Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Friend Factor

If you have children, you know how important their choice of friends can be.   It is hard when they become older and we, as parents, are not their main source of advice.  Who we count as friends is important in our lives too.   When you watch those safari shows and you see herds of animals, notice that it’s the one that gets separated from the herd that gets attacked.  It’s important to have a group to stay in for protection from attacks.

What is the friend factor?  The word factor means “one that actively contributes to the production of a result”.  Have you ever considered that your friends are actively contributing to the production of a result in you?  They are.  And you are doing the same for them.

So, what are some things that constitute a friendship that will produce a good result?

F- Faithful:  Many, especially women, get caught up in the concept of being popular, and will let anyone into their inner circle, to create an image of popularity.  There are also many of us that have learned that it’s more important to have a few really good friends you can trust, rather than a lot of “friends” that you can’t.  These faithful friends are people who share your beliefs and will respond to a quick prayer request text or a question no matter what time of day or night.  It’s a lot easier to try new things and shoot for the stars in life when you have friends who will love you and have your back whether you succeed or fail. 

R- Reason:  A friend serves as a voice of reason.  Let’s face it, we can tend to get carried away and blow things out of proportion at times.  We all need that friend who isn’t afraid to call us out on that, the one who isn’t afraid to set us straight when our thoughts are on ourselves, whether we are wrapped up in work, relationship problems, addictions or anything else that turn our thoughts away from God in a situation.

I-Influence:  Every girl at every age needs a friend that can be completely trusted with your heart, and even with the sins you are battling.  Loving one another in the not so fun times, the trials, the differences, etc. without judgment is crucial. Allowing yourself to be influenced by someone that you trust and shares your beliefs can lead to being a kinder, gentler, and more compassionate person.

E-Encourage:  We all need encouragement.   Even when we don’t fully understand what our friend is going through, it’s okay.  Being there with them is what matters.  Having a friend that will hit the gym with you, comfort you when you are sick or your child is going through a tough time is a treasure.  Knowing that you have someone who will point out the positives when you feel vulnerable can be very fortifying.

N-Nurture:   Your friends mold you into who you become.  Sometimes, we find friends who have a negative effect on our lives.  Those relationships can be tricky and it’s difficult to end a friendship, but if a friend is bringing things into your life that are keeping you from growing, they are not good for you.  Friends  nourish your spirit, not drag you down. 

D-Discern:  When developing a friendship,   it’s key to remember that each person is an individual truly made by God, not a clone of yourself.  A discerning friend will help you recognize things, people, or events that may not be good for you.  They have the advantage of standing outside of a situation and looking in with their unique perspective.  If you really trust this person, don’t just brush off what they are saying, try to see it through their eyes.

I hope that everyone out there has at least one friend in your life that fits within the friend factor.  Think about your friendships, and ask yourself:
  • ·         Do my friends know that I will support them in new adventures whether they succeed or fail?
  • ·         Am I willing to listen to someone be my voice of reason?
  • ·         Am I vulnerable enough to trust my friends when I am struggling with something?
  • ·         Am I ready to be there for my friends even though I don’t understand what they are going through?
  • ·         Am I willing to release any friendships that are dragging me down spiritually?
  • ·         Can I open my eyes and try to see things from a friend’s perspective?

That’s the kind of friend we should be.  Pride makes that difficult for many of us.  Once you have been betrayed by a friend, it can be hard to trust someone again, but it’s worth it.  Let’s strive to be the kind of friend that produces a good result in others.

Passages to Ponder:

Proverbs 27:17- As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
Proverbs 24:26- An honest answer is like a kiss of friendship.
Proverbs 12:26- The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray.
Malachi 3:18- Then you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.

Contributors:  Karen Bromby, Jodi Dunbar,Tammy Holtzapfel, Maria Kucharczuk, Kim McClure and Kristy Tolley

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