Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health,
just as your soul prospers.
3 John 2 NASB
If your mind and emotions are not healthy, nothing works as it should.
God designed us as three part beings- spirit, soul, body. In order for us to thrive,
it is critical to be intentional about caring for our minds and our emotions.
What do you say to yourself when you look in the mirror?
What do you say in your head about your face with no makeup, your body with no clothes, your hair after a long sweaty day?
Do you pull at the wrinkles in despair, poke at the “extras” in disgust, or thickly cover all the imperfections?
You are not alone.
It doesn’t take a very thorough examination to realize that womanhood is not what it was meant to be. In general, women can be some of the most hateful and conniving of all God’s creations. Even taking a quick stroll through a celebrity’s social media account will reveal some of the most heartless and cruel comments spewed BY women at another woman. It’s sickening and heat-breaking all at the same time.
I will be honest. I have NOT always loved other women well.
I’ve never felt like I fit into many groups of women, let alone embraced many (if any) of what I felt were the stereotypical “girl” characteristics. I don’t cook. Hate to sew. I would rather punch stuff or do burpees than curl my hair. My idea of a good time usually involves dirt (possibly lots of it) messy animals, and very loud laughter. I have a handshake that catches most grown men off guard. I am very aggressive and confident by nature. For a LONG time I really didn’t like being a girl. I knew God made me a girl for a reason, so I tried not to complain too much, but I still wasn’t thrilled.
We just finished off a VERY busy graduation season over here. In fact, this year several of “my girls” from youth group are graduated from high school.
I remember being so stressed before and after I graduated high school.
What was I going to do next????
I swear, everyone AND their Mama and their Mama’s Mama asked me “well what are you going to do now?”
I remember thinking, “I DON’T KNOWWWWWWW. But would you please stop asking me”
Of course, I couldn’t admit that very much publically.
What WAS I going to do now? Now I had a choice? No one was telling me exactly what to do. What if I made the WRONG choice? What if I went to the WRONG college? What if I hated it? What if I sucked at it? What if I couldn’t make any friends??? What if…..?
I am not talking about qualities that qualify someone to receive your kindness. As Christ followers, we should be kind to all. But we should be wise and use discretion in who we allow to be our good FRIENDS: people that we allow to know intimate or even semi-intimate details of our lives. People that we actually spend serious time with and for. We need discretion in this area for two main reasons: One, because we are called to “guard our hearts above all else, for from it flows the wellspring of life.” Prov 4:23. And two because friendships are something that should be cultivated, not just something that happens.
Good friendships are a thing to treasure. They are NOT a “dime a dozen” thing, and that’s really ok! We don’t really have time to spend an hour on the phone with 97 different people every week.
One of the most common questions that I hear regarding friendship is “how to find good friends” and we will cover that. But here is the biggest factor in finding good friends:
To find a good friend, you first have to BE a good friend.
"A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity." Proverbs 17:17
I know this verse by heart, (although I always have to look up where it is found exactly) partly because my Jesus lovin’ Mama made us read a proverb a day out loud on the way to school growing up. And partly because good friendships and close family relationships have ALWAYS been important to me.
I remember praying for godly friends even from a young age. I specifically prayed that God would “bless, create, and heal the relationships that He wanted me to have.”
Ok. Maybe not EVERY time because we are imperfect and sometimes life just happens. BUT you can be way more successful than you’ve been in the past.
Y’all. I get it. A brand spankin, shiny new year rolls around and you feel so fresh stepping into it. A fresh start is ALWAYS a nice start. All your pals are making these grandiose resolutions and you’ve often done it yourself. But when you REALLY reflect, you think “dang, I sucked at keeping my resolutions last year.” But this year does NOT have to be a repeat of last year, and the year before that, and the one before that….
But here’s the truth. MOST people, as in 90% will FAIL at their New Year’s resolutions. Why? Because habits are hard to change. It takes WORK to change bad or unproductive habits and in most cases, people are setting resolutions the wrong way. But it IS possible. You CAN change. You CAN do the things that you are called and created to do.
I love the mountains. There is something wild and glorious and wonderful in them. It sings to me, calls to me, speaks to a part of me that nothing else quite matches.
Nearly every photo I see of the mountains does something for my soul, simultaneously quenching and igniting a hunger. I miss the mountains when I am away from them. I crave their rugged and majestic beauty.
Yet even when I am surrounded by rocky mountain wilderness, absolutely immersed in their beauty, I still sense that something is missing. Something is still not quite as it should be.
A normally happy, go lucky girl, yet I was on the brink of sobbing. Out of frustration, I proceeded to tell her how much I hated having emotions and how dumb I thought emotions were. She explained to me that God created emotions and that the Jewish people in the Bible (God’s chosen people, through whom would come His rescue plan for all of humanity) were HIGHLY emotive. Today we would call them extremely emotional and maybe even slightly crazy. They would literally RIP their clothes when they were grieved, put ashes on their head when in mourning, and go around the city WAILING. Emotional much? But you wanna know the crazy part? God was not scared away by their “drama”.