Grace, Anchors, and Arrows talks about the balancing act that is this life and how we alternate between holding on and letting go. A huge factor that can tip the scales is friendship. Truth is, people are messy because no one is perfect. So do we just endure and go along with the Bob Marley quote? “…everybody is going to hurt you; you just got to find the ones worth suffering for.” Or perhaps there’s a little more leeway in life and a saying like that doesn’t have to become a vow.
Here are a few examples that make for a good visual when it comes to friends.
1) A target, no not the store, an actual arrow in the bulls-eye target.
The farther away from the center, the fewer number of points earned. Picturing friendship in ‘rings’ is an easy way to visualize the concept because the more value they have the closer they are to the middle. The closer they are to the heart. If the bulls-eye in the target of friendship were concert seats the most important people would be sitting five rows back in the center (one would think the besties would be first row but the best seats with the best view and the photo spot that’s on point is usually a few paces behind row one.)
2) Stairs is another good example, they illustrate ‘levels’ of friends.
Starting with familiar strangers to acquaintances to strange acquaintances. The more stairs climbed the closer the friend, the higher the rank. At the top would be the ‘ride or dies’ and then right above those would be the one true ride or die who would actually take a bullet instead of ducking at the last second.
3) Chess is the third example, the one that fits friendship most honestly.
To be clear I know next to nothing about the game but it’s a good illustration because friendship is more about weaving people in and out rather than finding and forgetting. When it’s true, friendship isn’t about scoring points. It is not about who ranks higher, that’s called favoritism. Friendship is like a game of chess because people-yourself included-are always making moves. Even when we feel satisfied and would be thrilled to stay in one spot on one square till Jesus comes back, things will change because whether we want it too or not, life changes anyway. This is truly okay, as long as we know how to play the game.
In a three minute vlog Christine Caine covered all the bases when it comes to friendship, she said; “you don’t have to change your friends too often, if you allow your friends to change.” Don’t be afraid to enlarge the borders, allow people to grow and develop. Good friends don’t set limits, they want to see their people thrive and hear their stories along the way. The phrase ‘keep in touch’ is ridiculously easy these days with technology. There is no longer a solid excuse to not communicate with someone. Of course deep friendships are not achievable through social media or texting but that is how dozens of meaningful ones can be maintained. Caine said; “If you do life with the people that you love you’re not looking to love a whole lot of other people.” The friends you do life with, the ones you share interests and/or a career path with may differ from the one you’d call your best friend, if that’s the case, work hard to sustain those. Call, text, write, send random thinking-of-you trinkets, just do what you can to show you care. These days it’s not hard to put in the hard work it takes to keep friendships going. No matter how instant it is to text or tweet never discount quality time. For those that matter most sometimes what’s really needed is face-to-face time rather than just Face Time. When we are with those people, or any people, it is so important for us to actually be there. How sad it is that the importance of acknowledging other humans without being distracted actually has to be spelled out. It’s a simple fix at least, just put your freakin’ phone down. Turn it off if you have too. You’ll survive, the world won’t end, it it does I’ll give you $100. In the end, no one remembers the countless hours of networking, what’s reflected on more than anything is the moments that mattered. So make them matter now as they happen.
Who are your friends? Why are they your friends? Who’s contributing to your destiny? Who’s causing drama? Don’t get into complicated, co-dependent, unhealthy relationships. Stick with those who are yoked with you (equally yoked applies to more than spouses) and spurring you on. If there’s drama drop it, period. Iron sharpens iron says Proverbs 27:17. Life is too short to have friends who only dull your blade. Friendship is easy and virtually endless. Love what you got, maintain what you want, and enjoy it for the long haul. All that in less than five minutes. Christine Caine is one gifted speaker thank God for that Aussie gem.
Invisible Impressions discusses quality verses quantity. When it comes to friends, loyalty is a big deal for me as is honesty so that is exactly what I try to be. There’s some fallbacks with this though, it’s not that loyalty and honesty can be overlooked-that should never be the case. It’s just that only looking for those things can create a limited view. Like a horse pulling a carriage wearing blinders so it doesn’t notice anything except what’s directly in front of it. It’s easy to miss people that way because not everybody is going to score a 100% on our mental checklist of attributes that make up a perfect friend. People are so diverse and life is full of situations that are so very random. Walk-through-fire friendships are wonderful, life-altering blessings but they take time to develop. Qualities like loyalty and honesty cannot be proven at first, the important aspects that create trust have to be revealed. Craving a love so deep the ocean would be jealous is a poetic philosophy that’s worth committing to but don’t spend so much time and energy swimming into deeper water that you miss all the fun happening on the shore. The ride or die friends are extremely rare and they’re so great that they just happen and once they do, they never really leave. Life’s great moments have everything to do with God’s grace; to us it looks like a spontaneous gift that we couldn’t have put together if we tried. The good and really good friends however, are all around us. Finding the good ones just takes a little bit of Carpe Diem and a whole lot of momentary appreciation. If the search for quality is exhausting, delight in quantity. Or just know that without God there would be no quality or quantity friendships, so even if you’re shouting yolo while solo God is right there with you and Jesus + nothing=everything.
Thank you to group of beautiful ladies that I was privileged to have a brief but impactful season with. Your support means the world; thanks for helping me grow and see that friendship comes in all shapes and sizes. “I thank my God every time I remember you.”-Philippians 1:3