What is it about personal growth that tests your circle of friends?
I really wish someone would've told me my circle of friends would shrink and shift as I began to grow spiritually, and get engaged with my life. I don't know about you, but I appreciate having girlfriends. I need the laughs and random pep-talks, each one of them serves a purpose in my life.
You don't have to have a large circle of friends to get what I'm saying. I know every single one of my girlfriends help to contribute to my overall wellbeing. But, the hard truth is, with personal development and spiritual growth comes change.
It's inevitable. Do you know what I mean?
Is your circle of friends going through what I like to call, "a sifting process?" It can be shocking to lose those you considered friends, especially when your friendship ends badly.
After losing a couple of "good" friends, it took time for me to process, but I began to see overtime, the losses were actually wins. It wasn't that the "friends" lacked value in my eyes, but that God wanted me to see who and what to value most, and that's a healthy relationship with Him and myself, first.
God was helping me get my priorities in order, and disciplining me to embrace the importance of change. In my life, every friendship I've lost has been replaced with a new, purposeful connection, or a needed lesson.
God has a wonderful way of connecting the dots in our lives to people that will honor who we are, right where we are.
In the Book of Matthew, Jesus was mocked and rumored about because certain people from his hometown, in his old hood, couldn’t get past their thoughts about him as “just” a carpenter’s son. In their minds, a carpenter’s son wasn’t supposed to be a teacher, smart or confident in stature.
Their contention against Jesus was so overwhelming, they couldn't keep it to themselves, so they spoke out against him...
"Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?" they asked. Isn't this the carpenter's son? ...Where then did this man get all these things? And they took offense at him (13:54-57 NIV)."
Does this sound familiar to you? Those who watched you grow up on such and such street, some are still there, trying to box you into the older version of yourself. How about those you used to run with not being able to understand your gifts and talents, right now? It can be frustrating, right?
It can be difficult standing up for the new you in old circles.
The good news is you’re not alone. The bad news is you can’t change anyone’s limited view of you, only God can do that.
Jesus wasn’t the only one in the Bible who was talked about badly or cut off for going beyond what people projected. I'm confident, Mary was ostracized for giving birth to the "Holy Spirit's" child and Ruth was gossiped about for choosing to do life with her Mother-in-Law, over her own sister, Orpah.
Let's learn from Jesus.
When he was criticized by his old neighbors, he didn’t waste energy, resources or time trying to convince them that they were wrong and he was right. No endless stream of pictures on social media to prove to the world that he was an influencer or advancing in the Kingdom. Instead, he acknowledged their shortsightedness and then he bounced (Matthew 15:58).
He left his hometown and took his miracles with him.
The cool thing though is Jesus didn't reject the people. He rejected their lack of faith. I know this isn't easy, but when you are misjudged or scrutinized for being different, try not to reject the person, reject their lack of faith, --then bounce.
I know this might not be too comforting for you, especially if you're experiencing your circle of friends shrinking, and your girl's trips dying down and your phone calls drying up, but trust, you will experience more grief if you try to hold onto what God is trying to take away.
As you continue on your journey, God will send you your people, unexpected people. People you probably wouldn't choose on your own. A new circle of friends, to help you live life well and on purpose. How can I be so confident? Because, it happened for me, as is still happening.
Yes, I've gone through seasons of being separated, and times of loneliness, you may too, but God has a remarkable way of making up for what's lost (Joel 2:25). Trust Him.
Are you experiencing a shift with your circle of friends? Don't know how to handle it? Comment below, let's see if I can help.
Tiffany Wilson aka @tiffytalks
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[Published via Original Website February 3, 2014. Inspired by @justkeena, Pretty Girls Praise God Philadelphia event. Edited, July 4, 2018]