, cause that’s a lot of snakes man…not friend, cause we’ve met only once…

  2. Jim Nantz is my friend…but only when I’m watching the NFL game of the week on CBS (lol)!!!

    I’m gonna guess it’s a male thing, but most of my friendships centered around an activity, usually a sport. The better I was at that sport, the more friends I had. When I stopped playing sports, the friends went away.

    I’m like Mitch, in my choice of best friend. The next friends reside, according to the NYT article listed here, on the outer end of the second layer. Within the last year or so, I cut ties with a set of friends which I thought were friends, but only valued me by what they could get from me. Sure they tolerated me for many years, but only as a mentee, not a peer. It breaks my heart to know for so many years, I remained in the dark about their intentions…I guess it was denial, which I know is a necessary thing. I am glad know, as Wayne had once said in a prior God Journey intro, that I ‘woke up.’

    One day I would like to add to my inner circle of friends. The connection between addiction and connection is a new concept for me, and one that is very concerning.

  3. Transitions… is where I find myself today. Notice I said today. Not tomorrow, not yesterday. Trying to live in the “now” is difficult. Settling on His lap and sitting there is super hard. Thanks for such good teaching and the encouragement about not trying to rush this.

  4. “Friends are better than morphine.” Although I have never had morphine, I would agree that (good) friends are better! I have been able to find more and more comfort and joy from being with loving and emotionally safe friends, than I have good healing ministry programs, groups, books, counseling, etc… I am not against any of the previous practices/modalities as a means to bring one closer to healing and revelation. However, my problem has primarily been that of isolating and withdrawing from people out of shame and fear, which only furthered my shame and depression and feeling like I was a spectator of the human family; never feeling like I belonged. This place i was in fueled my feelings of loneliness and disconnect.
    Motivated by great pain and loss, I have reached beyond my comfort zone this past year, which has allowed me to find great riches – loving and compassionate friends!!! With out all of them this past year to help steady and anchor me, I don’t think I would have been able to persevere. It took my world as I knew it crashing and imploding for me to open my eyes to see that i have beautiful friends all around me!!! They have inspired and brought comfort to ease my great pain!!!

  5. The link for “The Likely Cause of Addiction” seems to be broken. Can we get a fixed link? thanks!

  6. I just listened to this Podcast and had to immediately write a reply. The phrase “your world gets smaller as you age” is very appropriate for my life, I grew up an athlete, musician, worship leader, teacher, and overall outgoing person in my profession and my church life. I began to notice after 2 years of working from home (IT job) that my friendships with old co-workers were dwindling. After another couple of years we chose to leave the church we were leading worship in for 3 years and I noticed that outside of Facebook no one called, texted, or tried to make time for me. As an outgoing person I put myself out there and asked people for their time to meetup and as time progressed it became clear that if I wasn’t in their religious or work circle I didn’t really matter to them much.

    Being someone who enjoys human contact God has been teaching me to listen to him more and be more respectful of others and not be quick to speak. I was challenged with this recently when a close friend of mine who has moved away from the area called me up and demanded I come down to support him with his failing marriage. Being that he and his wife were some of my closest friends I made arrangements to come and stay for 2 weeks and see if I could be of any help to them and their family. Within an hour of landing I began to peel away a layer of truth I hadn’t heard from my friend in the 15 years I knew him. I was taken back by details that I still have a hard time processing because of the facade that had been up for years. Once it was down and he knew there were no judgments on my end he felt free to explore his anger, frustration, depression, and pretty much any feeling going on in his head. I continued to rest on what God had told me about NOT speaking and listening until I knew in my heart it was something I could assist with.

    In reality there wasn’t many times in those 2 weeks I was given the freedom from God to just let loose and tell my friend the truths he needed to hear. It was more about being there physically and emotionally as a sounding board or just a lending ear. My heart began to break many times for both of my friends because we had never talked at this level of truth and honesty before. I would love to say that it made our friendship so much stronger and we talk all of the time but as you said in the Podcast “its all about proximity”.

    I struggle as an outgoing person to find my place in this world because I find that people have become closed off to hearing from me. A friend is someone who’s interested in being WITH you and not just hearing FROM you. I’m praying for the friends that can be open and honest with me and really enjoy ME.

    I have 2 great children and a great wife who is my best friend. She and I have talked about this many times and for men it is a different world than it is for women. Men are wired in ways that require activity or shared time to begin that relationship with. I really do enjoy my life but this is something that I really need help with in knowing how to make those friendships that are genuine and with people who want to be a part of this life with me.

  7. Thanks for sharing Adam. You have definitely spoken to me, as I have found a similar road in the deterioration of friendships, though I can’t claim to be an outgoing person.

    ‘A friend is someone who’s interested in being WITH you and not just hearing FROM you.’ I love that statement. I had that particular challenge for years with a particular friend, until I finally gave up. It was almost like the ‘Peanuts’ cartoon that has Lucy setting up the football for Charlie Brown to kick, then Lucy taking away the ball at the last minute, and Charlie falling on his backside. ‘We’ll get together’ became, ‘We’ll get together when I have nothing better to do.’

  8. Ron, I was so relieved to know I wasn’t alone with this and I believe there are many more men dealing with this issue. I began to look back at my previous male relationships many were based on a sport we played together or a men’s class at church we met in. Once those things were gone so were the “relationships”.

    Ron, if you every just want to talk feel free to email me at

    Thanks for being honest about this.

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