Yesterday I accidentally sent out a post in rough draft form — kind of telling where I am in life at the moment. Yes, I’m aware that we are into May and I still have two sections of this book to go through. Yes, I realize that things are continuing to fall apart around me. The bathroom is still not done, I have three events coming up that I’m not feeling prepared for, and my goal for the month is not even close to being done! No, I’m not going to get through both sections in this post.
My OCD is FREAKING out!
I also realize that God has this. I need to focus on my majors and the minors will happen (or not). And, it is going to be OK. It’s not my To Do List that is priority here.
On to Part Five: Managing Your Social Life!
This week I saw a video post made by Will Smith. In it, he said we needed to find and surround ourselves with people who feed our fire, not those who put our fire out. Take a moment to think about the five people you spend the most of your time with. What qualities do they have that you want to grow in your own life? Are they feeding your fire, or putting it out? Do you feel energized or drained after being with them? There is an activity on the Write About It page.
I finished reading 1 Samuel (bible reading is on target! Yeah!) which talks about the friendship between David and Jonathan. Take some time to review it for yourself. Elizabeth George points out these qualities of their friendship that we should be sure we are cultivating. Here is her list with my thoughts:
- Be Loyal: B’s girlfriend was out with some other friends a few months ago. The friends started talking about how much they didn’t like B and were pointing out her flaws and making fun of them. Instead of sticking up for her, girlfriend just passed on what they were saying to B. My heart broke for my daughter, and my Momma Bear rose up. Being loyal means sticking together and standing up for each other. It means sometimes getting into the guts of the relationship and calling out what needs to be fixed or pointing out what can be done better.
- Be Loving: Mary Ellen Edmunds wrote a book titled Love is a Verb that I read back when I was in High School (and probably need to re-read). Love isn’t a feeling — it is work and a choice. Sometimes loving is easy — playing games, going to the movies, making a memory. Sometimes, it’s messy like holding hair back when someone is sick, having those hard conversations to help each other grow and improve, saying “I’m sorry. I was wrong”, or help load the moving van.
- Be Respectful: My friends are all amazing women who serve their families, serve in multiple capacities in the church, work outside and inside of the home or home school their kids. Trying to plan things can be difficult at best. But we respect each other’s time and energy and commitments. It is refreshing to know that if I’m not able to make it to something, there is no judgement. Either we will catch up the next time, or they will step in to offer support in my moments of hot mess.
- Be Sensitive: To their needs and circumstances. One of my Wonder Woman friends home schools, foster parents, and has children with special needs. Due to the multitude of food allergies, I don’t always feel confident enough to make her dinner. Instead we find days I can take a kiddo or two so she can have a break or spend time with another child. Sometimes I get to pick the older kids up from their activities and bring them home for her. Because she is an amazing friend, she never takes advantage of me. I had (emphasis on had) another friend who would call me daily to see if I would swing by the store to pick up things she forgot or to transport her kids even though she was a Stay-at-Home mom with fewer kids. When I would ask for help, she was too busy with some excuse or another. I stopped “helping”, and the friendship quickly dissolved.
- Be Honest and Attentive: I’m completely good when someone tells me they aren’t able to do something — help host a table for a function, watch kids, come hang out at the Splash Pad. I’d much rather they were up front and honest with me so I can find someone else or make other plans. It more irritating when someone you are counting on drops out at the last minute and you are left to scramble to fill in the gap! I would also appreciate being told I look hideous in a new outfit, or how my new haircut doesn’t flatter my face. I can take it from someone who is attentive to me — someone who knows me and cares about me.
- Be an Encourager: Encourage the best out of people physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Feed their fires! Look around and see where you can be an influence for good — no matter how small. I absolutely love it when we are shopping and my kids randomly wave and smile to other shoppers. “Who was that?” I’m constantly asking the kids. Most times I get a shrug and a “Dunno” or “A new friend I just made”. I need to follow this example more.
- Be Giving: I heard on the radio yesterday that women generally speak in acts to show love and support. I know that my love language is food — if you leave my house or I come to yours, and I haven’t fed you, I feel that I’ve not done my job. Other ways to give include sending a quick message to let them know you are thinking about them. Dropping a card in the mail. Make a meal just because. Pray for them.
Because I’m still on my Personal Branding kick, I’m going to plug a favorite author my friend Amy Ann introduced me to. Jen Hatmaker’s book Of Mess and Moxie has an entire chapter called Bonus Moms and the importance of those other moms that help raise your kids. Another wonder woman mom who I get to be friends with gave me this book — I’m sure lucky to have so many people adding to my fire!
I do want to point out that while we should be nice to everyone, it is OK and NECESSARY to not be FRIENDS with everyone. Pick those five who you want to be your circle of influence. Cultivate those relationships, make those a priority. Realize that those five are ENOUGH. Elizabeth says, “Just be sure people are not eating away your time”. If you have too many friends you are trying to love, encourage, serve . . . it gets overwhelming. It’s okay to be picky — Elizabeth gives us permission.
Jodi, Casey, Christina, Lavonna, Tammie, Darcie. These are my girlfriends! Between us there are three masters degrees, three special education teachers, a math teacher, a preschool teacher, a pastor’s wife, children’s ministries coordinator, Mpact girls coordinator, Pregnancy Care Center ambassador, Women’s ministries leader, Mom’s Mentoring Moms team, two homeschooling moms, an IRS worker, volunteer at the Battered Women’s Shelter, choir member, and 21 kids!
Comment about your friends. How are they fueling your fire? Send me pictures too!