The Mingle - Blog Post

Identity Crisis

Today, I kick off our new blog series on friendships, titled “The Mingle.” Laura actually came up with the title of this series while we were recording our podcast (coming soon to social apps near you). During the recording, I was sharing how Ben and I met on Christian Mingle. Afterwards, Laura said, “I know what our next blog series is going to be!”

Only here is the thing. Laura and I both agree that our husbands are our own best friends. Because that is the case, we will be dedicating an entire future blog series to marriage. So today, I begin this “Mingle” series by sharing past Megan’s perspective and experience with friendships.

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During my junior high and high school years, I was surrounded by incredibly intelligent ladies. Currently, one of my friends is at a prestigious medical school studying to become a neurosurgeon. Another friend is in a master’s program of engineering. In fact, a few of my friends became engineers. Another friend graduated from Stanford with a biology degree while playing collegiate volleyball.

This friend group developed in seventh grade, our first year of junior high. I honestly do not remember how we all came together. It started with a few of us sitting together at lunch. Eventually our little circle grew and grew.

But there was one rule, an unwritten rule. No boys allowed. We were a group of academia-driven, goal-oriented, pubescent ladies barely navigating the social dynamics of junior high. The last thing we needed were some distracting boys.

We seemed to like each other enough to stay friends in high school. Most of us were A-type personalities and excelled in school and sports. The same group of ten to fifteen ladies continued to gather for lunch daily. Our lunchtime conversations did not revolve around boy-talk or the hottest television drama. Instead, we compared answers on the latest test and complained how much AP homework we had.

Because it is easy to get lost in this type of crowd, it was hard to find an identity. I knew I was not the most intelligent. Heck, I was not even the most athletic. I was pretty average in comparison to my high school girl friends.

In those beautifully awkward years of junior high and slightly less awkward years of high school, I naturally created my own identity. I needed something to make me stand out in this crowd of intelligent, athletic, Ivy League bound ladies. So, because of my unique passion for nutrition and fitness, I took on the health nut identity.

During this time, I was slowly restricting foods from my diet. I would even add up calories on my way to class. As a result of my healthy food and exercise habits, my friends expressed admiration for my self-control.

In fact, this attention went beyond just my friends’ group. The (*gasp*) popular kids caught wind of this. But every conversation, whether with a friend or acquaintance, felt like an interrogation. “What foods do you eat? What foods do you not eat? Do you drink soda? Would you eat cake on your birthday?”

It felt that everything I ate in public was watched. It became so difficult to maintain this health nut identity. What started as a passion for nutrition and fitness morphed into a façade. I even remember reading that dark chocolate had health benefits. I so desperately wanted to eat some but knew I would lose my health nut identity. Yes, that seems a little dramatic. But, I was a high schooler. At the time, that was my logic. It was just easier not to eat the dark chocolate than watch everyone make a big deal of it.

Eventually, I wanted out. This identity was so fleeting. This health nut identity solely revolved around my ability to control my eating. I dreamed of moving somewhere where I could start fresh. I thought college was my chance. But choosing a college only an hour and a half from my hometown meant lots of familiar faces followed me there. This health nut identity did indeed follow me to college. It probably had something to do with me being a nutrition major, personal trainer, and group fitness instructor. I still always felt watched – watched by my roommates, watched by my friends, even watched by my fellow nutrition major peers.

I just wanted to be left alone. At this time, my struggle with bulimia was in full-swing. This should come as no surprise. Having spent junior high and high school with my meal plan on display, I naturally pendulum swung to eating in private. In secret, I would binge on all the “forbidden foods” then purge them away. I was depressed and wanted to be isolated. Bulimia became my best friend.

Bulimia, or any eating disorder for that matter, is a very jealous friend. It wanted to keep me isolated from other friends. Bulimia thrives in the dark of isolation but shrivels in the light of community. But even still, bulimia was that friend I wanted to hang out with after a long day of classes. Bulimia was that friend who helped me process emotion. Bulimia was the friend I would spend my weekends with. Eventually, I personally identified less and less with my health nut identity and took on the bulimic identity.

