The 6 Friends Everybody Needs: Final Part: The Pickup Where You Left Off Friend

As millenials the idea of change is nothing new. We blow through high school, discover ourselves throughout college, and swim through the deep waters of an entry level career. You and I have realized change is an inevitable reality waiting to happen. However, we still love to fight it. Why leave the safety of security in pursuit of the unknown? For others, it’s a thrill to venture into such depth.

Sooner or later you and I realize our illusion of control is only as surreal as the assurance we have regarding change, simply a delusion that we are not in the driver’s seat. Life goes forward whether we fancy its movements or not.

This is where the “pick up where you left off” friend enters.

Life has a funny way of wrecking most relationships with the bullet of distance, but the “pick up where you left off” friend becomes the exception. Years later life feels as if not a day has gone by and everything, the memories, proximity, and jokes, all seem to be in tact.

Here are three reasons why having a “pick up where you left off friend” is a gift and may be something we could learn from:

  1. They are a reminder of life’s simple joy: I know this sounds bad, but wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to put out the immense energy it takes to maintain your current long distance relationships? That’s what a relationship with the pickup where you left off friend feels like. Granted, fighting in sacrifice for relationships is an extremely necessary and beneficial endeavor; however, the security of knowing a friendship is safe no matter the distance regardless of your actions is evidently freeing. The pickup where you left off friend reminds us of the simple joy and privilege it is to live in security rather than trudging through the small talk and formalities life sometimes makes us carry out when reconnecting with old friends.
  2. They allow us to remain childlike: the pickup where you left off friend allows us to forget the routine of life for awhile and reminisce in a state of remembrance and camaraderie of the moments that first brought you together. For a moment we are released of life’s troubles and reminded how important it is to keep life simple and without worry, where applicable.
  3. They give us a picture of what it means to forgive and forget. As we engage with the pickup where you left off friend, we may be reminded of the brevity of time life offers between two people. We may be reminded life is too short to quarrel or spend missing people because there are far more beauties in life than to live in a state of bitterness or sorrow. The pickup where you left off friend becomes an encouragement to cherish the simple moments you currently have with the people in front of you and to always strive to love well, for we are not promised tomorrow.

Life goes on, friends, and it is such a privilege to be able to participate in this race. Everyday I’m reminded of the joy it is to live in beautiful relationship and to never stop fighting in love for the person in front of me.

This series is hopefully a reminder for you and I to love well and be intentional with the people God’s placed in our lives. It’s a call higher to walk in unconditional, responsive love for the people we naturally feel a propensity for and especially for the people we don’t necessarily vibe with.

From the man who does it the worst and in honor of a King who does it the best:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

The 6 Friends Everybody Needs: Part 5: The Older Friend

We’ve gone through quite a few types of friends leading up to this post. We’ve had the classic best friend who almost needs no distinction; we’ve also talked about the antithetical friend who, most of the time, is not an obvious nor convenient choice of relationship.

Now we find ourselves in front of a fifth crucial individual: the Older Friend.

Like it’s already been said, we naturally gravitate towards people who are most like us; this usually includes age, experience, and maturity. Most of us don’t seek to hang out with people younger than us much less people who have less experience in life-and rightfully so.

Unfortunately,  hanging out with people our own age simply sometimes gets mucky. Everyone is doing the same thing and coming up with noncreative solutions for everyday problems…it can feel like cabin fever.

 

But the older friend comes around and pretty much changes the game. He is usually a few years older and has gotten a head start on the significant stages of life such as college, a full time job, or even marriage. The pretentiousness that usually exists with people our own age seems to dissipate in conversation with the older friend; she knows where she stands and isn’t threatened by your existence like some of your peers would would perhaps feel. A clear distinction of experience is made and, as a result, sizing one another up becomes arbitrary; unadulterated transparency and friendship can take place.

