Celebrating with friends is definitely my jam now, but that took time. I was content with good food, music and a quiet evening at home-still am to some degree. Then it hit me how thankful I was to be alive and well. I had struggled with my health and had finally found answers. I also spent years holding in anger and fear regarding the sudden deaths of two of my first cousins, Tyra (1998 pulmonary embolism), who for me, as my mother's only child felt more like a sister, and Tnai (2004 brain aneurysm) these two women lit up every room they entered. I also lost one of my best friends, Tammy (she lived with us in high school) in a fatal car accident (2009). One thing I was so thankful for when each of them passed was that there was no unsaid anger or unsaid love between us. We had engaged in the conversations we needed to engage in-that was a gift! After silently struggling, I slowly began to heal and look at life through a new lens. I considered the many things I was grateful for! One of the items high up on my grateful list was the wonderful women God has given me to do life with: my squad, homegirls, sister-friends, my crew!
Over the years I've had some great friends and Lord knows I try to be a good friend! After years of friendship, 3 things I know to be true...well four, okay there's more but I'm sharing 4!
1. God created us to be in relationship with one another
2. We show up differently in life therefore friendships when we are content with our God-given gifts and purposes.
3. Just because it's good doesn't mean it will last forever!
4. In many cases we don't need more friends we need a deeper level of intimacy with the friends we have.
Fearless Friendships for me require some key ingredients: consistency, positivity and vulnerability! Your girl can't do relationships with inconsistent, negative, shallow people! I wasn't always able to put words to it but those key ingredients are reasons that some of my relationships have deepened while others have stalled! Relationships also stall when only one person is willing to have a courageous conversation-which takes vulnerability! I've noticed, especially since I've gotten older that I am willing to have difficult conversations with those I love in hopes of moving to a deeper level of vulnerability and intimacy. Experience has taught me that just because I am ready, I can't make someone else show consistency, positivity, vulnerability or engage in an uncomfortable conversation. What I can do is give them grace as they may be fighting a silent battle and model positive behavior-ultimately though, I can only control my actions and my responses! It takes courage and discipline to have a respectful, difficult conversation with the individual you're having difficulty with. Unfortunately, some people choose for whatever reason to talk to any and everybody but the source. But as Tabitha would say, that's they business!
If fearless friendships are our desire, I believe we must cultivate safe spaces so we can share fears, hopes, wins and losses with one another. There is something so beautifully freeing about being in relationship with people who celebrate you and safely allow you to expose your true emotions and vice versa. I believe we must allow our closest friends to not only celebrate our successes but also stand with us through the challenges of life. Allowing people to walk with us through all of the seasons of life isn't always easy but if we are to develop intimacy in our friendships we've got to bring it all to the table! To be honest, I haven't always been good at sharing my life (good, bad, or ugly), even with close friends but after having some wonderful women model that behavior for me, I now celebrate having a few trusted people in my life to help navigate the difficult seasons as well as celebrate the beautiful ones! Many of us desire to be seen & known deeply in friendships but we can only truly be seen and known if we share ourselves authentically!
Every friendship won't' last forever, but there are gifts even in loss if we choose to see them. During the journey of friendship, it's inevitable that you will have your feelings hurt and you too will hurt feelings along the way. Vulnerability provides the space to talk through hurts and move forward together! Many times people's behaviors are not about you therefore we must learn not to personalize things that aren't personal. Friendships can shift when a friend has a health crisis, baby, loses a loved one, gets married, divorced or is dealing with economic, marital or job stress. These are some of the times that we need to remember to extend grace and forgiveness to people whether they ask for it or not. Some friends can articulate that they are struggling others might not! You have to ask yourself if you want to carry offense or lose a friend?
Some things I like to ask and say to friends to help cultivate vulnerability are:
How can I be praying for you?/I am struggling with____________can you pray for me?
How can I support you?/I would really love your support with_____.
Tell me something good that has happened to you or something you are struggling with.
Can I share a recent win with you?
Thank you for being my friend. I love you and appreciate your friendship!
I have had the privilege of participating in, witnessing and therefore fully believe that fierce women celebrate each other both privately and publicly! I have learned to be wary of "friends" that don't celebrate you or only celebrate you privately! I believe that one reason some people are unable to celebrate you publicly is because of the way they've spoken about you privately. Understanding that we are in competition with no one except the shrinking or undisciplined version of ourselves is imperative. God has specific purposes and gifts for each of us. I believe when we uncover and embrace our own greatness we understand that we were meant to be great individually AND collectively! This realization helps us to show up, shine and unreservedly cheer for, spotlight and support our friends: dropping off dinner, supporting their businesses, liking/sharing their posts, showing up at events whatever makes sense! Our goal in friendships should be to provoke and pull out the greatness in one another and be there when they fall to help them get back up and continue to shine.
Jump to my Insta Gram stories to hear the Fearless Friendship declaration!
My prayer for you: Dear Lord I thank you for the sister that is reading this post right now. If she has fearless friendships I pray that you would protect them and cause them to grow to deeper levels of fun, truth and love. Help her to celebrate those fearless friends as they journey through life together. If there is a friend she needs to extend grace, forgiveness or have a difficult conversation with, I pray that you would give her the strength to do so. For the lady that might read this post and friendships have been difficult for her, I ask you to heal any past hurts and thank you for making all things new! I pray that you would help her to plant friendship seeds and reap what she has sewn. I ask you to put good women in her pathway- women that she can be vulnerable with and women willing to be vulnerable with her! Give her the sweet gift of true fearless friendships and may she share that gift freely in my very best friend's (Jesus') name, amen!
Fearless Friendships arise so we can grow & glow together,
What are some of the qualities you bring to friendship and look for in friends?
Is there someone that is your friend in your head only or you simply want to know better?
I dare you to reach out and see if you can do a virtual chat and chew or something and begin the process of knowing one another!