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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Friendship – Things We Learn Along The Way (Part 4)


Appearance & Reality

Niccolo Machiavelli said that ‘everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are’. He is right because people can only see the ‘you’ they have resolved to see and they will only love you to the extent that their heart allows them to. Whereas others will experience who you really are and will be blessed as a result of it. I will even dare take it one step further by saying that few ever experience what you become. This is because, if we carried the same people with us from the beginning of our lives until the end, we would never have the chance to grow or be blessed through relationships with other people. Rather we have to pay our friendship forward, bless one person which something they can bless another with and so on and so forth. They say you never need more close friends than you can count on one hand, it’ll be interesting to see who will still be there in the years to come.

When a good thing comes to an end

I’ve recently been stirred into season of shedding. Shedding ke, am I a snake? No, but walk with me. The skin of a snake is different from the skin of a mammal (including us) in that it does not grow as the snake grows. As humans, when we grow our skin stretches and grows with us but this is not the same for a snake. As tubular creatures they have a limited capacity for enlargement and therefore need to shed the outer layer of their skin to replenish and grow. Once the old skin is shed, the snake can start afresh and keep growing. Made the connection? Like a snake sheds its old skin, I too have to shed friends that like dead, dry, old skin are stopping me from breathing the fullness of God’s great air, from receiving the fullness of the Son and experiencing the glorious winds of the Holy Spirit. Shedding is not a bad thing and is actually a part of the process of life, just ask a snake.

Learn to let go

Now shedding is conceptually fine but what happens when you need to birth that into existence. Knowing that you need to let people go and then doing it, is a different struggle all together. There are some friends that this is much easier said than done with and others that we find it harder to shed. But it’s all a part of life; moving on.

We all have people in our lives that at some point we’ve thought will be our bridesmaids, best friends, Godmothers to our children etc and then the friendship doesn’t exist a few years later. Let me tell you now, over the last 5 years especially, I’ve had people in my life that I thought at one point I’d be friends with forever. Yes, I can still be quite naïve lo! I thought that our children would play together, then I woke up and realised I wouldn’t wish such a thing on my children. The friend you see today will not always be the same friend you’ll have in the months or years to come. Some people will take longer to show you the full extent of their character at which point you are well within your right to alter the cause of that friendship. 2012 was the greatest year of my life to date for a variety of reason but also because God used it to show me elements of people’s character that were not conductive to long-term friendship unless addressed. I was then faced with a variety of options and acted accordingly. There were some friendship I left to whittle away and die a far more favourable death than if I was to have the final say, others I had to confront and notify the other person about how their actions had hurt me. There were others that I absorbed the pain and rightly or wrongly shouldered on with but ironically, those are some of the friendship, that I’ve caught the revelation that I have to call time on. This doesn’t have to be a dramatic Craig David-esque I’m walking away, green screen, china bumps, chequered jumper, duffle coat and autumn leave type affair. Nor does it have to be a Jasmine Sullivan bust the windows out your car exit either – but you at some point you will need to stop kidding yourself, face the truth of the matter, pick yourself up and leave the friendship. If God’s not in it, you shouldn’t be either.

It’s so crucial to pray for your friendship and to ask God to show you when a friend is no longer meant to be your friend or when someone is. They may have to be downgraded to acquaintance or regulated to the land of somebody you used to know. Likewise, it is equally important that when acting, you ask God for the reason why your friendship needs to change because that’s where the lesson is. There are some friends that have abandoned their role in your life as a destiny helper and have now become passive in their post or worst of all destiny killers. This will probably sound a bit dramatic or cut throat to those who do not have the spiritual maturity to realise that friendships are no joke. When you start to understand that all relationships are spiritual transactions (because we are all spiritual beings), then you start to realise that you need to be protective of what & who you allow to enter you spiritual sphere of influence!!

Destination Purpose – isn’t this your stop?

