Why my friends frustrate me, annoy me and get under my skin … (or …how I’m growing thanks to my friends)
Isn’t it funny how you make friends?
There seems to be no real rhyme or reason to it.
Some are like you… some are not…
Some are for a short time in your life… some are for life.
There is no real scientific equation that can be proven that if you followed it would guarantee that you will have a true friend for life… sure there are always words and phrases that people use when they talk about friends… Loyal… trusting… support you… are there for you… have got your back… Are always there for you… etc.
And when I look at my closest friends a lot of these phrases are true, but there is something that surprised me as I looked closer at my friends… it was the things that I admired about my friends… it was the things that frustrated me about my friends… and the things that made me stronger because of them.
If I was to describe myself I would use phrases like:
- Big Picture
- Breaks rules
- Likes to play/have fun
- Takes risks
- Talks a lot
- Vision focused
It starts to paint a picture of someone who is creative and always on the go…
My brain is usually pretty full of new an creative ways to do things for people, express myself and communicate.
However it also paints a picture of someone who maybe isn’t as grounded all the time as I maybe can be.
So I sat down and looked at my closest friends… and it was actually amazing to see how the people I valued the most were people who were almost the exact opposite to me.
My closest friends were:
- Reduces risks
- Goals and objective focused
And I wondered why I kept getting frustrated by them on one hand… and drawn closer to them with the other.
And when you look at the two lists it doesn’t take much to notice it’s because we go about the same tasks in a totally different way...
We look at things differently…
We fulfill different parts of the same vision or job.
Where I would be used to come up with an idea… I’m not the best person to follow through with the idea, that’s where people like my friends excel…
While I think about things in big picture form… my friends are all about the detail.
While I am being emotional about the people… my friends are looking at the facts
It’s frustrating sometimes because they will sometimes tell me something and I’ll be like “Darn they’re right… AGAIN”
But there is this real sense of Iron sharpening iron… my closest friends have free reign (within reason) to tell me the true as they see it… they can pull me up on things that they think I may be lacking or neglecting… they can be truthful even when they know it may be something I may not want to hear.
But here is the thing… I trust them so much that they have permission to talk into my life… and as a result I have learnt so much from the closest of my friends
I said to one friend not that long ago how much I admired them and the things that they have shown me… but I was surprised when they said to me how they had learnt from me the art of “looking to the left and the right when moving forward…” and it made me think… “Yes this is what about true friendship is about”
There is a verse in the Bible that is often used at weddings:
“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
Ecclesiastes 4:12 (New Living Translation)
You see it seems to me that we are to join with other to help minimise our weaknesses… and maximise our strengths.
If I was with someone who was to much the same as me… I wouldn’t grown anywhere near as much and I certainly wouldn’t have someone with me who helps me where I am weak.
Or to use the famous quote from Jerry Maguire “You complete me”
Because if you look at my two lists above… my closest friends literally complete me!
We’re two sides of the same coin.
It’s been starting to frustrate me how people talk about faith as something that ‘just happens’ but the more I read the Bible the more I discover that God often requires us to step out first… and at THAT point God comes and takes over.
Faith is a VERB… a DOING word.
I’ve heard it said “If God wants it to happen it will” and while that is true, it seems that we still have to do something to prepare.
It seems to me that God has placed dreams in our hearts for a reason… and it may be days, weeks, months, years before we see the fruit of that dream… but it must be in our heart for a reason.
So what are you doing to prepare?
I read through the Bible and I see miracle after miracle where the person had to ‘step out’ first before the miracle happen…
A few examples are:
- The Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land and God commanded the priest to step into the river (Joshua 3:8) – it wasn’t until they had stepped into the river did the river part.
- Jesus asked the staff to fill the jugs with water and take them to the head manager of the house before the water turned into wine… not only did the staff know they were taking water to the head of the house but they knew it was from the place where the people got water used to clean their feet.
- Mark 16:20 says people went forth and preached everywhere… with signs following
- God told Joshua that he had given the City of Jericho to Joshua… however they still had to walk around the walls 7 times in faith before they saw the miracle happen.
It seems that the Bible is FULL of stories where God asks us to step out in faith first, and then the miracles happen.
We shouldn’t just pray about our dreams… we should act on it.
Act as if God is going to deliver on his promise.
Now let me give FULL disclosure!