So, in the spirit of diversity of friendship here are a few reasons why having an Older Friend makes sense:

  1. They Get “It”: In tough moments some of us go to older mentors. However, sometimes these mentors just don’t get it. We perceive them as judgmental and unable to understand our current context. Older friends have most likely been where you are within the last few years and can help bring helpful language towards a solution; this familiarity also breeds empathy which creates greater passage ways for further communication and understanding to take place.
  2. They Give You a Picture of Unthreatened Friendship: When dealing with peers it’s inconvenient and almost exhausting to deal with the insecurity and comparison that occurs between people of similar age. Some relationships would be wonderful if it wasn’t for ego, comparison, and an inability to see past certain qualities. The older friend usually is able to put all these things aside and see you for who you are and not what you are lacking. At the end of the day you guys can simply laugh and not worry about all the drama that comes along with friends similar in age.
  3. They are a Reflection of Unconditional Love: The love from an Older Friend is refreshing because they don’t simply see you as the younger, irrelevant human being like much of society might see you as. We, millenials, are often patronized and looked down upon for our arrogance and lack of experience. The older friend may even acknowledge our arrogance and lack of experience, but loves us through it anyway not because we deserve such treatment, but because they know it’s going to allow us to grow.

At the end of the day the older friend has very little selfish ambition when befriending younger folk; it doesn’t feel like they are loving you because they want to get a particular benefit out of the relationship. What a freeing thought, especially in the context of relationships, to know you aren’t being used and being loved for who you are! There it is folks, a few reasons why having an older friend is beneficial and wonderful!

 

The Friend Just Like You

Often times it’s the people who think, talk, and act like us who understand who we are and where we come from. As intuitive as this idea may appear many of us make the mistake of assuming the rest of society goes through our same thought process when making various decisions.

As a result we find ourselves in front of a bevy of issues: miscommunication, dissension, indifference, etc…the list goes on. In a world of so many different personalities and leanings it can become exhausting to engage in communication (granted I contend in the previous article this contrast is what makes us human; it actually becomes necessary to engage different backgrounds and cultures, but for this point we shall carry on).

In light of this disconnect, it can be safe to say sometimes we need a friend just like us. For mere moments we can consider and sift through our words and thoughts as the friend, who is just like us, conveys them. Are we making sense? Are the beliefs and values my like-minded friend and I share sensitive and life giving to the people around us? These buddies can be a mirror of reflection of consideration and awareness. It’s these same friends who allow us to have almost an out of body experience and ultimately become more self-aware of our good and bad qualities.

 

So in the spirit of self-awareness and avoiding destructive narcissism, here a few reasons why you might need a friend just like you:

1. They grant us validation: Normally validation isn’t so great, but for the few moments validation is necessary having a friend just like you is extremely helpful. It’s when we experience instances of faltering confidence that a friend just like us can come in and provide the needed reassurance to help allow us to move forward. Plus, they let us know we aren’t too crazy; it’s sometimes helpful to have a friend just like you who is older or more mature because they’ve been where you are and can give advice accordingly

2. They are a helpful aid for self-awareness: There have been times where I observe the friends just like myself and think, “wow, I was just thinking that”. Usually one of two things occur in that moment. I either think of how amazing and profound the same thought I processed was spoken by another human being so similarly or I think how I can make an improved adjustment for myself on what was just said. The goal for self-awareness is to pursue balance and beneficial action for the rest of society; the friend just like us gives us a mirror to grant us a reflection of how we may be and perhaps how we can make a beneficial adjustment towards greater development.

3. They’re fun: Let’s be honest, having a friend just like ourselves is thrilling and adventurous. It’s like the twin we never got to have. In the spirit of the ride or die friend we can experience the thrill of solidarity with buddies just like us and experience, if for a brief moment, beautiful harmony. The natural flow of relationship that comes with the friend just like us allows us to experience a light and easy exchange of love; when we are with friends like ourselves we can experience poetry in motion and friendship freely given.

These are just a few reasons of why we may need a friend just like us!

*disclaimer, it’s our natural propensity that brings us to people just like ourselves. The Bible regards like-mindedness and unity as cornerstones for godly, wonderful community. The idea I like to offer to my peers is to find friends like ourselves; likewise, we are given the privilege of sharing that same, easy love with the people around us. A godly love always invites and includes others where it’s easy to engage with one another. Just a reminder for you and I to not settle at the idea of community, but allow our love for one another to burst into a world that needs it more than ever.

