“It’s impossible to live the right life when you have the wrong friends.” Craig Groeschel
Friendships are always evolving, wouldn’t you agree? And not only are the relationships themselves evolving, our definition of what we would consider to be a friend evolves as well.
I can recall the types of “friends” I had during my teens and into my early twenties. Good heavens, can somebody feel me? Makes me grateful for that evolution I mentioned. Isn’t that season necessary though? It’s impossible to really appreciate a good friendship if you haven’t had a few shallow, one sided, selfish friendships to grow from. I feel like the Lord has taught me a lot in this area over the last six or seven years. Here’s where I’ve landed and the guidelines I try to stick to when it comes to my friendships.
It starts with you. The day I began looking inward, I was on my way to better friendships. Instead of approaching a friendship wondering what I could get out of it, I began looking for ways that I could contribute to the relationship. I began working toward being the type of friend I wanted in another person.
There is a necessary season of cutting ties to experience growth. This was painful for me. This was also the same time that the Lord was really working in my life in lots of areas. Pruning, if you will. It hurt. It was lonely. But oh, sister. How beautiful the growth it brought into my life. Growth and relationships I still benefit from today. There hasn’t been one thing that the Lord has asked me to lay down that I have looked back on and wished I hadn’t. NOT ONE.
Not everyone gets the free pass to be your friend. This is what you didn’t hear me say. I didn’t say not everyone deserves your respect or your kindness. And I didn’t say don’t be friendly. What I’m getting at here is filtering those that have access to your most precious, private spaces. Guarding your heart and using great wisdom and discernment when it comes to the people you allow in. I wholeheartedly believe that those we surround ourselves with are essential to the story we want to tell with our lives. Friendships are such a sweet, sweet, wonderful blessing. They possess the power to make or break us. Know your worth. For this reason I say, not everyone gets a free pass.
Not all friendships are created equal. What do I mean? There are different, but necessary, levels of friendships. Be ok with that. From your acquaintances, to your play-date park moms, women at the gym, women in your church, people you see daily, to narrowing the funnel down to the closest relationships you have. Your bestie for the restie! Yeah I said it. Different levels of friendships are ok, and in my opinion, very natural and healthy. You don’t have to divulge all to everyone. This is also a great place to practice wisdom when sharing your life.
Are you the problem? Is your life a revolving door of friends? Are you constantly “on the outs” with someone? Are you always, or frequently the victim? Does drama seem to follow you wherever you go? Do you always talk about yourself, rarely pausing to consider others? If you answered yes to any of these questions, I’m gonna break it to you gently. There’s about a 100% chance that you’re the problem. Begin to ask yourself what you can do to contribute to others lives instead of taking from it. A life lived all about ourselves isn’t much of a life at all. It takes some effort to learn how to give instead of always take. Be intentional.
Here’s what this all boils down to. You can have a lifetime of shallow friendships that come and go with the wind, or you can get vulnerable, do some self reflection and soul searching and gain real, deep, true friendships that will alter your definition of what a friend truly is. What story are you telling from the friends you choose? Might be time to make some hard decisions. Do it. You won’t be sorry.