- We don’t want to put God in a box and say “This is the only way that God works miracles” because our God is certainly bigger than anything we could ever believe or imagine.
- This is NOT some “name it and claim it” scheme. You see it HAS to be in the will of God.
- It’s not about getting God to give us what WE want.
- It’s not about working hard to prove anything to God, in exchange for a miracle
So don’t just pray… because if our prayer isn’t accompanied by acting then there is a good chance we won’t go anywhere. It’s about putting feet to our faith or put another way:
“After kneeling down, we need to stand up and step out in faith” – Mark Batterson
I like that…
I once heard Pastor Francis Chan use the analogy of cleaning your room. He says:
“When my daughter comes to me and I say to her “Go clean your room” she knows better than to come back and say
“Hey Dad I went away and memorized everything you said… you said to me ‘Go clean your room’ ” …
She’s also not going to come back and say “I remembered what you said and I can tell you now that I can say ‘Go clean your room… in GREEK’
Or “We’re going to get our friends together every week and we’re going to study what it might look like if I was to clean my room.”
It doesn’t work does it?We have to at some point we have to step out…
Do you believe that God has planted that dream in your heart… do you know in your knower, that this dream is from God?
Then after you pray… Stand up… and step out in faith.
Today we celebrate Mothers day.
Now it has to be said Mothers have one of the hardest jobs that you can have… not only do they have to carry the baby inside them for 9 month (while it takes first pick of all the nutrients etc…), they then have to give birth to him/her, and from that point on they are assigned to a full time job with no weekends EVER… In fact there is as saying that says
“Yay it’s Friday, the weekend is finally here… oh wait… that’s right I’m a MOTHER”
Isn’t that true… and lets be fair how many Mothers still had to make their own dinner and tidy their houses for their family today? (guys you really need to step up!)
As much as I think days like Valentines day have been “Hallmarked” to sell as many cards as possible… Mothers day is one I will happily buy into.
However there is a trend in our society that is getting darker and stronger… and I wonder how good it is for our society as a whole.
Women are now choosing to their job over their children… in other words they are choosing to let someone else raise their child.
Now I understand that in some cases a mum going back to work is a necessary thing… Mortgages, rising bills costs etc… and then all of a sudden you get pregnant… It’s hard…I understand this.
What my issue is that women are so intent on being shoulder to shoulder with men in society that they are BECOMING like men, and that’s not a good thing.
It used to be that the Mother stayed home and raised the child… taught it the values that the family had and gave the children boundaries that they used as building blocks in life.
The Father went to work and brought home enough money to keep the family clothed and feed and pushed them to excel and stand up for themselves… however in today’s society there is such a sense of entitlement that all this has been left in the gutter.
Today parents want the new house, the new car, they want to use the degree that they spent time and money working on… but you see once you start to look at it like this you start to notice… it’s about ME.
I want a new car…
I want a new house…
I want a holiday…
(and sure you can come up with 50 reasons to justify your decision but the reality is still the same isn’t it???)
The role of a Mother is far to valuable to throw away as a part time job…
A Mother is the hub of a family group.
With the trend to work instead of home… what ends up happening is the Mother always loses.
She may work hard and get all the way to the top of her field… but when you talk to a lot of these people they will tell you about the sense of guilt they had letting someone else raise their kid…
Someone who doesn’t have the same values… someone who doesn’t have the same beliefs… and a lot of what they end up doing is buying things with the kids in mind, taking them places, buying them things, filling the weekend with the things they couldn’t do in the week to make up for the time they didn’t spend with their children…
When all the child wants… is time with their Mama!
You see they are cheating on their child… running away with work.
We’re all cheating time from someone… who are you stealing your time from?
And then on the other hand…
You have the Mother at home… working hard to raise their child, not having the same amount of money, meaning they have forfeited the new house, they have passed by the new car, they have to wait for that holiday. They are helping give their child the tools they need to live as a valuable member of society as a member of their family group.
However… they still feel like a loser, they’re guilty because they can’t support the family (especially if they’re living on a lower income), they are aware they’re letting their degrees and study go to waste as they spend time up to their waste in nappies and snacks and laundry.
Around this time of year I’m reminded of the famous story of a nun who worked in a men’s prison.
One day, she said, a prisoner asked her to buy him a Mother’s Day card for his mother. She did, and the word traveled like wildfire around the prison. Deluged with requests, she called Hallmark Cards, who obliged with huge boxes of Mother’s Day cards as a donation. The warden arranged for each inmate to draw a number, and they lined up through the cell blocks to get their cards.