So, check the irony on this. Initially, the health nut identity served to make me stand out amongst my large group of friends. But, this morphed into a bulimic identity that isolated me from all my friends. Hence why I subtitled this blog post, “identity crisis.”

Notice, I used little “i” identity not Big “I” Identity. This was because I was searching for the wrong kind of identity. My hope was that discovering my little “i” identity would be enough to rest my young adult foundation on. But as we can see, that did not quit pan out. (Side note: I heard Joy on the Sheologians podcast use this contrast of little “i” versus Big “I” Identity – I must give credit where credit is due.)

I would describe little “i” identity as that which makes me, Megan. This includes my personality, my passions, my gifting, etc. There is nothing inherently wrong with discovering these traits about myself. But, this next part is key. When I rested all that I am on this health nut and bulimic identity, I fell flat on my face. Why? Because these identities were so fleeting. We even see in the span on eight years how I morphed from one to the other.

Which is why Big “I” Identity is the ultimate key. As I discovered this concept of “finding my Identity in Christ,” I found that He is never-changing, and He is everlasting. He is the constant in my crazy, chaotic life. He remains my Identity when I feel lost in a group of women. He is the best friend that bulimia never could be. He created me to find peace and rest in Him. And He created me for community, not isolation. He is my ultimate Identity so that I will never have another identity crisis.

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I am excited to continue this conversation in two weeks. In my “I Am” post for this friendship Mingle series, I will dive into this Identity concept further.

Now Go in God Knowing He is Enough for You!

With Love, Megan

Selfish

Friendships are hard no matter what age you are. However, I think they are the hardest when we are young. Kids do not have filters, we see this in their honesty which is a wonderful and yet sometimes a hard pill to swallow. Like when my sweet 4-year-old daughter asked me why I had cracks in my forehead when I smiled. Kids do not mean to be cruel they are just incredibly honest. However, even with training not all kids or adults for that matter learn how to treat others. Why? Because we are all innately selfish.

I myself struggled with having friends when I was young most of this came out of the fact that I had poor self-esteem and image issues from an early age. I was not great in school and always felt like I was the “dumb” kid. I also thought I was ugly and fat and figured everyone else thought that about me too. A few times I would have other kids who were better at school get frustrated with me when I couldn’t keep up when I was grouped with them. Other kids asked my stomach was so round when their stomachs were flat. Other kids made fun of my hand-me-down clothes. All of this fed my image as the “awkward, dumb, fat” kid that I saw in the mirror each morning.

I am not blaming those kids for my issues or even saying that they did those things on purpose. I just know that I found friendships difficult as a young child. As I got older my friendships did not get easier. Since I struggled in school my parents made the decision to start homeschooling me in late elementary school and I then added the label “home-schooled” to my persona.

I became the quintessential, awkward home-schooled kid, and struggled through middle school and high school. I found the place I had the most friends was at church, but as we got older, even most of these kids gave me a hard time. Why? Teenagers are also often cruel to their friends out of a need to feel better about themselves. This is out of their own selfish desire to have someone, anyone love them.

I want to pause quickly to say I, in fact, had some amazing friends in my life time and I am so thankful for them. In all honesty, though I could not see the value or just how wonderful they were because of my own issues. In turn, I was not a very good friend to them, because I was so self-involved.

I had one friend who was a constant in my life, her name is Ashley. As a matter of fact, she is still one of my closest friends. We have often equated our friendship to sisterhood. Our friendship started early in life. She was the crazy friend. The friend with whom I would run, rather gallop around the hallways of our church like a horse on our hands and knees. The friend who wore tiaras far into our teens, okay I did too. She friend didn’t care what other people thought about her, and she really didn’t care what other people thought about me. Therefore, she was the best friend I could have asked for. However, that does not mean I was a good friend to her.

