Hope's Journey - Choose Your Friends

This is another sort of list really but it might be a bit weird if someone ever found it written down so perhaps memorise it! I have learned to understand that there are different types of people in my life; those that drain me and those that fill me, people who bring something to my life and people that take something from me and also people who divide or multiply in my life. I understand that I can't always avoid people that drain me, my job is to love everyone and my desire is to love everyone just as Jesus does. Equally I understand that life is seasonal and friends that bring something during this season might need to take things from me in the next season. Those are balanced friendships which are give and take. But there are other people that can be very draining ALL the time and intentionally take ALL the time. Over the years I have learned to limit my time with draining people and I have also learned to seek out people that fill me. Eric and I have one friend in particular that we have known for five years now and he is totally is AMAZING! No matter what is happening in his life or ours he manages to fill us EVERY time we see him. He is so very positive and so just totally amazing. If ever we are having one of 'those days' we pop over to see him and leave full! Even when we go to his home to give we still end up leaving full. I only hope we are not on his draining people list ha ha! We have been through all sorts of good and bad times together but no matter what he has never drained us only ever filled us.
Even when he has gone through hard times and we had to support him we still never got drained. Friends like this are rare gems, if you have one or two of them hold on to them.

Proverbs 13:20
He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.

This verse says it all – if you choose wise friends you will become wise but if you choose foolish friends you will be destroyed! You can’t get any simpler than that can you? 

Cut Off Negative People

If you spend lots of time around negative people the chances are you will become negative too and quite possibly start to lead a negative life. Depression often stems from some sort of negativity and if you are struggling with depression at the moment please carefully observe the people that you are doing life with. You might find one or two people who are constantly negative and who suck the life out of you. Cut them off! Seriously don’t feel bad, you may be depressed because of them and there is only one way to find out if this is your root cause.

We had a couple in our congregation who were struggling with all sorts of things. Once we had got to know them and their friends a little better we quickly noticed the common denominator between them all. They were all unhealthy, negative, sensationalist people. We really loved this family so poured my heart and soul into loving them and trying to help them find their way to freedom and health. One of the first things we recommended, as you can probably guess, was to cut certain people out of their life. This was a huge thing to suggest as most of their friends had been in their life for fifteen to twenty years. However we still strongly urged that they drastically limited their time with them but preferably cut them off completely, even if only for a season so they could get strong as a family. For a short season of about six months they planted themselves firmly in our Church, they got involved in everything which left very little time for their unhealthy friends. The growth was fantastic and Eric and I were really pleased with how far they had come in such a short space of time. Even their children showed immense growth and health. 

Sadly they had one other thing that they struggled to let go of and that was sensationalism. It was all about the latest move of God and the latest signs and wonders and they quickly got bored with good old fashioned hard work in Church. Sensationalism was also the thread that kept them connected to their circle of negative friends. Much damaged was caused through this family bringing many unhealthy Christians into our Church and many new believers in the faith were damaged. There is a vast difference between a sinner involved in sin and a Christian choosing to stay in sin. We expect sinners to sin, they don’t know any better but we expect Christians to move forward and grow and when they choose not to the whole apple cart is upset. After nearly two years of trying to win this family to us and begging them to let go of their unhealthy influences we lost them. I am one hundred percent confident that if they had cut their unhealthy friends out of their life for a season and grew strong in the things of God they would be flourishing today and perhaps even their unhealthy friends would have seen such a change in them that they would have grown healthy too.

Ask your friends

Friends and family often see things that you might miss. If you already have a circle of friend that you can trust then ask them about what they think may be your root cause of depression. You might be surprised at what they say and you might find it really helpful. It is worth having a great circle of friends as you will find that they will be essential in your reaching your full potential. 

I will stop here but chapter 8 does continue, for full details about this book please go here.    

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous20.10.10

    This is all part of the ‘Tough Love’ theme.

    I’ve done this myself so I do know by experience how liberating it is to no longer be in touch with a severely negative person. I’d start a phone conversation and immediately be sucked in to the emotional support of my negative friend who expected me to join in their negativity. Nothing I could say would inspire or cheer them. I’d end the conversation totally drained and depressed. It took me years to do what I should have done much earlier. I started with no phone calls or visits. I got down to birthday cards and Christmas cards. Then two or three years ago I got it down to just a Christmas card. This year there will be no Christmas card .

    This is a person who rejected any mention of Jesus - would actually stop their ears and say ‘La la la la ‘ …. Till I stopped talking. I always have the option to pray for them of course …. But ‘cutting off’ the actual friendship was the right thing to do.
    It’s been a tremendous relief.