The 6 Friends Everybody Needs Part 3: The Antithetical Friend

Would I be crazy to say finding people like ourselves is pretty convenient, daresay easy? Our own leanings often bring us to people who look like us, talk like us, and think like us; it truly feels right in the world when we can find those special people who make us feel like we are talking to the person in the mirror. We are naturally self-indulgent beings who love ourselves.

So what about the people who are the opposite of the manner in which we look, speak, and think? Do we simply avoid them like the plague?

I think there’s something more. Sometimes it’s the ones who are the most antithetical to us that allow us to experience growth. While we may still progress in maturity loving people like ourselves, might we consider another prospect? What if we were to walk in sacrificial friendship with those who are the opposite of us in spite of the possible inconvenience they might present?

Coming out of high school it was miserable to deal with anyone who procrastinated or did not have a sensitivity for other people’s feelings. I would emotionally implode and become frustrated over the lack of similarity of beliefs and values. However, after much thought, something switched; what happened next in process was profound. I began to empathize with these different people’s perspectives and sought to understand the world through the eyes of the antithetical person in front of me; in short, I began to grow.

While I can’t convince you to seek out those who are antithetical in nature, I can present a few reasons for why you could benefit from walking in committed friendship with the aforementioned:

1. They allow us to grow where we are weak: people who are antithetical are just that, antithetical. In many ways they are our complete opposite. But get this: where you might be lacking the antithetical friend may be gifted; where you are insufficient they may be more than sufficient. The antithetical friend allows us to see our weaknesses for what they are and, in best case scenario, teach us how to strengthen these same weaknesses.

2. They cultivate our perspective and empathy: just like in my case where I was utterly confused and frustrated at someone’s lack of sensitivity to the people around them, we can gain perspective and empathy from the antithetical friend. As we seek understanding of a person’s point of view we begin to develop a greater empathy and oversight for where other people different from ourselves may operate. This allows us to better function with future coworkers, employees, and significant others.

3. They grow our capacity for long suffering: let’s face it, being with someone who is different from you is tough and rather inconvenient. From what I hear about marriage, the reality formerly mentioned often becomes an issue. But what I also hear about marriage is that long suffering and a propensity towards patience are also developed out of a place of having to persevere through various, differing issues. In the same way the antithetical friend’s differing nature compels us to move toward solution, not out of convenience, but a perseverance towards wonderful harmony and friendship.

A bit of a tough message, but I think all the more necessary for us to recognize the opposite personalities in our lives; how much we can learn from someone who is antithetical in nature!

The 6 Friends Everybody Needs Part 2: The Ride or Die Friend

The ride or die friend may not be the best friend or even the one who knows you inside and out, but they’re the ones who are down for anything and anytime. These treasured buddies are the ones who remind us that life is done better together; the activities you do together with the ride or die friend can be as exciting as spontaneously exploring the local metropolitan city or as mundane as chilling on the sofa and listening to a throwback playlist.

I’ve heard it often said it’s not what we do together, but whom we do it with; in today’s world it has become even more apparent the vast array of options concerning living situations, job choice, and even hobbies. As a result, we’ve developed quite the component lifestyle for ourselves doing a myriad of activities; with so many options we’ve decided to pack as much of our differing social circles and passions into a single schedule.

Classic millenial sentiment brings us to a simple, yet concerning issue. Who do we do life with when we have such a wide array of job choices and hobbies? Do we simply hang out with our church friends Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday and our drinking buddies Tuesday and Friday? The ride or die friend becomes a crucial piece to our lives because:

  1. They remind us of the importance of solidarity: The ride or die friend allows us to experience the exhilarating feeling of unspoken unity and agreement. It’s this very same unspoken sentiment that supersedes any organizational tie and gives us an unadulterated picture of what it means to dwell in greater love and unity without distraction.
  2. They give us an idea of what sacrifice looks like: Often times the ride or die friend isn’t simply waiting on a whim to hang out because he has a free schedule; she isn’t waiting by the phone anticipating that hangout text. For many of us time constraints and previous commitments are a reality; as a result rest and personal time come at a premium. Ride or die friends grant us a picture of sacrifice by means of balancing work and rest while putting in time and effort to be at our side.
  3. They are a reflection of the manner in which God is with us: We’ve heard God is always with us; in fact, we learn in Sunday school the same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead also lives within us. Crazy, huh? God is with us; this means God doesn’t have to check his schedule or be booked in two weeks in advance for us to roll with him. God doesn’t ignore our spiritual inquiries or forget to respond. He may not always respond in immediate, definitive fashion, but he’s always a “yes, I’m with you” type of God. The ride or die friend becomes a reflection of the relentless love of God and gives us a taste of a God who is always, always present with us.

All in all the ride or die friend is a great buddy to have around; hopefully the relationship doesn’t take on too much a “us against the world” type of feel, but rather allow us to understand the importance of solidarity. Here’s to the ride or die friends of the world!

The 6 Friends Everybody Needs Part 1: The Best Friend

The Best Friend. Cliche, I know; it’s the Classic, American, perennial term for the person who gets you 100% and can usually talk sense into you when you’re feeling down. When I think of the term, “best friend” I enjoy Urban Dictionary’s definition:

“Best Friends are very special people in your life. They are the first people you think about when you make plans. They are the first people you go to when you need someone to talk to. You will phone them up just to talk about nothing, or the most important things in your life. When you’re sad they will try their hardest to cheer you up. They give the best hugs in the world! They are the shoulder to cry on, because you know that they truly care about you. In most cases they would take a bullet for you, coz it would be too painful to watch you get hurt.”

 

While I think Urban Dictionary’s definition surely captures the classic understanding of the “Your Bert to my Ernie” type of relationship, there is a bit more to the definition and necessity of the “Best Friend”

  1. The Best Friend is a Reflection of Unconditional Love: In a society that has become more about “what you’ve done for me lately” it’s often difficult to find people that will stick through your mistakes and take the extra step to love you even better. The best friend walks with you through your junk and often is apart of your personal breakthrough in the toughest of moments. Most of the time they see you in your ugliest and most decrepit of moments, yet, they will still choose to love you. Ultimately, the unconditional love of a best friend points you to Christ and knowing Him more; coincidentally, you also find more of who you are in Christ.
  2. They Bring a Bit of Everything to the Table: In many instances the best friend does not have a particular reason why you and her may be friend. You and him might not even remember how you guys first met. But that’s the beauty, the relationship simply works; it’s wonderful because the best friend brings a bit of everything: that favorite football team, genre of music, outdoor experience, etc…they’re simply content to being with you and don’t make you feel like you have to be something particular in order to be in their life.
  3. There is a Constant Exchange of Following and Leading: in the most functional of best friend relationships, the best friend engages in a beautiful dance of following and leading with you…they are releasing in nature. There is no skirmish for who the dominant person is; or any pride of who the more knowledgable person is. A best friend is comfortable with taking charge in certain situations and, at the same time, will gladly default to you in other circumstances. In a sense, natural leadership and the ability to follow comfortably are cultivated.

So there it is folks, three reasons why you might need a best friend and what [I think] having a best friend means. We get so caught up with the traditional definition of what it means to have a “best friend” and, many times, it becomes an all-consuming search for a self-validating relationship. If I think about my own best friend, I find the most beautiful moments were birthed out of high sacrifice and a desire to keep in touch with one another even while being thousands of miles away.

Preview: The 6 Types of Friends Everybody Needs

Hi Friends,

There is something profound about relationships. Jim Rohn, motivational speaker, once said we are the average of the five people we hang out with most. Upon reading Rohn’s quote, I began to think about the importance and sacredness of relationships; his words made me realize the product that is our lives is largely influenced by those closest to us.

I think if we examine Rohn’s intentions we may find he is not simply attempting to recite mere fact, but get us, as readers, to look deeper into the issue of relationships and personal development. Could it be that Rohn desires to encourage us to rethink the five people we spend the most time with and to be more intentional with who we spend what may be the most valuable currency on the earth, which is time?