I was incredibly self-absorbed. I was always worried about me. I was always comparing my weight to hers. I was constantly fighting for acceptance from her even though she had already freely given it to me. I was always comparing her other friends to me. I was jealous of her other friends, especially those at her school since she was not home-schooled. My insecurities could have easily ruined a life-long friendship and I truly believe that her kind heart and patience were the only things that kept her from walking away from me.

My self-absorption came out of my insecurities and eventually turned into a struggle with an eating disorder. At first, I didn’t have the physical aspects of the eating disorder only the mental. The constant worry of the number on the scale. The comparison of clothes on every person and mannequin. The obsession with my food, what I ate and how much. Eventually, I began to skip meals, shuffle food around on my plate and “share” meals with friends to lose weight. Before I knew it, I was anorexic, though I hid it well, even from myself.

So here I was a very self-absorbed teenager who desperate for friendship. However, there was an issue. I had to hide things from my friends. I would often eat a small snack before leaving my house, so I could tell my friends I already ate before we went out. I would also say I didn’t feel well or wasn’t hungry, so I wouldn’t have to eat. The truth is, nothing harms friendships more than a self-absorbed liar.

As you can imagine my self-absorption led to a lot of fights. These fights are one of the reasons that Ashley and I have equated our friendship to that of a relationship between sisters. Oh, could we fight. We would scream and yell and call each other names. Ashley didn’t know about my eating disorder at the time, but my selfishness fed into these fights. I can’t say Ashley was perfect, but I can say that her willingness to forgive saved our friendship. Truth be told we both had our own issues, and we were hormonal, emotional girls. However, when I look at our friendship I think of a friendship in the Bible, not because we exemplify this relationship but instead because I as a friend was so opposite, I was selfish.

Looking at the Story of Jonathan and David in the bible. Jonathan knew what it really meant to be a friend. Over and over again Jonathan saved David’s life. Over and over again Jonathan sacrificed his happiness, his safety and even his own relationship with his father to be a friend of David. Jonathan knew that David would become king, even though Jonathan should have been next in line for the throne since his father was the king. Instead of being angry with David, he defended him and loved him like himself, like he was a brother.

1 Samuel 18:3-4” And Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, because he loved him as he loved himself. Jonathan sealed the pact by taking off his robe and giving it to David, together with his tunic, sword, bow, and belt.”

You can read more about the relationship between David and Jonathan in 1 Samuel 18-20

Their unselfish relationship should be the example that we should model our friendships after. Jonathan could have easily said, I should be king, not David and have supported his father’s mission to kill David. Instead, he protected David and made a pact with him.

1 Samuel 20:42 At last Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn loyalty to each other in the Lord’s name. The Lord is the witness of a bond between us and our children forever.” Then David left, and Jonathan returned to the town.”

David honored this pact even after Jonathan died and he helped Jonathan’s family. I look at the friendship between them and realize what a stark contrast it is to the friendships of my youth. Why? Because by nature I am selfish. I fought so hard to get what I wanted versus recognizing that a friendship and all relationships should be about being selfless.

Selfishness leads to destruction, selfishness can even lead us to evil.

James 3:13-16 “If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.”

I was a selfish friend. So, what changed? During college and in the throes of the most severe part of my eating disorder, I had smarted off to a friend and said some harsh and nasty things. At the time I laughed it off and said I was just joking. A few days later another friend pulled me aside and asked me why I was so cruel to my friends. I became defensive, but she held her ground. She pointed out to me that it was not just my words, my actions to my friends were also selfish and if I wanted to keep my friends I should think about how I was treating them.

I was in counseling at the time and when I brought this up in one of my sessions my counselor told me to take the time to think about whether or not those things could be true. You know what I found? They were true. I was selfish, and it showed in all my relationships. I truly did not know what it meant to be a friend, so in my confession of this to my counselor she sent me back to the Bible to find what it meant to really be a friend and I found that to be a friend meant to love selflessly.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 “Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

These were the words that transformed my relationships. This transformation did not happen overnight, and I had a lot of repairs to make in my friendships and a lot of apologies to make. Not every relationship was reparable, but the ones that were ended up being much stronger. Are my friendships perfect now? No, far from it, but I do look at my friendships differently. My perspective has changed, and I have found myself looking to be a good friend versus having good friends.

