Good friends are hard to find.
Good mentors are even harder to find.
And on a rare and fabulous occasion, you get both wrapped up in one.
We should all have people we are pouring into. People who come to us for encouragement, to impart value, to get advice. These are so necessary, because if we are always only ever taking, we fail to be impactful.
If this sounds like you, start encouraging people. Let them know their value and their worth – not inflated, smoke-blowing flattery, but true honest “this is your gift” or “this is what you were made for” kinda encouragement.
And then there are those people who pour into you. People who speak life and remind you who you are. Ones who call you out of whatever you need to get out of and into whatever you need to get into. People who challenge you and stretch you and sometimes tick you off with their answers.
Find these people. Look for people who make you say “Man, I want to be like her when I grow up.” Then tell her that and ask her to help you to become more like Jesus through her example.
There are also your “floating friends”. You know those people you can hang on to one another’s raft in the pool for hours talking about everything and nothing and all the things in between.
Friends who help you pick out a new bedspread or school room furniture. Ones who have cried over the fight you had with your husband and know what size shoes you wear. The ones you are on the phone with and they keep talking even when the kids are screaming because they know this is the only way you are going to get a conversation in.
These friends are ones you pour into and receive from and no one keeps score.
Sometimes, in a precious and occasionally painful unfolding, the lines between mentor friend begin to blur.
Recently, one of these “frien-tors” sat down next to me and said, “I’m really struggling with ________.” And I froze. You see, I usually go to her, because I know she is smarter and stronger and wiser than I am.
The truth… I was so caught up in my own insecurity – worrying that I may say the wrong thing or too much or too little or too…something – that I just sat there like a doofus and didn’t bother to hear her. I was too busy worrying about me.
So to be honest, I don’t think I handled her heart well.
Thankfully, I was able to gather my wits and recover… a little.
Here’s the thing. Relationships are hard. They are messy. They are often painful and one or both of you are going to say something stupid or rude or nothing at all. But they are worth it.
We need each other. Invest in and pursue friends and mentors and be willing to let the lines blur sometimes. Find those people. Be vulnerable, be real, be transparent. Choose people who will call you out for all your bull-crap and do the same for them.
But love them, be trustworthy, be kind and honest and be sorry when you aren’t.
And for the love of all things, when they come up to you and tell you they are struggling, think about them, not yourself.
Actually, just do that all the time…think about them, not yourself – all the time.
Because after all, isn’t that what love is?
“A friend loves at all times.” Proverbs 17:17
Lord teach me.