Friday, July 29, 2011

Day 5

Today is a double post day.
Aren't you excited?
I realized after writing all of these I had about a million (or 8) posts and so I'm consolidating a bit.
These two kind of go hand in hand.

Consistency goes a long way
You don't always have to have the right words, do grand gestures or be the "super friend".  A bit of onsistency goes a long way and speaks volumes. One who is constant, one who is faithful, one who is unwaivering in commitment to making friendship work (yes it takes work!), that one is a diamond in the rough. 
note: I'm not talking about being consistently  inconsistent :) just wanted to make that really clear! 

Consistent friendships are generally the ones that last a lifetime and not just for a season. They don't usually go through times of not speaking, major disconnection or growing apart. They tend to be the "easy friendships". Again, balance in everything is important. Whether it's a old deep friendship or a new one, you can never be too consistent. 

Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive.  ~Anäis Nin

Value the easy friendships
Find respite and live it up in these simple yet deep friendships.
I have maybe 2-3 of these kinds of friends.
These are the ones that when I met them, it was like discovering a twin, a kindred spirit. 
They are the Dianas to my Anne Shirley. It's kind of like this:

After David had finished talking with Saul, he met Jonathan, the king’s son. There was an immediate bond between them, for Jonathan loved David.  From that day on Saul kept David with him and wouldn’t let him return home.  And Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, because he loved him as he loved himself. 1 Samuel 18:1-3

If you have this type of friend, thank God and them today.
If not, hold on, keep praying for a kindred heart to match yours and when you find that person, treasure them! 

A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere.  Before him I may think aloud.  I am arrived at last in the presence of a man so real and equal, that I may drop even those undermost garments of dissimulation, courtesy, and second thought, which men never put off, and may deal with him with the simplicity and wholeness with which one chemical atom meets another.  
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day 4

Fight for Optimism
Let's be honest- nobody likes to be with someone who is constantly complaining. Constantly venting. Constantly ungrateful or just in the dumps. I've been that friend before. I've had a lot of those friends before. YES! we all need the friends who stick with up during those seasons of brattyness or of confusion and sadness. I will never discount a friend who is persistent in getting out of the "hard places" in life. Sometimes it's just really hard to get out if it! However, if it turns out to be more than a brief period of negativity and you find your own personal morale heading south every time you talk with this person, don't be afraid to put some distance between you. Draw a boundary! They are oh-so-healthy!  Sitting around and commiserating = not healthy. Sitting around and pointing out the negatives in a situation or another person = not healthy. So seeking balanced friends who bring out the best in you= healthy. 

From experience, I've had some pretty intense Negative Nancies around and I found myself  being more and more negative, sad, annoyed and just, well..nasty to be around. Granted, we are all going to have our days where we are the negative friend. We will be walking through times of despair or confusion. We need the aid of a focused friend with fresh perspective to confide in.   Thank God for friends who are patient, loving, who pray with us and stick with us through these moments and seasons! But realize this:  if negativity has become a way of life for you, you assume the worse and see the down side of everything, chances are  you might also find yourself  lonely and without company. Seeking to be lifted out of the mental, emotional and spiritual mire that comes with bad times is different than sinking in and wallowing in the mud of despair. Know that it is a fine line. Seek counsel, prayer and move on out of it, sister! Otherwise, you just put a force field of "blah" between you and others. And that's not fun to deal with.

 Now, for the people who tend to be the positive person, hang in there. Hopefully you are surrounded by others who keep their negativeness to a minimum and are counting their blessings purely for counting blessings sake. Continue to be filling your heart and mind with scripture to take your own thoughts captive, to know truth to combat the lies that our enemy so often projects into our minds.Very often, our enemy does it through those we love the most which has always baffled me but it makes PERFECT sense.  Surround yourself with other positive people. If you find yourself having a hard day, ask for prayer. I think when someone chooses to be vulnerable enough to say they are having a hard time but show that they want to get out of that hard place, it's very respectable. Being positive keeps up on our guard so that when we are approached with a problem or a situation with a friend, we are more clear and true in our thought processes and can better lead them to Truth.

 I know I've had a lot of hard spiritual, mental, emotional battles that took a while to fight. Those who stood beside me and supported me were a God-send. Keep loving on your friend, if that is the case. Hold her hands up.  Find another friend to share the burden with too. We all need faithful, positive friends to hold us up during intense battle with our enemy!
For example..