Ashley was one of the first people to whom I confessed my eating disorder. Though I know that the fact I was anorexic hurt her, she reacted to me with love and selflessness. Even though she was not at the same college as me and we didn’t see each other often, Ashley was there for me and was willing to love me in spite of my lies and selfishness.

In our friendship, we have crossed a lot of hurtles and there have been times when she has leaned on me, as I have at times leaned on her. I am thankful for the Jonathan and David like friendship I have with Ashley.

Today I challenge you to evaluate your friendships, are you selfish or selfless? I also encourage you to read about David and Jonathan, they will encourage you to be a better friend.

Now Go in God Knowing He Is Enough for You

Love,

Laura

Looking Upward Not Inward

Before jumping into today’s blog post, I wanted to share something exciting! Laura and I launched The Enough Life Podcast on Monday. We are so excited for you to join The Enough Life conversation. For more information, please click here.

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In my last blog post, I shared how resting my whole identity on the health nut persona led to an identity crisis. I made the distinction between little “i” and Big “I” identity. Little “i” identity is what makes me, Megan. It includes my personality, my gifting, and my passions. Big “I” Identity is finding my Identity in Christ. This is the ultimate Identity that my little identity must rest on. So, in today’s blog post, I will expand on this Identity concept further while tying it into the topic of friendships.

As indicated in my previous blog post, the eating disorder was a very jealous friend. It kept me isolated and away from community. During my college years when I was spending every free moment with bulimia, I dreamed of a life where no one knew me. I dreamed of moving cross-country and being completely alone. For most, that thought would be terrifying. But for me, it was so intriguing. I love the idea of being isolated.

Turns out, I did move cross-country. But I did not end up isolated. I met my husband, Ben, on Christian Mingle (you can read about that story here or listen here). Ben was incredibly involved in church. He had already built up a great community that I stepped into when I moved to North Dakota. At first, I kept friendships at bay, as I had always done. I definitely was the talk of the small church. A girl from California moving to North Dakota was not the norm. Lots of women wanted to grab coffee, but I kept them away. This was my chance to be isolated. But thankfully, God had other plans. He knew community was essential for me to recover from the eating disorder. I slowly inched my way out of isolation during my time in North Dakota. Yet, I still constantly wrestled with my desire to remain isolated.

Even as we moved to Texas, the thought of rebuilding a community sounded exhausting. In fact, it was exhausting. As an introvert by nature, it takes much energy for me to make and maintain friends. I prefer to keep to myself. As introverts know, the more you remain introverted the harder it is to engage in social activities. So, my goal was to do something every day that got me out of my own head. Whether it was meeting someone for coffee, having a Skype date, or working on a blog post. I knew I needed to just think of someone else but me. This is where the whole concept of Identity started to click for me. To put it succinctly, finding my Identity in Christ is not about looking inward. Instead, finding my true Identity is about looking upward.

When we look inward, our pride and selfishness cloud our perspective. We, as women, either look down on ourselves or we think too much of ourselves. This perspective can change from a positive to negative personal outlook in a split second. Quite frankly, our little “i” identity is so fleeting and ever-changing. Because we, as sinful humans, attempt to find purpose in little “i” identity, it is no wonder we see the anxiety, depression, and isolation that is prevalent today. We were not created to find complete satisfaction in ourselves. Instead, we are to find our Identity in the One who is never-fleeting and never-changing.

James, in his letter, bluntly depicts this dichotomy of our sinful selfishness in contrast to the wisdom from above.

"Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." (James 3:13-18 ESV)

On one hand, we see that bitter jealousy and selfish ambition is earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. I cringed when I read the word demonic because it sounds a bit harsh. But James in this passage and in his letter does not hold back the truth. This path of jealousy and selfishness is not of God, it is the opposite, demonic. It only leads toward disorder and immorality. On the other hand, wisdom from above is characterized by purity, gentleness, mercy, fruitfulness, and sincerity. The latter sounds so much more appealing than the former. Looking inward only fuels our own jealousy and selfish ambition thus leading to earthly, unspiritual chaos. So, to carry out good works as Christ-followers requires us to do something different. Instead of relying on our own wisdom or looking to the world for guidance, we are to look upward, gathering our wisdom from above. God’s wisdom is full of promise and peace. Because God is always constant, His wisdom is always constant. He wants to provide us with His promised purity, gentleness, mercy, fruitfulness, and sincerity, if we only look up toward Him.

When we choose to look upward instead of inward, we became pleasant human beings to be around. When we are self-absorbed, we naturally isolate ourselves from friendships. Our jealousy toward other women and selfishness creates a barrier to building genuine relationships. Laura mentioned that she was jealous of her friends’ body type, clothing, and intelligence. I shared how my relationship with bulimia kept me in selfish bubble, isolated from community. When we are jealous and selfish, we look to friends to make us feel good about ourselves. We want them to fuel our positive outlook. But, let us instead find our satisfaction and wisdom from God. When we choose to find our Big “I” Identity in Him, we do not need jealousy and selfish ambition to get in the way of friendships. By finding complete satisfaction in the One who is always constant, we no longer need others to fuel our self-affirmations. Instead, we aim for them to experience His promises too. We want our friends to experience the spiritual instead of the unspiritual. We want them to experience peace instead of disorder. We want them to experience the angelic not the demonic.

The key to being a good friend is wisdom. The key to making and maintaining friendships is looking upward not inward. The key to genuine friendships is praying that they experience God’s promises just like you have.

As my identity morphed from the health nut persona to my true Identity, I became just Megan, a daughter of the infinitely wise God. The health nut persona was a fleeting identity that morphed into an eating disorder and wanted to isolate me. But, as I sought Godly wisdom, my Identity now rests in the everlasting, always constant God. And as a result, my friendships are not about me anymore.

I will leave you with a short prayer.

Lord, I desire this wisdom you promise. Please bestow on me wisdom that is pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. I do not want to be of this world, letting my jealousy and selfish ambition lead me down a dark path. Guide me in your wisdom so I may share it with other women. These women crave genuine, authentic friendships. So, teach me to be a vessel for honorable use that I might share the satisfaction and wisdom you promise. I love you.

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Laura and I laugh sometimes because God has a funny sense of humor. We have noticed when we write or speak on a topic, we are tested on it. For example, I had just finished typing up this blog post when Laura texted me. They had a major water leak at their house and were going to spend the whole afternoon/evening digging up their front yard. I responded with a quick “Sorry that’s a bummer, I’ll be praying for you.” Then, I walked away. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit smacked me upside the head. I soon texted Laura saying, “If you need an extra set of hands, Ben and I can help.” A few hours later, we were at their house with shovels. Thankfully the wisdom from above made me a better friend to my ministry partner. Left to my own volition, I would be blinded by my own selfishness. God is good. Ted and Laura even sent us home with a pizza!

Now Go in God Knowing He is Enough for You!

With Love, Megan

The Inner Circle

We have been talking about friendship over the last few weeks. Two weeks ago I shared about how in friendship I Was Selfish. We all need friends and want the best friends possible. I Am aware of this need and today will be focusing on how choosing who will influence us helps to shape our lives.

The other day I ran across a blog that I wrote in February of 2017. This blog post was entitled a Voice of Authority. In the post, I talked about who society gives authority to and how we need to be cautious about who we are allowing to influence our lives.

I still see this as true though I wish I had been a little more gracious in my words. However, the basis for this idea to me still has not changed. I often have the opportunity to mentor younger women. One of the things I tell them is, show me your friends and I will show you what you value. This statement is true in all of our lives.

Our friends do show us our values. This is why in mentoring sessions when a woman asks me how to grow in God and be a better influence I ask her to evaluate who is influencing her thoughts and decisions.