It’s taken me such a long time to catch the revelation that not all movement is necessary movement when it comes to friendship. Using myself as an example, all of my close friends are people that are up & doing, even my Christian friends go to church and for the large part, try to live God-fearing lives and are on a forward facing path with Christ. But a last week I caught the revelation that not all movement is necessary if the destination isn’t conductive to pushing or stretching you spiritually. I started to assess some friendships and started realising that whilst we were both moving, we were moving in very different directions. This is not a bad thing; it just means that whilst I’m headed North, you’re headed South. I’m now stuck as I have some friendships whereby I’m on the train headed to my purpose and it time for some passengers to get off the train. It’s been real, but you’ve gone as far as we both can manage. This is the sad part, but having prayed and sought God about something like this, we insult Him by ignoring His counsel and coming back to Him later when it’ all gone wrong. We must always endeavour to honour the counsel of the Lord. It’s a tough thing to have to start to work out but I also know it’s necessary. I’ll may let you know how I get on!

I’ve really learnt the hard way, that there are some people that you may still be good friends with but you have to shed for they cannot come into your promised land. This is more than a Shaq, ‘you weren’t with me when I was shooting in the gym’ tip, but the blunt fact that they cannot enter into your spiritual inheritance. They have not been called to serve in the same realm as you, nor have they been called to go with you on the next leg of the journey. This is fine and something we have to be ready for as mature Christians. The motto I abide by in life is this it’s not every friend for every season. This is not to snub the other person, but rather to acknowledge that you’re both growing in opposite/different directions. The season of helping to grow a person has come to an end, the process of one sided friendship is now over and even the season of mutually beneficial friendship may be over. Both parties have exhausted their roles in the life of the other person and it’s time to move on. A good spiritually inclined friend will also be able to discern tis and make things easier by also letting go.

Hold up, you’re going where? Ok, I’ll get back to you

Another reason why and shedding is crucial is because discernment will show you that not everybody can go where you’ve been called to go. Some friends will need to be left behind in Egypt, others will perish in the red sea, others will follow you into the lion’s den, others will deny you three times and there are others that will take off the very robe & armour from their backs to cover you.

Unlike a gaggle of popstar groups, not all of your friends (believers & non-believers) will be rushing with you to do the work of the Lord. And this is cool because if you notice, God doesn’t use a crowd to do what he’s predestined a single person to do. God uses men to affect change through their circles and spheres of influences, so it’s ok if it all starts with you and you alone. When God raises up a generation He awakens the hearts of men that He has strategically placed in key places/locations, and so like an army of sleeper agents, we receive the call and are sent to be about His business. So do not be surprised to discover that a large majority of your friends will be ubwilling to come on that mission with you. Why, you ask? Keep reading is my reply.

  1. Not everybody CAN go where you’ve been called to go
  2. I repeat not everybody CAN go where you’ve been called to go
  3. Everybody will not WANT to go where you’ve been called to go
  4. Not everybody WILLS go where you’ve been called to go
  5. Everybody will not DESIRE to go where you’ve been called to go

The aforementioned appear to be pessimistic, sad and harsh interpretations of reality but hear me when I tell you that these are spiritual truths. When you’ve been through the fires of life, how many of your friends or family are jumping to retrace your steps? For some of us, God has called us into such battlefields and warzone that there will inevitably be some friends that will not want/will or desire to go with us. But this is because God never intended them to, therefore they cannot go with you. Serving God is such an honour, and when we grasp the fact that He can do absolutely anything by Himself, we realise that His using us to do what He will and has already done is merely an exhibition of His favour in our life. That is a gift that cannot and should not be easily traded, likewise it is a burden and a task that isn’t easily desired. Jesus spent His life attracting crowds and amassing a following yet when it came to the persecution, He was alone. When it came to dying on the cross, none of His close friends were with Him as He bled & died. They held onto their lives screaming YOLO at Roman guards trying to preserve said life. If you have never read the Bible before or don’t know much about it – the YOLO reference was a joke. I really wouldn’t want you to think they said YOLO back then ;).. Read the gospels Matt/Mark/Luke/John for context on the lead up to the death of Jesus. But back to the point, if that happened to Jesus, we really can’t be mad when it happens to us. Not everybody can go where you’ve been called to go, so be very vigilant about who you allow to travel with you on the journey towards your destiny. Remember the journey is half the battle and part of your training, it’s the rehearsal before the big finale! Losing friends may hurt but it doesn’t kill you when you realise that there are some missions that God has reserved exclusively for those who are fully sold out to Him, so much so they are even prepared to go in alone.

