Friends! The Ones We Can Depend On…

I have an analytical mind.

A gift and a curse, you know, because when I have a problem to focus on, I am one of the best people on earth to come to—if you want to solve the problem. I can lock in on the patterns around me and how to disrupt them, see the issue from multiple sides at once, and suss out the approach mostly likely to succeed. I can also show you why your plan won’t work—including that unproductive scourge of human error that derails 100% of the best laid plans. God gave me a gift that is a package deal: wisdom, knowledge, and discernment. I can see the whole picture and show you how to maneuver those things around. Sometimes, God lights up my mind and I can tell you exactly how a thing will be. And if it is a God thing, God will step in and tell me exactly what to say to stop you cold or move you forward—if you really want to solve the problem.

The kryptonite of my life is that my brain is an analytical beast who often likes to feast on itself, picking myself apart and trying to figure out what and why what happened to me or because of me or despite me. Where most folks need to up their thought process, my goal in life sometimes is to not think too much. Or, to not cannibalize myself when there’s nothing that requires me to think. No problem to solve. No issue to correct. Nothing to build. I am a walking embodiment of the old adage, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”

I have been told that I have issues.

And each time, I have been diagnosed with what my issues are on the spot. And when it is all over, I laugh—inside myself of course—because nobody knows my issues like I do. I spend goo-gobs of time wrestling down the mind that makes me who I am but that also makes me not like who I am. I am one who should not spend time in my own mind unattended. I need a partner to walk with me. A friend. An emotionally safe space to unload, a person who can pull me out.

This is a problem. Most people are not safe. Among those who have known me for a long time, there are only 3 to whom I’d pull back the curtain. I am now up to 6, these last ones God placed in my life in the last few years because I spent so much time alone. These are people who carry the weight of all that I am; in times of despair, I can plainly say that I am feeling a certain way and they listen. They comfort. They counsel. They correct. It is a small squad, but they are my emotional anchor when my mind is not fit to expose to anybody else. They don’t judge me but instead remain a point of reference and light so that I can get back to myself. I guard them jealously because they know me at my most vulnerable moments.

I used to think that there was something wrong with that—with me—for having so few people whom I considered my friend. But then I started to get to know Jesus. I read passed the miracles and the parables and noticed something really interesting—a pattern of behavior, if you will. Jesus travelled with 12 guys, those who were basically around for the long haul of his ministry. He was often surrounded by thousands of people who listened to His message. But when things got down to the wire, He only had 3 people He counted on: Peter, James, and John the Beloved. The beloved because when it got really real and Jesus was hanging on a cross exposed, in pain, and prolly ashamed (inside His very human self), John stood there with Him and His mama.

Who are the people with whom you share your psychic pain? Who stands with you when all hell has broken loose? Who anchors you in times of trouble? Who chooses to help you carry the weight of you and your cross? John followed Jesus all the way to the cross. Stood there and comforted Jesus’s mother and watched over his friend’s process. You know, like the scripture says, There is one who will stick closer than a brother. John was not Jesus’s brother, but he shole acted like one. And prolly better than some.

Not many people are fit for the fight of your life’s calling. And it is a fight. To live. To love. To take care of yourself. To be who God made you to be.

So I encourage you to choose wisely.

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