When we look at our lives we need to evaluate this often. Who is influencing you and why? Then the next question should be who should be influencing your life and why? Now the pseudo-spiritual answer, of course, is Jesus, the reality is though He should be at the forefront of our influence, there will always be other people that influence us. It is important that we choose wisely who influences us, in other words, who is in our inner circle.

Even Jesus had an inner circle. We can see this in scripture. Jesus had the crowd that followed Him. He had the Apostles who were around Him, they were his friends, they followed and carried His heart and mission. And then there were 3 disciples who were with Him alone during some special moments, Peter, James and John. Here are a couple of moments they were with Him. When he healed Jiarus’s daughter.

“Then Jesus stopped the crowd and wouldn’t let anyone go with him except Peter, James, and John (the brother of James).” Mark 5:37

Then again on the mount of transfiguration.

“Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus.” Matthew 17:1-3

Jesus had other friends, like Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. However, we do see that Jesus was a friend to all but was cautious about who was in His inner circle. We need to follow His example.

Does this mean we barricade ourselves from the world? No, we have been sent into this world as lights. Jesus didn’t barricade Himself. He did just the opposite and He told His disciples also to follow His example. We have been sent into this world to bear fruit and to show the lost hope. When he prayed over the apostles, before He ascended, He commissioned them for the world.

“I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.” John 17:14-19

My point is Jesus sent us into the world. We need to be a part of the world, even though we need to separate ourselves morally. We need to be friends to the world. We just need to be aware of who is influencing our decisions and actions.

There will be the crowd of friends around us, those who know us by name and can call on us in times of need. There should also be our circle of friends who we will trust and who will be good friends but may not have the power in our lives.

What do I mean by power in our lives? I mean there are friends who I have given permission to call me on the carpet. When I am being petty or mean, they know that they can call me on it and I will listen. They are the friends who I trust with the real me.

The friends that have that power in my life are the people that are in my inner circle. They know me, I mean really know me. They know the crazy, silly me because I am giddy when I am overly tired. They know me, the person who is very self-conscious and often unsure. They are the people who can see the emotion in my eyes, even when a smile is on my face. These are the people I trust. They are the people to whom I can confess my struggles and who will pray with me and correct me.

I need this inner circle because they make me better. These are the people I trust and have confidence in. I know that they want good things for me and also I for them. They have seen me at my worst and have loved me through it. They have seen me at my best and have cheered me on.

If I can tell you anything about friendship it would be this. Be aware of your influence and of those who are influencing you. Are you influencing others for righteousness? Are you allowing the right people and things to influence you? Be a friend to all, love others and show them, Christ. Yet be vigilant in who you are allowing to effect change in your life.

Choose your inner circle wisely.

Now Go in God Knowing That He is Enough for You

Love,

Laura

Picking Out My Outfits

I remember an odd conversation I had about five years ago with a pastor’s wife. Our conversation somehow took a tangent and we landed on the topic of choosing outfits. She proceeded to share with me that God helps pick out her outfit each morning. After asking why, her response was, “He is my best friend. I like to include Him in everything.” I kept my mouth quiet, but I wanted to say, “Hate to break it to you lady, but God has other things to do than help you pick out your outfit.” But, she was onto something. She treated God like her best friend, not like some distant, Father-figure. And now, at this stage in my life, I am that woman.

I like to spend a lot of time alone, but I do not necessarily feel lonely. During this alone time, it looks like I talk to myself a lot. It may be at home, in the car, or out while running errands. Sure, I might look crazy to the guy sitting next to me at a red light, but who cares. God is funny. He gets my sense of humor and can make me laugh. I ask God to help me choose the best bag of fruit at Costco. Sometimes, I forget why I walked into a room, so I ask God to remind me what I was supposed to do. When a San Antonio driver cuts me off and “not so Jesus-like” thoughts are running through my head, God reminds me that He loves them too. God also knows when I start getting into my controlling mode and pulls me back from it. I like to rehearse with God what I am going to say before walking into a conversation or a meeting. I share with God when I am sad, and He makes His peaceful presence known. When I am stewing on a thought, He guides me in processing it, then letting it go. He is my friend that does not tire of me. And now, He helps pick out my outfits.