So there you have it folks! I hope this post has given you some food for thought in the area of friendship. All types of relationships are difficult to maintain and need to be actively worked on so it would be a lie if I said I a) was the perfect friend or b) had perfect friends. But we can all try our best and give our absolute all to one another to ensure that we are the being the best friend we can be!

So let’s spread the word, feed a spirit, encourage a soul!

Feel free to comment

Tolz x

Twitter : @TolzThundercats

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Friendship – Things We Learn Along The Way (Part 3)


I need you to survive

  • Matthew 18:19 – Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.
  • Ecclesiastes 4:9 – Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
  • Ecclesiastes 4:12 – If two hold together, that is seen to be good; but if there be three, this threefold bond is likened to a cord formed of three threads, which cannot easily be broken.

The bible has different things to say about companionship and friendship. The aforementioned verses are just a few that are often used to teach us the value that can be found in friendship. They are a nice warm reminder of why God made us as beings that crave fellowship and togetherness.

As humans we cannot survive without one another. Statistics have shown that when an elderly spouse dies, it is not rare for the outliving spouse to die shortly after. We thirst after companionship and this is something friendship provides. Let’s look at Jonathan & David in the bible, known as the greatest ever friends. Following the death of Jonathan, David said in 2 Samuel 1:26 David ‘I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.’ They had formed a bond and deepness of friendship that David loved him more that women and that’s saying a lot! This is comparable to friends who love each other like brothers & sisters. “He’s my brother” “she’s my sister” are things I commonly hear and this is beautiful because true friendship should elevate the level of love we have for one another.

Tough love

One type of love that is also used in friendship is tough love. In all honesty, I understand the concept of tough love but really dislike it. When the bible tells us all the things that love is, tough is not one of them. There is always a nicer way to say or do something, hence this tough love thing you all speak about isn’t always the only answer left. 9 out of 10 times people use tough love to venomously spew a vitriolic monologue to another person all in the name of love. That’s not real love because love is kind. We can still tell our friends tough things but in gentle way. I’ve seen some people torn down all in the name of tough love, in situations where just ‘love’ would have sufficed. It’s all about learning the love language of one person and mimicking it. It is essential we are truthful with our friends but not hurtful. So let us always remember to operate within the sphere and realm of love. Remember 1 John 4:18 ‘but anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.’

Say what na

As you can tell from the section’s title, I clearly think I’m a stereotypical Southern American ha. But it’s also been impressed upon me to highlight the importance of how we use our mouths in our friendships. Ephesians 4:29 urges us to ‘Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers’.

In all we say, we must strive to ensure we impart grace to the hearer whilst edifying all including ourselves. Now I have some friends who ALWAYS speak goodness into my life and constantly use their mouth to edify and build me up. Then I have a few who unknowingly don’t, be it conversation or through a joke. ‘You’re such a’, ‘You always’, ‘You are’ are such powerful statements that the words that follow much always edify and lift up. When they don’t, that negative word has been spoken and has gone fourth. For us more outgoing people, people feel like they can say anything to you and it won’t affect you because you appear strong and confident. That however, is no reason to use your words whether knowingly or unknowingly to tear someone down. So I beseech you all, think very carefully about the words you speak into the lives of others. For those of you that this applies to, ask God to train your tongue or reveal to you the importance of the words you speak. I like a good joke but I feel like I am always conscious not to speak over the life of anyone in doing so, that is a line I do not cross. To those of you that do, I see you! And I’m rebuking your words at the same time 😛 The only way pure hearted friendship can work is if both parties are considerate.

Equality in friendship

Now whilst the bible discusses what is expected in friendship and the elements that strengthen the foundation of friendship, it does not say that all friendships must be equal. You will not have the same level or nature of friendship with all people. Different friends come into your life for different reasons and as a result, they also play different roles. Many of my close friends come to me for sound sisterly wisdom/advice, to help keep them accountable or to lift them up in prayer. Others come for a more of a developmental-career-mentoring relationship, whilst others come to be encouraged or for someone to laugh with them etc. Point is that whilst I’m still the same person with all, I fulfil different roles and satisfy different needs. This is also how our friends are with us.