Weeks later, the nun was looking ahead on her calendar, and decided to call Hallmark again and ask for as many Father’s Day cards, in order to avoid another rush. As Father’s Day approached, the warden announced free cards were again available at the chapel. To the nun’s surprise, not a single prisoner ever asked her for a Father’s Day card.
Fathers who are not an active part of their families often leave a child wounded by absence–emotional as well as physical.
And it’s harder to recognize than others. However what often happens is it leaves women who may feel the need for physical intimacy that they have never felt from a guy before… women who have never known what a love from a guy should look like… If you have a look in society you will find that this is leading to so many unplanned pregnancy’s.
Or guys who have never been taught how to treat the opposite sex so a young boy thinks that being a man means the need for fast sex, to drink large amounts of alcohol, which then often leads to isolation and sometimes violence. No wonder our prisons are bulging.
Yet the scary thing is that even the average, law-abiding man today hasn’t had a father who said, “You’re my son and I love you,” or who helped him discover his unique talents and abilities. It would be too easy for a young boy to mis-focus his muscles, intelligence and energies destructively instead of creatively.
Yet this is often what Women are wanting for their children… wanting for themselves.
They are wanting to be more like men…
They want to run away and leave their families to be brought up by someone else…
But here’s the thing.
It’s the women who are actually holding our communities together…
It’s just that the society has chosen things like Money and Jobs and Degrees and success to be the measurements of what it means to be a good person… and ‘just being a mum’ falls way down the list and way of societies radar.
If you want to REALLY succeed in society being a great mum is the best thing you could do… both for your child… and your wider community
Mothers I tip my hat to you.
You have the hardest job in the world… it’s often the least rewarding… but I have a sense that if this was removed from our society (as we are already seeing) it all starts to fall apart.
Don’t give up on becoming a great mum …
It’s all about context.
There seems to be so many mega churches putting out albums full of generic worship songs that talk about Gods grace and goodness but miss the heart of it all… sometimes it just seems like they are just putting words to paper, and do ‘Worship by numbers’ – now please hear me I’m not saying that these songs aren’t authentic or can’t be used… I just sometimes think they lose their organic-ness due to deadlines etc.
And so it’s refreshing when you hear an album like Malcolm Gordon’s ‘Into the Deep’
You find yourself being drawn into the worship. It’s not about lights… it’s not about performance it’s about turning your eyes upwards… and it’s so natural.
Malcolm is a Presbyterian Minister, serving as the music director at St Peters in Tauranga in New Zealand… and the easy going nature that New Zealanders are renown for certainly shows in his music.
I love how Malcolm’s music is constantly routed not only in the Bible but also church tradition… a constant step forward while being rooted in the past. The Song Christ Before Me was inspired by ‘St Patrick’s Breastplate’ an old hymn that is thought to have been originally written in the 8th Century. Most of the songs have this foundation of scripture first which could seem quite heavy although Malcolm treats the scripture with respect and beauty and the result is a beautifully flowing album with real kiwi tinge and a large helping of Celt.
The album takes you on a journey as you start with ‘Waiting For the Dawn’ a real sense of expectations as you find yourself singing ”Yes I am longing, For Jesus to come”… and then you are gently lead throughout the scriptures.
In fact being lead would be a really good way to describe how this album takes you to a place where you find yourself in worship, and it’s done so naturally you don’t have to think about it, the worship is something that just flows from where the music leads.
The real highlight of the album is when you hit the acapella filled song ‘How Long Lord’ based on Psalm 13 sung as a Celtic tinged round… it’s melodic, it’s soothing and it’s the perfect time on the album to change the feel of the album.
Although this album is beautiful as a whole it’s each song that really feel like they have been individually hand crafted that really bring it together.
This is a beautiful inspired album.
I’m an extrovert… a ‘people person’… I love being around people, in fact I’m actually energised by people.
If I don’t get a chance to really communicate with people… if I don’t get the chance to connect with people… If I don’t get the chance to relate with people, I actually start to find my energy levels drop.
I’m the kind of person who loves the chatter, the sounds of talking… I like music in the background… I really love the buzz of it all… it really picks me up… it really gets me going – I love the sound of a positive working environment.
