I could not have been able to go through some of my toughest trials without a circle of support. Is this a statement you can relate to? There have been tough times: The times I’ve been called ugly names by a person, the times that I’ve been gossiped about, the times that I’ve been rejected, the times that I’ve been a horrible person, the times my heart has been broken.
I am talking about the dirty, ugly events that you can’t bear to talk about. It makes you cringe even thinking about the time your boss said you were a worthless employee, and somehow you are still only getting paid peanuts for what you do. What do you do in the times you want to scream out into the universe “WHY ME?!”
The safest thing to do is to find a circle of friends you can always count on. Let me describe the circle of friends.
1) They will not agree with you just for the sake of making you happy
2) They will not gossip about the person you are so upset about, just to validate your feelings
3) They will NOT provide a solution to your feelings
4) They have to love food (this one’s a given, right?!)
What number one talks about are those times when you are so frustrated with a situation that all that friend can do is say, “yup. So frustrating. I totally get it.” Well, first of all, they may be able to RELATE to it, but they don’t “totally get it.” And they may be only agreeing with you. This doesn’t go for everyone, but generally, some people will just say “I’m so so mad with you” when in fact they ‘re totally fine inside. I want genuine people around me, and this may not be true genuine advice.
Number two is so so important. I’ve had friends who just love to hate on the person that you’re currently hating on. Hey, we’re all human! And humans love to be in unison, to function together. We start off as atoms bonding together! Bonding! But talking rudely about another person’s unknown intentions is not bonding. We are simply rejecting a true question we need to ask ourselves, “maybe she/he has had a problem in their life that they are acting like that towards me. What could it be?” This accountability from a friend sets a great, new perspective in the midst of not-so-warm events. I don’t want to mush around my husband, but he definitely does not agree with me on everything. If I even remotely start talking about a person, he’s like “bye!” This usually sets me straight and I don’t dare continue on the subject unless I’m needing advice on how-to talk to this person about their actions. Maybe that’s why we’re besties: he keeps me accountable of who I need to be and sets higher standards than I thought for myself.
Numero tres. Have you ever heard “silence is the best medicine?” Well, it can be. My biggest struggle growing up gossiping and “belonging” to a group of friends has been to be quiet while another person is telling me their issues. I want to so badly say, “totally. Yup. I get it.” or “Ugh, I just don’t like that kind of person.” Why don’t you try it next time? Next time when someone comes running to you to hear them out, because you’re a super awesome friend, just stay silent throughout the entirety of their story. Follow-up with questions to try to understand what they’re talking about. But it’s okay to not understand. It’s okay to be on the completely opposite end. This person may not have come to you for advice, unless they said, “what do you think?” So, sometimes, it’s not the right time to throw in scripture to try and fix your feelings. Be very weary of doing this. I recently went to a Rob Bell lecture in which he mentioned how we cannot go to people who think that the best solution is to provide you with scripture for when your heart has been ripped out. You can read it, nod, and then you will still feel the same. Silence is so healing. Hugging, loving that person in silence is so medicinal to them, and it creates unfathomable energy. Embrace the pain together. We’re so used to running away from pain, naturally, but it’s important for us to feel it and know what happiness needs to feel like on the contrasting spectrum of emotions.
Comida! I love knowing that there will be food when I ask friends, “can we all just hang out so I can tell you about my awful day with a person??” Food is the center of such great fellowshipping. Jesus and his disciples gathered to share food (and wine but we won’t go there, ha!). I love being able to cry and laugh while I’m throwing down a taco (insert favorite food here). They’re nourishing my soul and I am nourishing my body. This point is kind of a comical one, but I wanted to introduce the idea of meeting with your friends, bible study, prayer group, or whomever, at least once a month to catch up on life. Don’t make this a chore. It’s fun! This is our first bible-study monthly gathering.
Yes. We had a taco bar!
Sorry about the awful lighting. And no, not everything was clean-eating. But it was so good!