From the start of this series, I already knew today’s blog post was going to be centered on Psalm 25:14. All this talk about Identity in my other two posts culminates here in having friendship with God.

“Friendship with God is reserved for those who reverence him. With them alone he shares the secrets of his promises.” Psalm 25:14 TLB

Oftentimes, we look at God as this distant, Father-figure. We, as Christians, know He is there and that He exists. But, do we think of Him as a friend? This life can be lonely. Oftentimes, we may be surrounded by people, acquaintances, and friends, yet still feel alone. Reading the Psalms, King David often sounded isolated and lonely. His writings reflect how desperately he desired friendship with God. In Psalm 25, David speaks as if friendship with God is something he continually strives for, not something he has achieved. Just like any friendship, being a friend of God is not a matter of checking the box. It takes time, nurture, and reverence.

David knew that friendship with God is a privilege. It is reserved for a specific type of people, those who revere Him. While I may have the whole “talking out loud with God” thing down, I still want more friendship with Him and I desire to experience Him more. Since I crave this, and I am guessing you do too, I did some of the legwork for both of us.

I like organization and formulas, so here is how I look at Psalm 25. Twelve verses leading up to Psalm 25:14 share how we may become God’s reverent people. (See Psalm 25:1-14 below for reference)

Trusting God = Faith (Psalm 25: 1-3)

Repenting of Sins and Choosing Obedience = Humility (Psalm 25: 6-7, 10-11)

Asking for Guidance = Right Path (Psalm 25: 4-5, 8-10, 12)

Faith + Humility + Right Path = Reverence

Why is this simple formula so significant? How can something as simple as three words lead us in becoming a reverent people? Because, each of these three words show how much we need God. Reverence is a way that God feels respected by His people. So, He asks that we do three things to show our dependence on Him: trust Him, repent of that which separates us from Him (sin), and choose His righteous path. When we do so, He has someone beautiful in store.

Reverence = Friendship with God (Psalm 25:14)

Being a friend, a good friend, is about being selfless. By laying down our pride, selfishness, and self-sufficiency, we may become a friend of God. Not only that, there is more in store for those who have friendship with God. Let us circle back to the verse we skipped over, Psalm 25:13.

Friendship with God = Circle of Blessing (Psalm 25:13)

“He shall live within God’s circle of blessing, and his children shall inherit the earth.” (Psalm 25:13)

Through faith, humility, and choosing the right path, we may ultimately live in friendship with God and in His circle of blessing. Not only that, but our future generations may experience this circle of blessing too. What a legacy you may leave by living out these three words!

We often hear, “I want more of God.” Instead, let us change the conversation to, “I want more friendship with God.” It brings the desire to a much more intimate level. We have a role to play in this friendship, it is not one-sided. But, God knows that we oftentimes fail to hold up our end of the deal. God ultimately honors when we invite Him into our crazy and chaotic lives. So, let us strive to be a reverent people, just as King David. Let us invite God in, so we may experience true friendship with Him. And guess what? It can be as simple as picking out your outfit together in the morning.

Prayer: Lord, I trust you and invite you into every nook and cranny of my life. I am humbled by my sins. Please extend your forgiveness, mercy, and loving-kindness to wash me clean. Show me the right path to walk in our ways. I choose to obey you and respect you. Lord, I revere you and desire true friendship with you. Please guide me in this friendship. My desire is that I and my future generations will experience Your blessings.

Now Go in God Knowing He is Enough for You!

With Love, Megan

Psalm 25:1-14 (TLB)

To you, O Lord, I pray. 2 Don’t fail me, Lord, for I am trusting you. Don’t let my enemies succeed. Don’t give them victory over me. 3 None of those who have faith in God will ever be disgraced for trusting him. But all who harm the innocent shall be defeated.

