Not everyone deserves a seat at your table. Be selective in who is allowed to take up gobs of emotional, psychological and spiritual energy. Regardless of age, certain attitudes carried and choices made will be a result of the current company kept. There are varying degrees of civility. Some barely make it past acquaintance-not necessarily a bad thing. When true character is revealed early, rejoice!
Separate from ascertaining who has your best interest at heart, is the matter of establishing boundaries. While Jesus loved everyone, He did not entrust Himself to everyone. The kiss of betrayal came from someone He called friend, that kiss ultimately crucified our Savior.
Those closest, whom I allow to “sit at my table”, are those that want to see me reach my full potential in Christ, not have me buried under rocks of drama and toxicity. True friends will not try to keep you down to appease their own insecurities (This is also the benchmark of a good leader; one that wants nothing but success for those under them).
A positive of serving in the military was the installation of confidence. Confidence; not ego. Therefore, while serving twenty years ago, I understood I was not in competition with anyone, and I’m certainly not now. Neither are you. My only goal as a Christian, is when I meet the Lord face to face He says “Well done, good and faithful servant.” His opinion is the only one of eternal significance.
Experience has provided two important lessons. First, by keeping His kingdom agenda my top priority, things WILL get accomplished. Despite the haters. Despite the nay-sayers. My strength in life rests in the fact I belong to Jesus. He defines me, the world does not.
Secondly, I understand the gift of encouragement is a flowing river. We give and receive. Friends inspire and energize. Friends propel us forward in the right direction with the right word at the right time AND by their example. With God’s help, we pay that inspiration and encouragement forward into the universe.
For example, it’s been seven years since my last cigarette. Though I miss smoking, whenever I am tempted to buy a pack, I consider my friend Amanda who has been clean from meth almost 700 days. Amanda was addicted to meth for five years and is almost two years drug free! God is restoring her life and she is enjoying being a mom again to her kids, having her own place, and being a manager at a Subway restaurant. When the proper time comes, she will return to school and fulfill her dream of becoming a licensed beautician, and a talented one she is! If Amanda can kick meth, surely I can continue to abstain from smoking.
My dear friend Traycee has completed numerous marathons and she will be the first to tell you she has been “overweight her entire life.” Twenty shiny medals hang on her wall from the marathons she has completed since 2015. Her wall will be covered in “bling” sooner than she thinks. Two of her marathons were 10K races in which she was feeling less than motivated. Yet, in determined fashion she persevered and did not quit. In her words, “I came in dead last, but I crossed the line!” Three years from now, Traycee will turn 50, and will set out to complete a full marathon – 26.2 miles. When I am healthy enough to work out but feel a tad lazy, I think of Traycee busting her arse and getting it done. Pushing forward long after the feeling has left = commitment.
Commitment will yield results. Both Amanda and Traycee decided in some way to take their lives back. For both of them, a total lifestyle change was implemented to produce wanted results in line with the destiny God has for them. Wisely, they are selective with whom is in their circle. This week remember, only cats have nine lives. Be smart with the opportunities God gives you in this lifetime! We are not guaranteed tomorrow and we will give an account! Use your talents to make the world better, not worse! You don’t have to have a title to be a leader! Some have titles and are still clueless! Lead by example!
Thank you Amanda and Traycee for allowing me to share your stories. God is good! Always!