i've been doing a lot of thinking about friendships and what they mean. i can remember when my grandfather said if i could count my friends on one hand, i would be fortunate - i thought he was a bit off when he said that, but now i can appreciate the wisdom of his words.

what kind of friend are you?

i have a lot of acquaintances and have found in my adulthood that it is difficult to make friends, it is difficult to maintain friends at times. there are friends who are your *fun* friends, not much depth, but cool to hang out with...sandpaper friends who are brusque and abrupt and sort of irritate and grate, but are worthy because they help refine you...friends who are like velvet and have the right words to say when you are hurting or aching (especially after hanging out with your sandpaper buds)...but what about the true friend? the one who knows you better than you sometimes know yourself, that can see right into you and through you, that asks the hard questions and really cares about your responses? the one who can walk that lonely road with you, the tough road, the narrow way.

how honest can you be with your friends? i think it depends upon how honest you can be with yourself.

tact and diplomacy are necessary ingredients in friendships, but man, if you are really saying you want to be who you are meant to be in Christ, sometimes you need to be have a true friend, need to have someone get in your face and tell you point blank when you are doing wrong. you need to help them to help you step up to the plate and be accountable because when you are in sin, you affect those around you - you affect the body of Christ and that means is your sin has an impact on the lives of people close to you and not close to you, like a ripple effect.

for instance, over the past six months, i now recognize it was my junk that has taken me out of several ministries that i have been involved in for many years because i knew, deep down, i was unworthy of the call -- yes it is true. i say i have been "seeking" and "searching," but really? i was in a blatant sin. i thought "how can i stand up there and distribute communion when i have no business doing so?" or "how can i instruct 8th graders how to be good soldiers for Christ if i am not walking it myself?" if i am going to be honest, that one *thing* has kept me away from the many things i enjoyed doing for the Lord because i knew i was not up to it, standard-wise, and so i took a step back.

trust me, i was not and it was wise to take a step back.

i recognize we all fall short of the goal -- how real are you ready to be when it comes to looking at what it is you are doing to say "i am tired of this charade - i want to be real, i am broken, i am ready to submit to God's will for me?" why is it that we cling so tightly to that *thing* when we are promised such riches and glory if we decide to trust in God to have things covered for us if we renounce it and walk away?

how often do we turn around at Christ's offer to follow Him just like the rich young ruler because of our many possessions (even when those possessions are addictions?)

would you be ready to have a friend get in your face and hold you accountable for your actions? ask you if you are "clean?" would you be ready to call your thing what it is or would you rather tap dance around the issue a little bit longer so you can clutch onto your junk and keep it close to your heart, rather than trade it in for The Heart that is Sacred and Holy and longs for a relationship with you?

what kind of friend are you?

i am really good at lying. i can look someone in the face and say "i'm clean, yeah i am doing great!" and know in my heart of hearts i need to stop the crap and say "no -- i am unclean and i need help - can you help a sister out?" it is time to admit i need help and even in my brokenness, in my fractured way, i am beginning to truly recognize my issues for what they are, i am ready to be held accountable and honest and really, i have a couple of close friends to thank for that.

after all --- what are friends for?

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