Never did I imagine myself at this stage in my life with such very few friends. As an overly active participant of anything I could get my hands on when it came to knowledge, laughing, partying, eating, and many more things God has saved me from; I instantly knew the importance of having friends early on in life. There was a time in my life where I valued how many friends I had, how many organizations was I part of, how many letters did I have after my last name, how many certificates and awards could I rack up – but with time I learned.
Having a large number of friends and associates is what defined me. Out of my very long list of friends, I could pick one for any issue I needed their assistance and help from. I made instant connections with people in literally the first ten minutes of meeting them. “It was a gift”! I would call it, meanwhile others would call it “being blind”! It’s not until you really need someone that you realize how this imaginary community of people you have built up in your head to call friends, really aren’t the true definition of friends. The most humbling part is that one usually realizes this when going through a loss, a tragedy or just a moment of solitude.
The last two years have challenged me to deepen my relational circles. I had become truly isolated and needed to become connected again, like truly connected because you can be isolated and have 200 friends on Facebook, but few will be there for you when you get the news that your son is not responding during surgery. Few will be available to help you up the stairs when you have broken your foot and are told you can’t walk on it for months. Few will be there when you begin an insanely scary journey of surgery after surgery for an infection that is a mystery to medicine.
It’s during these times that most of us turn to bitterness and allow our hearts to turn cold. That’s not what the Lord wants. He puts these types of situations in your life to recalibrate your situation. It forces you to be still and have this sort of out of body experience where you literally can look at your life and clearly see what is right, who is wrong and how to fix it. This is what author of Simplify, Bill Hybels calls “Pruning Your Relational Circles”. Pruning really does sound harsh, I mean the word just looks ugly all by itself. But I challenge you start this today.
The first step is to first redefine the term “friendship”. Set the standard for what friendship really should mean and align it with God’s definition. A friend accepts you with your mask on and off, a friend loves, a friend accepts, a friend serves, a friend celebrates you and cheers your victories. “These are all hallmark ingredients of a true friendship. Who wouldn’t want to experience a friendship like that? Our lives would be all the richer” (Hybels, 171).
There are many steps that come after this one, but my favorite – hmmm, my favorite has to be pruning. I think this is the most difficulty step and it’s why I’ve decided to highlight it as an important part of continuing to be an Alpha Woman. You can probably think of a friend or two that “rubs off”, and not in a positive way. You need to cut back time with them. Believe me, I consider myself to be a good person who hates, absolutely hates making people feel bad but what you need to understand is that it’s important to prune your relationships so that you can make room for “new, healthier friendships—relationships that will bear fruit”. Does that phrase ring a bell to you? BEAR FRUIT. Yes! It’s super important!
Pruning will help you to expand and deepen your circles. It doesn’t mean you stop loving that person, it just means that you don’t spend as much time with them and as God always wants you to do, pray for them. You need margin in order to make investments in friendships that will bring energy and joy to your world where you are now, where you currently find yourself on this journey of life.
“Father, allow me to become a mature tree in whom You delight rather than one that is uprooted for its lack of fruit (Luke 13:6-9)”
Jesus never said that it would be easy following him but let me tell you something beautiful sisters, adversity will come your way. Pray this “I will not be moved by adversity, but I will allow my adversities to cause my roots to go deeper in God and my life to produce the FRUIT of godliness”.
Here is your challenge for this week:
Make a list and review names of current friends who you know aren’t healthy for you and plan to create a safer distance between you and them. Over the next couple of weeks, begin praying for God’s wisdom in making the necessary adjustments in those friendships.
If you are interested in finding out other steps to Simplify your life without having to read the whole book, I have created a PDF booklet that you can get for free if you subscribe to the EZ Breezy Life mailing list. You can also visit me at www.karinafdaves.com and shoot me a message to keep the conversation bubbling! Looking forward to hearing from you!
Karina F. Daves is an analytical higher education administrator with eight years of success spearheading initiatives that streamline operations, enhance fiscal management, and advance innovations. She is a wife and mother who considers herself vulnerable, open, and bright with a sprinkle of corky!