“REAL FRIENDS”

This morning, I woke up with two words on my mind. The first word is real. That word means genuine, factual, and authentic. When you have something that is real, you know it’s not a copy or something artificial. Real is something significant, because there are a lot of things that appear to be authentic, but are counterfeit. Have you ever purchased something at a retail store and hand them a large bill? They will take that bill, hold it up to the light, and also mark on it with a special pen. The reason why is because counterfeit money not only is common, but criminals have gotten very good at producing look a-likes. I’m sure you’ve heard the term, keep it real. That means, speak the truth, give me facts, and not some made-up story that has not been authenticated.

The second word on my mind is friends. What is a friend? The dictionary says it’s someone that you like a lot and share a strong bond of mutual affection. In my opinion, it’s someone that loves you at all times and is always there for you. They do not compete with you, but they are loyal through good times and bad. A friend doesn’t use your back like a dartboard, because you can trust them whether you’re with them or not. Honestly, I think it takes years of living to define friendship truly.

Put the two words together, and it’s “REAL FRIENDS.” I noticed this morning when I started searching for definitions of a friend; I saw not only the word friend but also, good friends, true friends, and best friends. What’s interesting to me, is the word friend in itself is so powerful, why would you need to put something in front of it? Can it not stand by itself? The problem with friendship is kind of like the same problem retailers have with money. There is so much counterfeit currency; you have to put it through a process to make sure it’s real. Yes, real, genuine, factual, and authentic.

After fifty years of living on this earth, I can assuredly tell anyone that you need real friends. You see, it takes a while to authenticate real relationships and filter out the fake. Seasonal friends will drain you. Counterfeit friends will steal your joy; fake friends can cause you to doubt the existence of a real one. Some will walk away from you at the first sign of a storm, while others might wait until the storm gets bad. No matter when they leave you, if they can walk away, then you only lost what you thought you had. You didn’t realize you were spending counterfeit money, and the light just revealed it.

I wish I had time to write more on this subject, but let me close by saying this. As you face real problems, you’re going to need real friends, or maybe just one real friend to get through it. Blessed are they who have real friends.

#FRIENDS

I had the privilege of ministering last week at an event where I got to spend time with some friends that I hadn’t seen in several years. I had such an awesome time as we reminisced over the last thirty something years of knowing one another. We don’t get to see each other a lot, but when we do, watch out, because there is going to be some fun and extreme laughing. Since we’ve known each other from our childhood, they tend to remember things about me that I just don’t believe is true and I let them know that…LOL!!! We laughed that we’ve gotten older and the guys have lost their hair, one of the girls had a knee brace on, while another one was moving slow from a sore back. The subject of hot flashes and mid-life came up as well…LOL!!! Wow, did we ever laugh at each other and the past.

You probably know exactly what I’m talking about. I’m sure you have friends that over time you may have drifted in distance, but are still very close in your hearts. When you get together it’s like you’ve picked up right where you left off. As you laugh and talk it makes you feel so good to have had the privilege of these people being in your life. If only you could stop time and make those moments last longer, it would be even better. Those conversations and the sound of laughter is the effects of true friendship. You laugh at each other, while at the same time, you are very proud of each one another’s accomplishments. That’s what friends do.

At the age of 46, I don’t have near as many friends as I thought I did. Oh I had a list several years ago, but somehow the ones that I considered friends, turned out to just be acquaintances along the way. I was talking about this with a person who has been my friend for many years and we began discussing what we feel is proof of real friendship. After we were through, we realized that true friends don’t have to work hard and be told what to do to keep their relationship, they just do it.

Here are some things that friends are and will do for each other.

Friends love unconditionally.
Friends are loyal…no questions asked.
Friends are willing to be inconvenienced to help each other.
Friends are present when times are the hardest.
Friends see you at your worst and continue to support you.
Friends refuse to talk negative about you to others.
Friends defend you even when you’re not present.
Friends remember special days.
Friends let you vent and do not judge you for it.
Friends allow you to have your own identity.
Friends are sensitive to your needs.
Friends recognize when you’re struggling and you didn’t even tell them.
Friends don’t get jealous of your successes, they rejoice in it and they promote you.
Friends give you the benefit of the doubt.
Friends don’t keep score.

Those are just a few things that friends do. I think one of the things that make true friendships go even deeper, is as you get older, you realize so many of your so-called friends have left you, but after the dust settles, you love the ones that stayed, even more. Why do you love them even more? Because they stayed around. They didn’t leave you and they don’t mind letting everyone know, they are your friend.

I won’t write the names of all the ones that are still my friends but after all we’ve gone through, they know who they are and I want them to know how much I love them. I want them to know that they are true friends and I will never forget their love and loyalty to me and my family.

I would encourage you to make a list of your true friends and make contact with them this week and let them know how much you love them. I would love for you to share this blog if this is how you feel about your friendship with them. I would also love to hear your opinions about what you consider to be characteristics of true friendship.

You don’t have to make them, force them or talk them into any of the things I wrote…
“THAT’S JUST WHAT FRIENDS DO”.