4 Show me the path where I should go, O Lord; point out the right road for me to walk. 5 Lead me; teach me; for you are the God who gives me salvation. I have no hope except in you. 6-7 Overlook my youthful sins, O Lord! Look at me instead through eyes of mercy and forgiveness, through eyes of everlasting love and kindness.

8 The Lord is good and glad to teach the proper path to all who go astray; 9 he will teach the ways that are right and best to those who humbly turn to him. 10 And when we obey him, every path he guides us on is fragrant with his loving-kindness and his truth.

11 But Lord, my sins! How many they are. Oh, pardon them for the honor of your name.

12 Where is the man who fears the Lord? God will teach him how to choose the best.

13 He shall live within God’s circle of blessing, and his children shall inherit the earth.

14 Friendship with God is reserved for those who reverence him. With them alone he shares the secrets of his promises.

YOLO – You Outta Love Others

Of course, YOLO really stands for You Only Live Once. I see this in our society and in worldly friendships. These words are incredibly selfish. They say I am only going to live once so I might as well live like nothing else matters. A common theme in The Mingle Blog Series has been selfishness.

The other running theme has been that God did not send us for our benefit but for the benefit of others. I shared this in the I Am portion of this series. “My point is Jesus sent us in to the world. We need to be a part of the world, even though we need to separate ourselves morally. We need to be friends to the world.” We see this in the great commission Jesus gave to His disciples.

“I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.” John 17:14-19

Today I want to talk about where God is guiding me as a friend. Knowing that He has sent me out into the world, I need to know what this means. As I have read the Bible and searched for ways to be a friend I found that Jesus set the example. That example is found as one word that is repeated over and over again. That word is Love.

“ For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NLT

“This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:12-13 NLT

“Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31 NLT

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” John 13:34 NLT

“We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” 1 John 4:19-20 NIV

As you can see, over and over the command is to love. Love one another. I mentioned in I Was that I struggled with friendships when I was young, but if I am honest I will admit I have always struggled with friendships. I have often felt alone, as though I didn’t have friends around me.

I have always had friends, but when I have moved or have started a new season of life I have found myself longing for someone to come along side me as a friend. I would often cry out to God and ask me why I didn’t have friends around me. Why did I so often feel alone?

One day in my quiet time I had written down that very question. When that small gentle voice nudged my heart. The words were; “I didn’t call you to have friends, I called you to be a friend.”

Ouch… that stung. I began to argue. “What God? I can’t have friends? I don’t get to have people I can rely on and be loved by?” Do you see the selfish refrain again? The me me me… the YOLO in my friendship mindset?

The thing is God didn’t say I couldn’t have friends, or that I had to be alone. Instead He said He had called me to be a friend. In my longing and search for companionship I had always made it about myself. It was my YOLO, my selfish desire for people to love me. God was giving me a new YOLO outlook. He was saying. You Outta Love Others… I know that isn’t correct English, but it goes with YOLO, otherwise it would be YOTLO (You Ought To Love Others)… and that just doesn’t work.

See God wants each and every one of us to have companionship with Him. He wants us to fulfill that desire for love and companionship through our relationship with Him.

On the other side of that coin He wants us to show others His love, and His compassion for them. “For God so loved the world...” “Greater love has no man than this…” “love each other in the same way I have loved you…” Jesus set the example of love.

Yes, His sacrifice for our lives was the greatest form of Love. The greatest expression of His love for us was His death on the cross. He wants us to show this kind of love as well. Now this doesn’t mean you have to go out and die for someone, but you must be willing to let go of yourself. Let go of your selfish desires for someone to love you and instead love them. “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Today YOLO stands for the life I want to live. The friend I want to be. The selfless person who will love others. The person who will sacrifice her desires and needs, for the desires and needs of others. I am not saying that I will do sinful or wrong things to be a friend. Instead I will do the selfless things. I will be Selfless… I started out as selfish, but through a life of submission of my will to God’s I will learn to seek to be the friend rather than to have friends.

Now Go In God Knowing that He is Enough For You

Oh Yeah and YOLO

With Love,

Laura