Joshua did what Moses ordered in order to fight Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went to the top of the hill. It turned out that whenever Moses raised his hands, Israel was winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, Amalek was winning. But Moses' hands got tired. So they got a stone and set it under him. He sat on it and Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on each side. So his hands remained steady until the sun went down. Joshua defeated Amalek and its army in battle.  Exodus 17:10-13

Now, I'm not saying you always have to be on your a-game and are never justified in breaking down but I am saying this, if it's a trend where you are always up and down, more negative days than not, find someone to talk with about this, pray for mental and emotional redirection and renewing in this area and  find the friends that will hold your hands up and keep you accountable during this battle for optimism. Then: FIGHT!  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day 3

Be OK With Balance
As with anything, balance is best.  But what do I mean by balanced friendship?
Let me explain:
A friendship that both of you get to talk equally. Not one person dominates more than the other. You both are asking questions, answering questions. You aren't demanding all of the persons time to consider it a good friendship, they don't expect you to drop everything for them. Seeing them every day for a week straight may not be healthy for both of you so learn to balance your together time with your apart time and you will learn to value both! Chances are, your friends will have other friends. That's normal. If not, then there could be reasons for that :)
Don't get territorial. That's a sign of co-dependency.  And that is a slippery slope fo' sho'I talk about codependency a lot becuase I am an ex codependent. It was a hard thing to break out of! But with lots of prayer and counseling, I am achieving balance in that area. It's freeeeeeeing! Yay! 
 If you don't sense a balance in a certain friendship then re-evaluate, pray about it, take some time and see if it's something you can work on. If not, this might not be the time to pursue this friendship. Healthy relationships are what we want! A friend who initiates once in a while, who celebrates your differences  and seeks balance, that's a friend to hold onto!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day 2

Embracing Differences
Chances are, unlike high school, most of the people you will hang around with will not be just exactly like you. And that's ok. In fact, I think it's preferrable that way! What a multifaceted person you become when you hang out with a diverse group of friends. Differences are what make things interesting. I guess, for some, the struggle comes with not knowing what to discuss or not being able to settle on what to do that is mutally fun for both. Maybe you feel like you have to convince them to believe just as you do in order to be really good friends.
"Be careful, when you become so attached to your own opinions of what is right, that it prevents you from: Seeing another’s point of view… Imagining what it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes… Considering other possibilities and ideas." 
Finding common ground is fun, I think.  For some, it's pretty frustrating and they give up.
Do you know how much you have to talk with someone to find those things out? Sometimes it's not long but most times, you have to talk for a while to find out what you could both find equally exciting to talk about, go do, or experience.  In doing so, I think that that's where the bulk of friendship is formed. So, even if you don't ever find something to do that you both like, you have learned to enjoy each other's company and conversation. Ding! Friendship formed. And more than having a friend who is the same as you, you now have a friend that you can talk to. A friend you can talk to I mean, really talk to, is such a treasure.  When you learn to see things a different way, you get a chance to walk in someone else's shoes  and that's way better than being able to share shoes. Promise.

Read my other blog, Misinterpretations for the full explanation about the friendship series!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Day 1

Today I start a series on friendship.
I explained it at length on my other blog, Misinterpretations. Check it out if you want to know the extended reason for the series!
Here's a blip:
"Friendship is a topic that is very dear to my heart because I love my friends. (that's simple enough). They are essential to my life. I was created to be in healthy relationships with people and I crave that... I will be sharing some of my opinions about friendship, some of my own personal struggles and learned lessons. I am not a psychologist. I am not a friendship guru. I am just someone who loves real relationships and craves to know my God better through them"

So here we go!

Ah! What an awkward word this can be. For some, it's an adventurous word. Truth: Some people are just naturally better at going out of their way to pursue a friendship or intiate hang out time. Whether you are good at it or not, that doesn't really matter. If you care about a friendship it's essential. One person can tend to do most of the intiating which is normal but it can be a bit tiring. If you aren't being reciprocated on in a friendship it could mean a couple of things. Either a.) the person is awkward at it and may even be clueless as to how to be a friend like this. b.) they could be quite self-centered. Ouch. No one likes to hear that though. Although it is many times  or. c.) maybe they have excuses for not initiating, such as, "I shouldn't have to, friendship should come naturally" or something more like " I don't like the person, therefore I don't initiate"  Touche! In that case, move on ;o)
This  "initiating" can be a tricky topic. Very tricky indeed.  
The Bible says this:

 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
Luke 6:31

 So, if you don't have [m]any, or are lacking in quality, maybe take an evaluation of what you are doing on your end to pursue relationship. Fear of rejection can be a powerful and stifling thing. Don't let it keep you from some of the amazing kindred experiences there may be out there in friendship land.
Yeah, there are those simple friendships that are easy. The ones where you instantly feel like you found part of yourself in another person  which is always comforting and easy.  It's not common though (we'll talk about those on another day). Most friendships take work.  Pursuing others who aren't just like you is great!.

 Initiate (and reciprocate!) even if it's awkward at first. Even if your efforts run into a dead end with some people, you'll find your rhythm.  Invite them to coffee, dinner. Compliment them. Encourage them Go shopping with them. Keep it simple.  
Those who have initiated friendship with me, are some of my favorite people. It speaks to their character..they are consistent, persistent. I love that in a friend!

So: "don't hate, initiate!" It's my new friendship mantra..

Friendship isn't a big thing - it's a million little things.  ~Author Unknown