Secondly, I’ve come to the realisation that even within the friendship we cannot expect equality. This is something I’ve learnt the hard way.

Some will come to be a blessing, others will come to be blessed and that’s ok. There are some we are used by God to grow and encourage and there are others who do the same to us. So pushing whilst I know do not expect equality in friendship, I am all about is beneficial friendship. In being friends with something you must a least be able to reap one benefit, no matter how big or small. I cannot be your friend and your life is not changed as a result and vice versa. In all relationships, both parties must bring something credible to the table. It will not be the same thing, nor the same percentage or quality because friendship isn’t about equality or mirroring the nature of the other person. I’ve learnt to stop holding my friends to the standard of my other friends, or even to my own high standard but rather to view them through this lense. Very regularly I do a friend check and ask myself this question; how is my life being changed by your presence in it? For those that trigger a negative response, I seek God about the person and when directed I chance course. After all, if you aren’t changing my life why are you in it? For those that invoke a positive response, I thank God for them and pray for further strengthening.

One thing we must not do as Christians is entertain unhealthy relationships that we haven’t been called to be in. I thoroughly believe that if someone isn’t pulling you forward, by default of gravity they are pulling you down. Gravity is an absolute force and so is movement, so for as long as the world continues spinning there’s no such thing as standing still – even in friendship. For those of you that are attentive you’ll realise I only deal with the absolute when it comes to all types of relationship ;). So if someone is pulling you away from God, making you feel bad about yourself, causing you more harm than good – it may be time to rethink the relationship because it may have crept into the territory of an unhealthy relationship. Above all, seek God’s heart for the friendship because you never know which Simon in your life will eventually become your Peter or the Saul that will become your Paul. Just don’t be naïve enough to believe that you and you alone can turn Simon to Peter and Saul to Paul.

Having learnt the hard way last year when I went away to serve and a lot of people became too busy to help carry me through what ended being the hardest time of my life, the Holy Spirit revealed a series of things to me. One thing in particularly brought me to the realisation that you cannot expect 100% from the other person just because you give them 100%. Friendship is not about matching like for like. I’ve now come to realise that some people are only capable of giving you 20% and that’s something you have to learn to accept and value in a God-ordained, purpose driven friendship. Why should I you ask, well it’s because friendship demands sacrifice.

Friendship is sacrifice

All types of relationships we have in this world demand a sacrifice from us. Be it love, time, energy, effort, money or emotion etc, they will require something from you. Like family relationships, partner-based relationships and martial relationships, friendships demand that you sacrifice yourself for the prosperity of the other person. Yet, few people can attest that they walk in this and can confidently claim to be a self-sacrificial friend but many can share in the story of the lukewarm, half hearted friends. My girl Amma tweeted that ‘People look for deceit on the level they would consider deceiving” and that had me like WOOOOW. As I was just taking that in, I got a remix whilst writing this blog. People can only serve on the level they would consider sacrificing’. Friendship requires sacrifice. Friendship is a sacrifice.

Now at one point I will type up my notes and put a blog up on sacrifice & serving so I don’t want to digress but I will say that if you have or find a self-sacrificial/loyal friend, don’t let them go. They are a keeper!! This is because I’ve realised that a friend like that will help push you into your destiny. Notice I didn’t say help, but rather push. That is because they will not be like those other friends that drain or drag on you, nor will they be like the others that try to cut you and tear you down, they will be the ones that always come speaking good news and cheer. The ones that always have a word of encouragement, the ones that are always praying for you, the ones that call you because the Holy Spirit put you on their heart, they’ll be spiritually connected to you and your divinely appointed destiny. The sacrificial friend will help you get to where you need to go by all means and at all cost. They are the proverbial ride or die friends because like John 15:13 tells us ‘greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’

There ends Part 3, stay tuned for the final instalment which will be Part 4!

So let’s spread the word, feed a spirit, encourage a soul!

