I used to have a circle of friends who met weekly, called Friday Girls. We were all in similar life stages, intimate, women who really did help each other out, share problems, share tears, laughter and whatever life threw at us. We encouraged each other to be the very best women, wives, mothers, friends etc that we could be.
However, with life and inevitable change, people move on from your life and eventually I found that my friends were more linear. I was friends with this person and friends with that person, but I didn’t have a circle of friends who sort of knew each other anymore.
Over time I realized that I was not really reaching my full potential as before, nor striving for it. I missed a group of peers who would encourage and assist each other in reaching our full potential. I missed feeling like part of a team working towards similar goals and our very best. I missed a circle of friends.
I realized that the difference was that a circle provides for more internal accountability than a series of linear relationships. If your friends don’t know each other, you (even without thinking about it) play up one side of yourself to this friend and a different side to someone else. One friend, for example, can be a confidant on spiritual issues; another can share recipes or some other pastime, but there are no spiritual points of intersection at all.
When your friends all know each other because they are in the same group, you are more likely to experience the tendency toward personal consistency that fellow believers refer to as discipleship. Your friends can compare notes to see if you are treating them all the same. They can decide whether you need advice or a “good talking to.” For them to all get along with each other, they are likely to agree on certain principles themselves. And this agreement will minimize your chances of being pulled in widely different directions.
Even Jesus developed circles of friendship. Peter, James and John were closest to Him, then the disciples and then other believers that followed and supported Him, referred to as the “seventy.” He also built relationships with people like Lazarus, Marthe and Mary; John the Baptist; Mary Magdalene.
Every person needs a circle of friends to help in reaching his or her full potential. For this, we need to apply the “law of sowing and harvesting” as described in Galatians 6:7, more commonly known as: We will reap what we sow.
Every believer needs to develop a few close friendships with people who will lovingly hold him or her accountable for keeping life focused, with integrity and appropriate balance. It is preferable that they know each other, but not necessary that they know everyone that is in your life.
In this way, you build a life of consistency, supported by accountability.
- Is it time to introduce your friends to each other?
- Are you part of a group that meets regularly and know each other?
Father, help me to build a friendship circle which develops greater integrity and consistency in my life. Help me to examine my friendships and how they are operating in my life, so that they bring out the best that You want for me.
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