To Yesterday’s Friend, Can we Try Again?

 

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We meet and our hearts leap at the prospect of a new and exciting friendship. We mark our calendars with important dates (e.g., Girls Night Out). We plan outings with the kids at family-friendly coffee shops and neighborhood parks as well as talk on the phone daily. Shoot, we even friend eachother on Facebook (which, as we all know, is the official marker of a solid friendship)!

Excitement grows as we get to know more about one another. Our lives intersect and it’s okay that we aren’t perfect because we know we can be real with eachother. We feel whole, like we have found the missing piece of the friendship puzzle that our hearts were designed to hold.

We foolishly think that things will always be this way.

But, life happens. Babies get sick and we have to cancel our lunch dates. Work commitments pile up and our fun weekend escapades get put on the back burner. Running the kids around from doctor’s appointments to school activities leaves us tired and desperate for more Zzz’s and less interaction with the human race. (Even the really important people that make our souls come alive.)

Now it’s been six months since we hung out and I can’t even remember what our last conversation was about. Was it on the phone? Did we actually meet in person and catch up on eachother’s lives? NO, I’m sure we just chatted over text. That’s easier than actually talking or seeing one another. And I’m just too busy for one more thing these days.

One. More. Thing.

That sounds so dismissive. Like our budding friendship isn’t important enough to be a priority in my crazy life. “But it is important!” my inner voice screams. It’s just hard to keep momentum going when I am being pulled from ten different directions at any given moment.

Why can’t I remember how important it is for me to make time for her? 

Oh, my heart aches for what our friendship could have been. We might have started a business together. Maybe we could have bought a condo on the beach and vacationed there every summer. Who knows what adventures awaited us that now we won’t experience due to life getting in the way?  Due to me allowing life to get in the way.

That’s really what happened. I let everyone else dictate my schedule and forgot to make our friendship a vital necessity. It really is vital and it really is a necessity. Remembering this fact every single day instead of just in moments of stress and overwhelm is the only way to keep it alive, however.

Let’s keep it alive. I don’t want our friendship to be known as something that was almost good but could really have been great. I want it to last longer than my ever changing feelings and inconsistent schedule. We’re both worth the investment, after all.

Yes, I will reschedule twenty times if it means that I eventually get to spend time with you. The reward, your beautiful soul-mending, life-giving friendship, is worth the effort.

Can we try again?

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People over Plans

Adventurers

Friendship is something we all crave. From playing on the playground in kindergarten to checking out the hot new club at age 22, we want a friend to tag along with us. Life’s just not as enjoyable alone.

Deep friendship takes time and investment. Time with eachother one-on-one and in social settings. Investment in activities and resources that encourage interaction on a regular basis.

In lasting friendships, prioritizing our relationship with the other person is so important. When we put someone at the top of our list, they feel valued and we feel connected. Without this kind of purposeful drive, our friendships will end up falling short.

It is never a waste of time to choose a person over a plan. Some of my greatest friendships have been forged on spontaneous trips and off the cuff remarks. We can’t overthink it. We have to embrace different opportunities as they come our way…even if they don’t fit into our neat little box of comfort.

Comfort is a

Doing new things with our friends allows us to see life differently. Sacrificing our plan for the sake of a friend’s idea of fun isn’t selling out. It’s giving ourselves a big ol’ fat chance to grow up a bit. Last I checked, growth is good.

When I make the decision to step out of my comfort zone and do something that I’ve never done before because my friend wants to, I learn something about myself. I can embrace a new level of boldness and challenge or I can sit back and watch my friends grow without me.

That’s what happens, by the way. New environments bring new perspectives. If we skip out on hanging with our friends because they do something we’ve never done before, they will eventually grow beyond where we are. They will be enlarged by the experience in some way, whether it was great or just so-so, because they chose to think beyond their norm.

Do you have a friend that challenges you to climb higher and reach farther? If not, get one (or be one!) A whole new level of relationship is waiting for you beyond your familiar routine.

The Ingredients for a Balanced Life

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Honesty is very important to me. It’s probably at the top of my list of “Things that Will Keep Me in Your Life.” Without it, there is no point in engaging in relationship with someone. It’s pretty easy to point out the people in the public arena who are dishonest on purpose. A dishonest public life will earn you a bad reputation. (How many celebrities can you think of that have done this?)

More often than not, though, I am seeing something I like to call Personal Dishonesty (PD). It’s the initial spark that ignites the fiery chain reaction of widespread deceit. In essence, PD is telling ourselves a lie and then believing it to the point of acting on it.


PD trends that seem to plague our world:

I am ugly because my body is not like the model on the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine. I will starve myself until I look like her.

I am unimportant because my family doesn’t take the time to listen to me when I speak. I will stop speaking up and hide my feelings from everyone.

I am weak because I cry about everything, including Hallmark commercials. I must suffer from depression and need to take medication for the rest of my life.

I am a failure because I can’t find a good job. I will stop looking and just eat doughnuts and watch Netflix on the couch forever.

I am tainted goods because of what happened to me in my past. I will never get married so why even try to take care of my body and dress nicely?


Did you notice that each of these PD moments start with a thought that inevitably ends with a supporting course of action? It’s not hard to see then how our world has become wrought with external deception.Our scale of honesty is off balance due to false perceptions of ourselves.

We can’t even begin to be honest with those around us if we aren’t first honest with the one looking back at us in the mirror. The devil is called the father of lies for a reason, people. If he can get us to believe one little seemingly insignificant lie about ourselves, he can manipulate us into believing that a life of deception is acceptable. After all, it is the norm these days, right? (Again, take a look at Hollywood.)

Allow me to counter the list of common PD trends with some God-breathed truths. First, a necessary disclaimer: *These truths only turn into actions when we BELIEVE them.*


Counter-cultural truths to apply to our swindled souls:

I am beautiful because God says I am a masterpiece, made by His own hands, breathed into existence by His very breath. He saw His creation (you and me!) and He said, “It is good.” (Ephesians 2:10, Genesis 1)

I am valuable because God says His thoughts toward me are precious and too many to count! He has put His own words in my mouth so that I can speak life and love everywhere I go without fear of what someone else might think. (Psalm 139:17-18, Isaiah 51:16)

I am strong because God created me in His image and He is all powerful and mighty to save. This means I have power and might. In fact, the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives inside of me! (Psalm 147:5, Romans 8:11)

I am victorious because God has given me the ability to endure through hardship and not give up. He says that I am more than a conqueror through the unyielding love of Jesus. (Colossians 1:11, Romans 8:37)

I am made new through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. The old days have been redeemed because of God’s amazing grace. He makes my face shine and never looks on me with shame. (2 Corinthians 5:17, Psalm 34:5)


Let’s start a revolution of honest living! Read the verses referenced above. Pray them out loud until your mind, will, and emotions accept the truth for what it really is–

The ONLY thing that can set you free.

Silence the liesby speaking the TRUTH.

Soul Care

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45961320@N07/17135117585">Just a cup of coffee</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">(license)</a>

I was featured on the amazing Flourish blog again today! This time I was excited to write about health as it refers to our soul (mind, will, and emotions).

Here’s a sneak peek:


How do you take care of yourself? Are there some fundamental things that you do on a regular basis to tend to your soul needs?  I have found that there are three areas of life that, when neglected, can be the source of a dry and weary soul. On the other hand, much can be accomplished in our lives and in the lives of others if these three categories are given mindful attention:

  • Rest
  • Relate
  • Run

(Read more here…)