Feel free to comment

Tolz x

Twitter : @TolzThundercats

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Friendship – Things We Learn Along The Way (Part 2)


Seasons

Now if there’s one thing I know, it’s this. Friendships are seasonal. Your family will always be your family forever and your spouse (through a lense of never getting divorced) will always be your spouse, but friends ‘may’ not always be your friends. Friendships can seem like they will last but even forever is a season. God operates in the realm of forever & a day. He has seen the end of the world from the beginning, so much so that the bible tells us in Revelation 13:8 Jesus, ‘the Lamb [was] slain from the foundation of the world’. Even before we fell, God made provision to draw us back to Him – how incredibly awesome!! So, 10 years for us feels like a mini lifetime but is a mere blink of an eye for God. 2 Peter 3:8 reminds us ‘that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day’.

So I’ve come to realise that if I’m even blessed with one day of genuine friendship, I need to get my church shoes and get into a praise break! It is such a blessing to have a true friend by your side at any moment of time, and an even greater blessing if they stay there a while. There are some friends that you find yourself drawing closer to in a season of hardship and others that you find in a season of rejoicing. Some of us have those transcendental friendships that cross through circumstances, geographies and season – what a blessing. Whilst I was serving abroad in South America last year and really going through, God sent me a friend in the form of a girl I met called Keshia and I continually thank God for her friendship. Even if we stop being friends tomorrow, my heart will never forget the season God used her to get me through. Chile stripped my eyes wide open like many of you know and reinforced the importance of true friendship for me. Some were friends in words and deed, others were just friends in word. All the same, I learnt to value even more those that stood by me.

Discernment

Now there are some friends that will come into your life for a season and leave in peace, they will often leave behind a valuable lesson that is paramount in terms of your personal & spiritual growth. But, there are others that come as assassins in ‘friends’-clothing, they play the part and will drop their bag with every intention to stay. They’ll need to be kicked out!

We’ve all been given spiritual gitfings and one of the most useful in this day & age is that of discernment. I’d even go as far as to say that spiritual growth demands that we operate in the realm of discernment; of times & seasons, of peoples, spirit & situations. There are some people that appears as sweet as toffee on the outside but are as bitter as kolanut on the inside – shouts out to the people that know what kolanut is, sorry if you’ve ever tried it L. In life it is crucial to discern behind the smile. Like those two women I mentioned earlier who smiled in the face of the other lady before gossiping about her, you cannot always take some people on face value. Was it not Joseph’s brothers that must have smiled at him before they led him into a pit? Did Delilah not whip out her best smile in seducing Sampson? We must reach a place in life where we place everything in God’s hands, friendships included!

There are even some friends who have been with you for a while, they entered your life as a God-sent destiny helper, but hear me when I say that even they can fall outta line. Lucifer was an angel, he was blessed with the ability to sing, to worship God, to fellowship in the heavens and he even has seen the face of the Lord, yet jealousy overtook him and he fell outta line. At the beginning our friends are for us and inseparable from our sides. However, small things can creep in and before you know it they will abandon their role as your destiny helper. If you cannot discern this, you may find yourself fighting a battle you are not prepared for. Nobody has a problem when you’re both riding the bus, but all of a sudden the spirit of jealousy causes others to covet the things you have when God finally blesses you with a limo! The spirit of jealousy is one of the biggest thieves of friendship/ relationship. So believe me when I say that trust is good, but discernment is better.

Why don’t you just write a list of your close friends and take that list to God. Ask Him what their hearts are like towards you? Why they are in your life? And anything else that comes to mind, be intentional and prayerful about your friendships.

Connections

As we are told in 1 Corinthians 12: 12-31, we are equally connected. The same principle applies to a circle of friends, therefore you must be conscious about who else you are connected to. Follow me into the Old Testament. In Joshua 7, the Israelites went to war against the small army at Ai under the leadership of Joshua. Yet they were surprisingly defeated. When Joshua enquired of the Lord he discovered that a member of his army Achan had disobeyed God’s request that they should not take the spoils of war in previous battle. One person ruined the victory for the whole group because he had violated the word and command of God. Now imagine the Israelites army was a circle of friends, because one friend acted up, they were all punished. Because of the unrighteousness of one, the sin as multiplied and extended to all. The point I’m making is this, friendships are spiritual connections and it is very important to be vigilant about who you and (your purpose/destiny) are connected to.

