A couple days after I wrote my previous entry on being “So Thankful,” a close friend, David Cotton, died. Maybe one day I’ll write about it, but not today. However, at the funeral, I got an opportunity to see some old friends. I hadn’t seen some of these faces in years and it was good to see them, especially my roomie Felicia. A couple of people got away before we took the above picture. Cynthia Bandy, girl, how did you get away before we took the picture?
Life has changed so much and life has happened to us all. We’ve all moved in so many different directions. Nothing stays the same. I was flooded with memories of the old Michigan State University days and the Michigan State Gospel Chorale. Wow is all I can say. Good days.
However, it brought back to the forefront of my mind the topic of friendship. I’ve been attempting to write about it for a couple of years because I’ve been evaluating what type of friend I am and what type of people I have in my life. What do I bring to the table? Are my relationships stretching me, challenging me, sharpening me? Are they pulling me up, dragging me down or keeping me stuck? What should I expect from the people in my life? Do I expect too much much or not enough?
Hmmm… this is a sensitive topic for me. I have a lot of people in my life but over the course of the years I discovered that there are levels of relationships. I discovered that not every body who you thought was supposed to have a front row seat in your life can have one. I’ve discovered that sometimes the people whom you thought would celebrate you and be happy over your accomplishments really are not happy at all. I’ve discovered that sometimes the very people you think will be in your life forever, for one reason or another (or seemingly for no reason at all) walk out of your life. I’ve discovered that some relationships are unbalanced. You give and they take or you take and they give. Then there are those friendships of convience. You know the “I need you today, so we can be friends” friendships. I have had hard discoveries- learned hard lessons when it comes to friendships.
Relationships have always been important to me. I love people. I think I’m pretty balanced. I don’t have to be around people all the time. If my friend doesn’t call me every other day or so, I’m not questioning the friendship or ready to jump off of a bridge. I try to invest a lot in the people in my life. I try to keep them encouraged, remember their birthdays, spend time laughing with them, grieving with them and being there if they need me. I, however, am not perfect so I always have to evaluate. I always have to look for ways to strengthen the relationships in my life. Relationships are important but having the right relationships is key.
I want to challenge you today to really HONESTLY think about the type of friend you are and evaluate the relationships you have. Make sure they are relationships that are encouraging you and pushing you forward and visa-versa. Make sure they are sharpening you and making you better. How do you invest in the people in your life? Are your friendships all about you? Have you abused or taken advantage of the gift of friendship in your life? Evaluate and adjust. Are there people who you keep seated in the front row of your life that you know need to move back a couple of rows? Sometimes we don’t adjust their seating out of fear that the seat will remain empty or sometimes it is because you know they condone your mediocre lifestyle.
I’ve been adjusting some seats. Its been hard. Some of them I didn’t want to adjust. I have found myself saying, “Maybe I’ll hold on to it just a little while longer- you know- give it one more shot. Maybe they’ll surprise me this time.”
I have some good friends. A couple of them have been in my life for a long time and some only a few years and some are just entering in. They know who they are. I don’t have to list their names. I can have fun with them and be serious as well. They challenge me, celebrate me, hold me accountable to living a Godly life, and fuss at me when I’m wrong. Sometimes their words hurt but they are always spoken in truth and they are always motivated by love. They want what is best for me and I want what’s best for them. They go the extra mile to make sure I have what I need. They add a different flavor to my life just as salt changes the flavor of food. The real friends in my life are definately SaLT in my life. They are very few in number but what they bring to my life is great.
I’ve always heard that you’ll invest in what is important to you. Who are you investing in? Who is investing in you? Are your relationships hindering your progress? Check your inner circle. Cultivate those good relationships- those God relationships. Learn how to make them stronger. Do some evaluating. Relationships change. People change. Seasons change. Adjust some seating. Are you holding on to something that was only meant to be temporary? Shake lose those that don’t have your best interest at heart. Believe God to bring you relationships that will add to your life and not take away from it.
Proverbs 27: 17 states, “As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”
Just something to think about today.
Wendy M. Reynolds