What would it be like if you took a good hard look and evaluated your group of friends and family? List them. Now ask yourself these questions. . .
Which ones would go out of their way to see you? Would they run to you, if you were in trouble? Sit with you while you hurt? Which friends would seek you out, if you weren’t pursuing them? Do they know intimate details of your life? Do you feel you can really let them know you? Which friends would tell you the truth and challenge you if they saw you running off course? Do your friends support and encourage the passions in your life? Does what matters to you, matter to them? Can the friendship withstand some conflict? Which friends would forgive you and accept you even when you do something stupid? Would your friends open their doors to you, if you were in need? What friends would willingly accept you back when you’ve been distant? And which friends would urge you to live more than just an average existence?
I believe that in order to live a happy, healthy, meaningful life, we need the love, support, and acceptance that only our family and friends can offer. Yet many of us live a very lonely and empty existence. We may have 500 Facebook friends, but how many of them would fit the bill as I’ve described here?
Every last one of us deeply longs to be loved and to be accepted. To get those things, we need other people. That is how God made us – hard-wired at our core. We are relational beings and we can’t reach our potential without others.
If you don’t have those people in your life, may I suggest that maybe it is not because you’ve chosen bad friends, but that you don’t know how to put yourself out there to find out who your real friends are? Finding friends is not about searching the world over, it is about investing yourself – wholly, vulnerably, completely. A friend can’t give these things to you when they don’t even know you have a need. If you are not being authentic with the people in your life, how can they offer you the love, support, and acceptance that you need. And when friends don’t measure up, do you give up? Or do you keep putting yourself out there, determined to find the base of people that will be there for you?
I challenge you to list the people in your life and evaluate which ones fit the bill. Next, I challenge you to look at how much of yourself you have invested in those people so that they can offer you love, support and acceptance. If you are married, I challenge you to talk with your spouse in terms of friendship as well. Again, look at how much of yourself you have revealed in the relationship in order for your spouse to be able to be that safe place for you. And how good of a friend have you been to your spouse?
Having people in your life who truly know you and can have an authentic relationship with you is vitally important for a healthy life. How do your friends rate? Your spouse? How do you measure up as a friend? And are you investing enough of yourself to have those kind of relationships?