Yesterday I had an opportunity to do what I love most doing on Mondays. I spent the afternoon with some amazing high school students from Birmingham’s Woodlawn High School during my Steps to Success Small Group through Church of the Highlands. During our short hour together each week I bring in professionals (mostly friends and family of mine who attend Highlands and/or love God and have something to say about life and careers.) Yesterday was no ordinary day, as three presenters joined my co-leader and me in sharing their testimonies of how they ended up in their careers in banking and media. The conversations wrapped a bit earlier than normal, but not before us all having the opportunity to spill some tea (as in tell our business of mistakes made in college and earlier in life) and drop some knowledge (as in tell our business of what it took to overcome mistakes made in college and earlier in life). My prayer is that the students left empowered. Not too oddly enough, I also left encouraged. One underlying and overriding theme of what each presenter said was the importance of having a good circle of friends. We each shared something about wisely choosing our friends for now and later. This principle applies to those younger and those of us not as young.
Friend is a word which gets tossed around more often than the buffalo sauce on a pile of hot wings during football season in the south. To me it’s inappropriately overused. My parents would often say, and I believe today that “everyone isn’t your friend”. I’m no “Friendologist”, but I believe there are many different facets to platonic relationships which often go misdiagnosed because friend is the easy word to say. I often wonder if words like associate, colleague, confidant, classmate, co-worker, acquaintance, ally, mentor, supporter, and other words get jealous of the word friend for being used in places which rightfully belong to them.
So what is a good friend? I’m glad you asked. Do you have good friends for yourself? Are you one of them for others?
- A good friend exposes you to purpose, and ushers out your best.
- A good friend covers you in prayer.
- A good friend genuinely celebrates your blessings.
- A good friend helps carry your burdens…and not to the ears of others who don’t need to hear.
- A good friend loves you where you are, as you are and helps you get to where you’re going.
- A good friend asks before assuming.
- A good friend is someone you purposely seek to see the best in and believe the best about.
- A good friend is someone you trust with your heart and don’t hold hostage for the mistakes of other no-good-friends from the past.
- A good friend can make you cry from laughter and wipe tears from pain…and sometimes at the same time.
- A good friend will pick up the phone before picking sides.
- A good friend is worth an “I’m sorry” or “I forgive you” as often as needed
- A good friend doesn’t have to be just like you to like you.
- A good friend can love you without liking the choices you make or things you do.
- A good friend should have the liberty to correct and direct you in love, as often as needed.
- A good friend is someone you can see your older/growner/wiser self continuing to grow older/growner/wiser with through thick and thin.
- A good friend isn’t always the one you’ve known the longest, see more frequently, or talk to most often. Sometimes it’s one who’s there on an ANB…As Needed Basis.
- A good friend is someone who doesn’t make your face squinch up (homemade word alert) like you ate a rotten Meyer lemon when you see them or read their name on your caller ID, IM, DM or email.