What about your friends? Will they stand their ground? Will they let you down? Not to sound like a cliched 90’s version of one of my favorite songs, “What About Your Friends?” by legendary group TLC, but those are some good questions to contemplate when you’re observing the people around you. Along with those questions, over the years I’ve found myself asking these as I looked at my own group of friends:
- Do they make me a better person?
- Are they positive people or negative people?
- Do we still have things in common?
- Do they want the same things out of life?
- Do we share the same interests and beliefs?
- Do they pray for me?
- Do they check up on me or am I always the one doing the calling / texting?
- Are they only around when my life is good and everything’s running smoothly?
- Do they invest their time and energy into me?
- Can I turn to them if ever I’m in need (not just emotionally but financially)?
- Do they speak to my dreams or are they dream killers?
- Do they believe in me?
- Do they sow into me or do they just take what they can get from me?
- Do they speak life into my dead situations or are they adding fuel to the fire?
I know it’s a lot of questions to ask yourself but these are good questions that we must face periodically if we want to keep growing, maturing, nurturing and cultivating successful and meaningful relationships. Who you surround yourself with is just as important as who you are because it determines where you will go in life.
Have you ever heard the saying, “Birds of a feather flock together?” This saying is true because who we attach ourselves to or associate ourselves with speaks volumes to who we are and who we will become. If you surround yourself with negative people, you will be a negative person. If you surround yourself with positive people, you will be a positive person. If you surround yourself with dreamers and go-getters, you will be a dreamer and go-getter. If you surround yourself with business minded / successful people / entrepreneurs, you’ll likely grow, desire and become just like them. If you surround yourself with people who love to go to the club, party and drink, then you will be just like them. I believe by now, you get the point. Just like a drug, people’s vibes and energies are contagious and who you surround yourself with can become toxic or conducive to your health, spiritual and personal growth.
As we grow, we learn. In learning, we must know when to keep certain people around and when to let them go. You can have friends that are into things that you’re not into, but it’s from my personal experience and the experience of others I’ve studied, that some where along the line, you’ll be faced with a choice: to keep going with your current friend / group of friends or to let them go and find yourself a new crew to kick it with.
With everything, there are seasons. What once might’ve been cool, will one day grow old. What you might’ve been down to do before, you’ll one day decide you’re over it. Who you used to enjoy being around, you’ll find yourself one day exerting too much effort to be around them. At that time, you’ll be at a crossroad. You may even find yourself feeling empty, alone or having a strong desire for a change of scenery. It’s at that time when you’ll realize you need to make a change and it’s at that moment when you’ll really be asking yourself many of those same questions I asked above.
Thankfully, we don’t have to tackle this task alone. There’s always help given to us to ensure that we are surrounding ourselves with the right people that are beneficial and conducive to our personal health, as well as our mental, spiritual and financial growth. This help doesn’t cost much but sacrifice of comfort, time and effort and it’s given to anybody who wants it, no matter what region / country / geographical / familial background you’re from. No matter how messed up you are nor the mistakes you’ve made, you can get a fresh start. This help is called the Holy Spirit.
“And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.”
(Isaiah 11:2 NLT)
Praise God for helping me separate my real friends from my fake friends. Once upon a time I couldn’t imagine letting go of anyone, including my friends; but as time goes on, I grew older, stronger and wiser. I found that just as life has an expiration date, so too does relationships. With time, I found myself needing less of vague friendships and more of deeper, meaningful relationships with people who genuinely love, care and want to be around me. It became much easier to let people go once I started putting myself first and evaluated where I was in my life, what I wanted out of life including my relationships with people, who I wanted to become and where I wanted to go.
“There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.”
(Proverbs 18:24 NLT)
As I was going through my darkest times, I began to see who my real friends were. The Holy Spirit helped me by allowing me to understand, through a series of trials and hardships, who my real friends are. In that time of being broken and lost, I started to ask myself and God those very same questions I posed above. It was during those prayers and self-reflective moments that I was able to see who was only down for the ride when things were fun and who was holding me down when things were sad and depressing. I was able to identify who was using me for their own personal gain and who’s sowing into my life and dreams. Instantly, I went from having many friends to having just a few.
“Wealth makes many “friends”; poverty drives them all away.”
(Proverbs 19:4 NLT)
I thank God for those friends: both the good and the bad. I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I learned lessons from the bad ones and I grew a special bond with the good friends I still have. When I was at my lowest point, my real friends held me down. Whether it was speaking life to my dead situations, making me laugh, praying for me, having bible study with me, talking to me, taking me out for a day of fun to take my mind off of things, or just simply being there for me as I cried and complained about life, they had my back. Even now that I’m in a much better place, they are still there for me. With my friends, I’ve learned I’m not alone. Through the Holy Spirit and our love for each other and God, we speak life into each other and keep each other focused, grounded and encouraged.
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
(John 15:13 NLT)
“If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.”
(Ecclesiastes 4:10 NLT)
Father God, I ask that you bless and cover my friends. Thank you for allowing them to be in my life as I went through my darkest hours. Thank you for speaking life to me through them. Even now, I thank you as they are helping me stay on the right path towards your glory. When I get weary of the long road ahead of me and at times allow your voice to be clouded by doubt and fear from the enemy, you’ll send your Holy Spirit to speak life to me. Through my friends, You tell me to keep going. Thank you for that. I may not can see what my future holds, but thank you for showing my friends who continue to believe in me. They know my testimony before I do. Please continue to love up on them, cover them, protect them and shower them with blessings. May our friendship flourish abundantly and always bring honor and glory to your name. In Jesus name, I pray Amen.
Sincerely with love,
Travel photography by IG user: @christofs70