In the good spirit of Rohn’s words I present to you a six week series of “The 6 Types of Friends Everybody Needs”. The first installment, “The Best Friend” can be expected tomorrow (May 13th).

As Millenials some of our deepest longings are to know and be known by others. It is such a gift from God to have the privilege of various deep relationships; unfortunately, some never find the people that walk alongside and spur them forward into who they were created to be. I hope to uncover and clarify perhaps a few crucial types of friends everyone could use a little bit more of. Some of the types may be expected, but some types I hope to be a refreshment to your life and perhaps something that cultivates deeper intentionality and thinking on you and I’s end.

Hope to see you tomorrow!

-Daniel

 

We Know No Other Way

To articulately put into words the grandeur of this life is to sell short its immense value of the quality and sanctity for it is because of this very life we gain clarity at the brim of salvation-we know no other way of living

What momentary gains we may achieve are all, but for a loss in the wake of eternity. What better way to live than to move forward in remembrance of yesterday’s victories and sorrows- we know no other way of living

To give life and light to those that seek it; to be the salt to an earth so desiring to taste the exquisite flavors the desperate palate requires-we know no other way of living.

A mission of victorious surrender, alas, a realization of a complete lack of control only to point to a privilege so exclusive it is given to the least of these- we know no other way of living

What if, I ask, the doubts they stream in? Uncertainty, my friends, is what drives our existence. Unknown and its certain principles, ought to drive us to deep, reckless abandoned exploration. To leave the shore and venture out into the wilderness- we know no other way of living.

Yet, here we stand, on the slipping sands of our human certainty, certainly convinced of our posture and direction in life. Is this all there is? The depravity creeps in and the facade continues-we know no other way of living.

Will we awaken from the slumber that haunts our waking reality? While our intelligence is certainly marked by what we do know, our character is defined by what we do not know- we know no other way of living.

In all of its brilliance life becomes such a lavish gift; it is a privilege to breath and walk amongst this earth as mere creatures. Our friend Mary Oliver asks, “what will you do with this one precious life?”-we know no other way of living.

The Kind of Love that Fills the Room

Do you know what I’m talking about? The spaces of time where you feel like you are walking life out as the person you were created to be? The moments where you find yourself included in deep knitted fellowship so much so it feels like a taste of heaven? These prolonged realities can be recognized as experiencing a love that fills the room.

Call me an idealistic millennial but I think this is the kind of love worth living for. It’s the same love that raised Jesus from the dead and the same love that lives within each person that would call on the name of Christ.

But how do we cultivate such love? I look back at the sweet moments of intimate community within a Christian context over the last several years that I’ve experienced and have often wondered…what are the common themes in these different, dispersed communities that all seem to have the same “feel” to their environment?

Yet, as I take a look around I get the feeling that we are getting it all wrong. You and I have made church a marketplace of new techniques; all of a sudden the vernacular becomes ever so important in determining a brilliant, Christian community. The type of people and social standing seem to take precedence over the quality of an individual’s character and spiritual maturity. The style of worship becomes the ultimate decider in whether a community is “actually” following Jesus.

For some reason, you and I have made church about what happens inside the building, rather than what happens outside of it.

What if we started to make church…our community of believers…more about the context rather than the content? The Bible is pretty clear about the goal of community and what it looks like to follow Jesus in solidarity. We are given the picture of the trinity and their interaction with one another…the Epistles are full of directions and exhortations to dwell in unity and long suffering with one another.

The kind of love that fills the room isn’t cultivated by some worship song you think is anointed, the type of socially inept people in the room, or even by the number of similarly minded people. No, it’s cultivated by a love for Jesus rooted in surrender and obedience; it’s brought about by a commitment to carry your cross at whatever the cost. It’s the realization that we suffer in solidarity as a church because of our faith that the kind of love that fills the room comes bursting forth in our gatherings.

Friends this is our calling in the context of Christian community; every heart on earth, lost and saved, longs for the real Jesus. Each soul yearns to be with the loving God; what better way than to allow our communities to be such a transparent reflection of the love the Heavenly Father has for us? Let’s throw our social standing away, our cool gatherings, and our ideas that pale in comparison to the love of the Father.

