Friends. Gotta have them. They come in many shapes and sizes. They come for all different reasons and seasons.
Let’s put our friends in perspective for a minute…
In middle school and high school, I had friends (hundreds of them according to facebook). You know, the ones you are friends with because you like the same things,…activity driven. You were going the same places and doing the same things so naturally you are friends. You have common goals. I still have a couple of those friends I am in contact with from back in the day… I see them from time to time, but over the years our goals and interests have changed so naturally our friendship has changed. Consequently, I have also gotten other friends that run in my circles because of what I do and don’t do.
In grade school you also had the friends that your mom and their mom always ended up talking at the pick up line, church parking lot, or ball game, and so naturally you had to talk to each other… and eventually a friendship started! Again, you may like me still know these people and see them occasionally… they were nice. I however, refer to them as the “Hi! How are you” friends. You know, you say hi, how are you, and then you don’t talk to them again until it’s time to repeat that scenario.
In college, I met what I call my “eternal roommates.” No. I don’t have roommates anymore. However, when I refer to any of these 3 girls they will forever be “my roommates.” These are the girls I spent 3ish years living with in one way or another. We learned the ins and outs of what it means for the air conditioner to break in July in Abilene, TX. We made life decisions together…whether we knew it or not…good and bad. We learned what it meant to share and do things for others sacrificially. We questioned and probed our beliefs, character, and faith. There was lots of learning in those friendships as well as fun. These are also the same people that I have actively laid out on the drive way with, hauled large amounts of tree branches into our neighbors yard so we didn’t have to dispose of them (yes, I was a guilty 21 year old with a manicure to hold onto, sue me), stuck a rug out a sunroof and drove around campus with, pickled a house (sorry rat pack, I’m finally fessing up, y’all knew it was us the whole time), and thrown many moonies (ACU reference) a despising glare on behalf of a roomie’s old significant other to make sure they know they don’t have a chance getting my graces back. These are the girls I will say, I grew up with, and with out them life would not be nearly as interesting, fun, and fulfilling. Love you girls,… Marilee, Megan, and Leigh.
Then, if you are a girl. You have the big brothers in your life… ok not literally for me. I had a couple adopted “big brothers” in high school. I had a couple in college as well… and a couple now. You know, the kind of sweet guy that will come get the mouse out of the kitchen and then take you to lunch so you don’t freak out… I am not speaking from experience or anything… (right, thanks Cole).
You also can’t forget your work friends. The ones you do life with week to week, day in and day out. They know your frustrations as well as your silent victories. You can laugh, put crazy ideas out there (umbrella of mercy), dream, plan, work to the bone, go on coffee runs, get mad, and at the end of the day you can still call yourselves friends and partners in crime (or business). These are the people you work with now, interned with, and climb the ladder with through the years.
You have faith friends. These are the people who you have things in common. However, on a piece of paper if you wrote out all your common attributes they wouldn’t exactly match up like the others. These are the unlikely. These are the friends who your connection through the Lord is so very strong you often find yourself in conversations like, ” Hey, just thought I would pray for you this morning,…you were on my heart.” And low and behold,…you needed those prayers. These are the people you can ask the serious, tough, faith questions with and they still know you haven’t lost your marbles but instead say, “yeah, I’ve thought that too, and here is what He taught me…hope this helps…”
Those are just a few of the types of friendships I have had manifest in my life over the years,… yours may look different.
However, the friends that I cherish the most are a conglomeration of those above. As I have had some wacky phone conversations and coffee dates with some of my best friends over the last week…3 different times the same sentence has come out of my friends mouths to me. It has been some variation of, “I’m going to tell you how I feel about this and if you need to give me a reality check, put me in my place, or set me straight on things,…you have my permission to do so.” I have died laughing each of the 3 times these sweet souls have said this to me. Partially, because I was bracing myself for the ridiculousness and truthfulness that I was about to hear. Also, I laughed because I know that they are my trusted advisors who I often say that to and I could not imagine my having for them wisdom on whatever it was. You see, my friendship with all 3 of those people are part of a small handful of people that truly have been given “permission granted.” Permission granted basically means to me in a nutshell: Tell me what you really think…and I will listen…like really…and not be offended. Don’t give me the run around,…just shoot straight. I trust them. I have known most of them for somewhere between 3-7 years. They know me and have seen me at my best and worst.
That is not to say I don’t listen to other peoples opinions. There are tons of people that give me their opinion on things (everyones an expert, right?)…life, ministry, money, church, books, time, relationships, health, tv, music, etc. However, there is only a small group of people that their opinions actually matter to me. The blasphemy, I know! It’s just that if you spend so much time taking everyones advice on things you become like chaff really going to and fro. And in the words of the youtube sensatation…“ain’t nobody got time for that.” Truthfully, I imagine that is what Jesus’ friends were like. I can imagine them saying, “Ok, Jesus, what do you have up your sleeve now? Shoot straight with me, what does this whole, ‘I’ll be back’ thing really mean?” (Yes, that was the gospel according to Caroline.)
All those other friendships are good… but the best are friends that you want “with you” in life no matter what and can ultimately say, “permission granted.” They know who they are…and I am ever thankful for them…and you should be too. They keep me grounded! 🙂