Using the same scripture from 1 Corinthians 12, just as we all play different roles in the church, we also do the same in our friendship groups. If you are a joint, your friend needs to be the muscle, if one an eye the other needs to be the head, but you both need to serve a purpose and play a positive part in the lives of one another. However, this is not always the case and we’ve all had friends that have helped led us astray at one point in life. Those all-consuming friends often make us weak and unable to separate ourselves from the tie, that’s when we find that we’ve been pulled into utter destruction. Other times, we are so blinded to the destructive element of a friendship/relationship that God has to opens our eyes, and sometimes do us a favour by removing those negative people from your life.

I have seen with my own eyes that if you refuse to, God will change your circle for you. For instance – when you come to a place in Christ that He changes you so much, have you ever noticed that there are some people that can’t be around you. There are some friends that pull away from you and you won’t even know – but that’s God. You can’t be changed on the inside and no change be manifested on outside! When I came to Christ back in 2009, I immediate stopped doing the things I once did. I’m quite fortunate that I didn’t have much to contend with nor was there anything so tempting that it could easily draw me back in. I’m quite a granny at heart and I pretty much dislike the taste of most alcohols and champagnes would occasionally drink alcho-pops if at all. I only drank between the ages of 18—19 and not much when I did. I was a prolific swearer and probably found that the hardest thing to cut out. I like to dance and get dressed up but didn’t necessary feel like I couldn’t breathe if I wasn’t doing such things in a club and so that was easy in some ways to stop doing. But the test came when friends would try to lure me back into clubs through the weapon of peer pressure. What they don’t know is that despite being a friendly & sociable person; I have no problem keeping my own company and that’s probably the most deceptive thing about me. People see me and think I am uber sociable and outgoing, but they fail to see all the way in. But I digress, the fear of losing friends isn’t really something I’ve really ever cared about at all so peer pressure was definitely wasted on me. The one thing I cared about at the time (and still now ;), was pleasing God.

So what I did experience from friends and family knocked me a bit because pleasing God shouldn’t be such a bad thing right? Wrong. Sideways comments and mockery were constantly sent my way, all because I had made the change and crossed over from death to life. “Now she thinks she’s Jesus”, “she’s changed boi”, “she’s all churchy”, “she’s always posting about Jesus”, “she talks about Jesus so much”. It was hard but unfortunately people could not handle it. Let me keep it 100% real and confess that I am not a victim and if anything, life came round full circle and bit me hard ha! When one of my close girls rededicated her life to Christ back in secondary school, I thought she was lame, boring and a sanctimonious geek. Look how life catches up with you! So I’m making this point to illustrate that sometimes people honestly do not know what they do. When you don’t know Christ you don’t know how much you’re missing out its impossible to fathom how green the grass actually is. Put simply, the world is darkness and darkness cannot tolerate the existence of light because there can only be one winner. This isn’t like a rainbow that is produced by sun and rain and therefore one force blends with the other to produce an outcome where all win; light & darkness cannot peacefully co-exist. It is a battle, one MUST consume the other, and light consumes the dark just as Christ consumes the world. It’s like my God eats your god for breakfast hahaha! And until people enter the light, they’ll always be afraid of it.

So anyway, I bore the insults etc because if there’s one thing life has taught me it’s that nothing worth having is easy, ask Jesus all about the cross! As a result of my giving my life to Christ, people fell out of my sphere of friends. They either stop calling, texting or hanging out or I did. They started to treat me differently or disassociate themselves with me and so did I. I knew that I couldn’t be a serious child of God and still walk with the same crowd that was diametrically opposed to everything He requires of us.