There are a million ways to love people. But here are some thoughts: If you and I think of the one person we love and treasure with our utmost being, how do you love them? Most likely, it’s really easy to love them because it comes naturally. For me it’s my mom. I don’t have to think about what “techniques” I need to use to love my mom; I simply know that I want to do anything to love her well whether it looks like cleaning the house or including her in the process of my non-important and important decisions.

The issue and reality at hand, however, is that you and I don’t feel this “natural” love for anyone outside of an intimate few, at least I don’t. Interestingly enough, this is the love we are called to, agape sacrificial love. It’s the love that chooses to love a person unconditionally regardless of the circumstances; it’s the kind of love that fills the room and the love we are called to have for everyone on the Earth. Again, just an example, but if we apply this same level of sacrifice to the people God puts in front of us, imagine the amazing things that would happen.

When it comes to loving the person in front of us, especially within the context of Christian community, throw the manual out the freakin’ door. Find out what that person likes and how they like to be loved. DO those things, make an EFFORT to be with that person, and speak TRUTH into that person’s life. Love them as Christ would love them a.k.a. call out the man or woman they are created to be and let your actions be in effort to have them know more of who Christ is and more of who they are in Christ. Many people call this discipleship…I call it friendship.

The Religion We’ve Been Lying to Ourselves About

Millenials, 

this is a call out for all those who steep themselves in religion, all things rigid, and live as if a set of laws could possibly bring validation to an individual’s life. Perhaps this is as much of a wake up call for you as it is me.

More and more I find following Jesus is less about the rules and regulations and about the absolute power of unconditional love and affection. As much as we’d like to think life is defined by right-and-wrong system, a contention could be made for a reality that is guided by a gray, push and pull tension of conflicts and wrestlings. 

Don’t we get it? Legalism exists because love doesn’t. We think these certain systems are going to achieve us certain righteousness; that our small group attendance, certain friendships, and spiritual practices will equate into spiritual authority. But that’s legalism friends; it’s the belief that explicit action will bring us to spiritual nirvana; it’s a life lived empty of the supernatural love of God.

Throw your religion away friends; throw it away. Religion leads us unto ourselves and into a life of self-reliance and false realities. But Jesus, the embodiment of relationship and everything lovely, leads us to a reality void of ourselves and full of his love and abundance.

Yet, I empathize.

I get it. I’m a pastor’s kid and I used to be steeped in religion. If I said all the right things, went to all the right stuff, and prayed enough I would somehow feel God’s love and be cherry for the rest of my life. I think this is the downfall of the Christian upbringing; we grow up with the head knowledge of following Jesus and, for many, carrying the cross of surrender and obedience never becomes a reality.

Inevitably, we are raised to believe that doing “a, b, c” will yield us “1, 2, 3”; in other words, our spiritual practices will equate into a beautiful relationship with the loving God. For some, this turns out to be a brilliant and wonderful result. For the majority, all life becomes is empty religion composed of burdensome rules and regulations.

For me, Christ found me in such a broken state produced by broken religion. I felt as if I had done all the right things, said all the right stuff, and prayed enough to be above average in spirituality. It wasn’t until Jesus’ love met me in such a unique and special way that my life changed; my boxes of religion were broken, my misconceptions of relationship were thrown out the window, and I found God to be anything, but rigid.

For those living in religion, I am saddened. Not because you are somehow tarnishing the name of God; I could not care less about that. I could not care less about the kind of reputation “you” are giving Christians; Christ is more than sufficient to take care of himself. I am saddened because living in religion is the most inconvenient and miserable place to be. I’m not just talking about the people living a double life; this is also for those of you who have not chosen to answer the call of discomfort and suffering outside of the boxes of comfort and religion that you’ve created for yourself. If it’s any consolation, I’ve lived both those kinds of lives…and it’s absolutely miserable. 

I don’t remember the last time someone called me out in this fashion and I immediately changed, but I do remember plenty of times where someone has called me out and it incurred deep and provoking to the point where it lead to personal reformation.

So maybe that’s what this is-a call out. Throw away your religion, friends.