I was fortunate that God has given me a resolute spirit and when I vowed that I would live out our command to use every breathe we have to praise Him I meant it. This very blog started off about my university experience, created one afternoon in April 2009 after I had finished my prelims at Uni. I used to blog about random things, about an acquaintance I did the same subject as and about grime music. Those days are a distance memory. But after seeing a mockery profile on twitter parodying Jesus Christ that had over 120,000 followers in 2011, I vowed I would use my spheres of influence & social media outlets to edify God & others. I vowed that my life would be used to glorify Him and for those that know me, they will attest that I don’t make promises very easily , so once I do I intend on keeping it and I’m thankful that now I have a circle of friendship that either respect or equally dedicated to doing that.

Your connections and circles are incredibly important. The bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:33 ‘Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character”’ and this is something I’ve seen with my own eyes. Backsliding is real and one of the vehicles used by the enemy to drag us back into old habits or sin is people. Relationships are underpinned by influence, so please be vigilant about who you allow to influence you in your circle. The thing about a circle is there is no gap or break, it continually goes round and round and each part is seamlessly merged into the other. Likewise, your life is seamlessly merged into that of the other members of your circle/cliques. So be very selective and conscious of the people you become connected to. Bad company really does corrupt good character.

There ends Part 2, stay tuned for Parts 3 & 4!

So let’s spread the word, feed a spirit, encourage a soul!

Feel free to comment

Tolz x

Twitter : @TolzThundercats

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Friendship – Things We Learn Along The Way (Part 1)


Workplace politics

It seems to be the case with me most recently that something happens in which then triggers something in my spirit and results in a blog post. So you guys already know the deal.

After cracking a few jokes with my line manager, I was sitting down at my desk minding my business staring out into the window to unwind my brain. When a lady comes sharply round the corner and enters our zone. Two other women then saw her, smiled and said hi as she walked on by. But as soon as she had got far enough, the smiles faded away and one whipped out a scowl and they both began to whisper.

Now this made me sad for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was very unprofessional and there were quite a few of us around. But secondly and most importantly, it was so bitchy and indicative of the duplicitously sneaky nature of their character. Now, one of them is already a known and approved gossiper and consequently her mouth has made a negative name for her on the proverbial streets. But I was now thinking about the other person. She is younger and from the interactions I’ve had with her, appears to be a lovely genuine young woman. I’ve never seen her bitch about people and our other colleagues speak so well of her. But if someone who had never met her or heard anything about her was to encounter what I saw, it would definitely be a bad first impression. They are not the only people I see engaging in low-toned conversations, some are so hungry to gossip they talk with their hands over their mouths. So after a series of thoughts and spiritual downloads, I was moved onto the topic of friendship.

Friendship is a topic that is usually accompanied with roses & chocolates so forgive me in advance if this post appears quite pessimistic lol. That’s not the intention, but if you haven’t grasped by now, I’m here to open your eyes to the reality of the world we live in and offer spiritual revelation when directed. I believe that there is plenty good in the world and by and large our friends are good, but dear reader I think it’s about time I asked you a question; is good really good enough?

Time – it’s not quantity its quality

Time is not a prerequisite in friendship. There are some people that have known me less than a year but have a stronger bond than others that have known me for what feels like a lifetime. This is not to say that the old-timers are bad, but rather friendship is ONLY strengthened by the investment made by both parties. Take university for instance, campus life was very convenient and friendships were strengthened as a result of it. The true test of university friendships are whether they transcend the environment and last when you no longer have the luxury of convenience. Many of mine didn’t even last till third year through my own choice and from the college I attended, I only have 2 friends that I keep in regularly contact with.

I’ve caught my revelation, been given my word and in order to get the best out of people in life, you will have to hold them to certain standards. In the new season I have entered, friendship 101 is too basic for where I’m headed. So to answer the question I first raised, unfortunately good is no longer good enough. As you’ve all probably noticed, the older you get the less true friends you have. This is because we usually become more circumspect of the company we keep and the people we bless with the gift of our friendship. We may also notice that God has placed the most unlikely people in our lives to be a blessing to us, and us to them. I have people in my life that can boast to have known me for 15+ years but they will not be invited to my wedding, nor will they play with my children and we will not grow old together; that’s not sad, its just a fact of life. Likewise, there will be people that will change my life and will know me for a short period of time. So learn to be discerning of the times and purpose of the friendships you have.

Next selection

The majority of the people I have parted with have happened through the natural growing apart process. Others have happened as a result of strife or misunderstanding on their part towards me and through that revelation of a character defect, I have opted out of the friendship. That’s not to say I’m a perfect friend, but those who know me know that I am a self-sacrificial friend and will give my all, so once I decided to call time on a friendship it’s because the soil is fallow and no good seed can be sown or good fruit brought to life. Now it probably seems harsh, but time is so precious that we cannot afford to be careless with how we choose to invest it. Friendships require investment that we must try where possible, to invest it wisely.

In each season of life, I’ve learnt the art of being selective. As I’ve grown I Christ and grasped an unshakable understanding of my purpose I’m become very vigilant about the goings on of life. The bible says in 1 Corinthians 13:11 ‘when I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.’ So when you know where you’re going, the Holy Spirit starts to teach you to put away / remove yourself from the things in life that can hinder you from getting there. It’s sometimes sad when people say ‘have you spoken to xyz person’ and when I say ‘no’ they respond ‘ahh but you were so close in school/college/Uni/life’ to which I respond ‘I know but people grow apart’. It is sad when a friendship is weakened, but in all things remember it’s all about seasons and purpose, two things that people rarely share at the same time.

A praying friend

A praying friend is a staying friend. Ok, so I tried to make it rhyme but I hope you can get what I’m trying to say. Friends that pray together stay together. There are people in my life who have known me for decades but don’t really know me. They don’t know the struggles, battles and things I’ve had to contend with in prayer, but there are those who do. Being able to go through life knowing that there is at least one person praying for you is such a reassurance. My friends and I have a Whats app group which started off being used for gist and lols (very much like this blog), but we changed tact and really use it as a place to build each other up.

Prayer in Christian friendship for me in non-negotiable. If you call me a friend, pray for me! I pray for all my friends and thank God that there are things they may never have to go through because it’s been covered and dealt with in the place of prayer. Prayer has not only saved me form heartache but has also helped to save and strengthen my friendships. In the past I’ve had jealous friends, hurtful friends and inconsiderate friends. It’s only through prayer and revelation that I have been able to approach the friendship from a particular angle, put corrective mechanisms in place and consequently have us both come out stronger.

A few years back, I suffered my first (and prayerfully last) incredible heartache from a broken friendship. I’m talking intense heart breaking, gut wrenching pain so sharp that I cried for a few days straight. Even after the fact, I often cried just thinking about that day – it was a deadily day LOL! The events panned out in such a way that though I am technical still an acquaintance of that person, it destroyed the foundation our friendship was supposed to be built on; trust. So it was only through prayer that I was able to salvage and strengthen elements of said friendship and learn to pick myself back up. It was the hardest thing for me to learn to let go of my hurt and forgive those involved. From start to completion, it was a process that took several months with some of those involved and took years for another. It’s an experience I have never forgotten but it one I’ve learnt tremendously from. The forgiveness was the hardest because I am such an incredibly loyal friend, so to have that loyalty thrown in my face was probably the worse feeling in the world at that time. The scripture that got me through was John 14:16 ‘And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever’. Literally it was a pain that could only ever be healed spiritually and something that forced me to grow in the area of friendships.

Friendship is power and you should always be careful over who you give license to play with your emotions! The nature of love in friendship is one that precedes the eros love of marriage, and for those who are blessed, their eros love will be based on that friendship love! So it’s a real blending of hearts where friendship is concerned. The hurt of previous experience allowed fear to rule my others friendship because I was scared of being cut as deeply, but it was hard to deny who and how God had made me. You have to be who God called you to be in its entire fullness!! Whilst I was serving abroad, my girl Promise spoke such a powerful words over me that it made me realise that though I may get hurt in the process of friendship, I must always say faithful to the character God has given me – one of loyalty and love. That’s what true friendship is, giving all of you irrespective of what’s being returned.

There ends Part 1, stay tuned for Parts 2,3 & 4!

So let’s spread the word, feed a spirit, encourage a soul!

Feel free to comment

Tolz x

Twitter : @TolzThundercats

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2013 in Uncategorized