Now I know for some people, a noisy work place would frustrate them… but for me it’s the opposite, I love the hubbub.
So when today I found myself separated from my team I found myself slowly fading… I got grumpy… I got tired… worse of all I got quiet, which for someone like me who is a natural talker starts to get people worried… I felt isolated.
Here’s the crazy thing… I was moved to my position because a manager wanted me to not get distracted (which is fair I can be distracted easily) however they didn’t understand how energy levels of an extrovert can be determined by the people around them. You see it was fair for my manager to want to make sure I didn’t get to distracted, as a creative, people oriented person like me can be easily distracted… however is it really for the best?
So what can a manager (or any team leader) do with an extrovert that gets distracted easily?
What they shouldn’t do is put the person in a place where they feel isolated.
I can understand the urge to want to separate them from a group, however quite often you find that the person is more productive in a place that is right in the middle of the business, they are more creative, their mind is engaged and they seem to find their natural rhythm.
What you should do however is put them around people who are organised… putting two people who are easily distracted together is a recipe for disaster… however putting them in a place where they can distract when it’s quiet (and help keep the communication of a team together) but when it’s busy and time to get back to business, the people around them are focused and force the extrovert to do likewise.
You don’t need to do much to keep energy levels up… fun emails, just checking up on them… talking to them… keeping them in the middle of the buzz… and you will have a productive extrovert.
You see for someone like me… an extrovert… I don’t even need to be talking… just listening… just hearing the fun environment energizes me.
So please, leaders of teams… don’t be tempted to segregate an extrovert, but manage them by surrounding them with people who can keep them grounded. It actually does two things… it grounds the extrovert but quite often can pick up the vibe of a team in a positive way.
Have fun managing your extroverts.
I live in New Zealand, it’s a small place in the bottom of the pacific that is a melting pot of great music.
One of the things that works the best with the pacific musical blend is Dub and Reggae vibes, with bands like The Black Seeds, Tiki Taane, Salmonella Dub and Fat Freddys Drop pushing the boundaries. So its fair to say I know what great reggae, dub and roots sound like.
So I was excited when I heard the vibes around the group Tasman Jude, a reggae based group made up of Bravehart (from Trinidad & Tobago) & Al Peterson (From Canada) an unusual combination on paper if you look at just the countries of origin you would have to admit – however what I heard was something fresh, and I liked it.
‘El Norteno’ starts off with an acoustic reggae based groove that reminded me of Jack Johnson, until the vocal came in with a Matisyahu type of flow and sets the rest of the album up with the track ‘Fountains’… it was great to hear people taking reggae back to it’s roots more.
I loved seeing pictures of Bob Marley early in his recording career with an acoustic guitar surround by his band all circled around one mic. That to me symbolizes the essence of great reggae music.
Our radio-waves are filled with over produced reggae with hundreds of dubbed over tracks and beats and while they might be what people are calling for it takes away the innocence that reggae resembles… rebels with peace and love and truth in their voices with the promise of a new revolution based on these things.
‘El Norteno’ is filled with this vibe. Tasman Jude are cutting across the grain to give you something that others aren’t giving you… reggae with heart.
‘Take You Away’ is the perfect example of great acoustic grooves with a reggae vibe that Tasman Jude lay before you… it’s the way Canada and Trinidad & Tobago work together… great catchy melody’s and sunny island attitude that’s relaxed and feelin’ great.
It’s the essence of this combination that makes Tasman Jude’s sound work so well.
The track ‘Whoa’ is certainly the standout track on this album, and starts to push Tasman Jude’s sound to a place that becomes a bit more raw, and gives a really good example of how the band would sound live. It almost brings some harder elements into the sound reminiscent of groups like Sublime.
An album with more tracks would hopefully highlight some more of these sounds, as it’s a fine balance with Tasman Jude’s type of sound between too much of the same and trying to fit too much in which can make the sound seem cluttered.
I love how this album is raw, not over produced and highlights the basics of what this group represents, great melody, a fresh relaxed vibe and clean sounds.
This is the best of what acoustic sounds are on the radio at the moment…
Its great to hear bands not just bragging about going back to their roots… but actually doing it.
So I’ve been thinking about how do I show, my friends, my family my loved ones I love them…
And also how do the people I love show how they love me?
I posted the question on Facebook and got a few different kinds of answer from Gifts to kisses, from doing things for me to neck rubs, spending time together and even telling me “I love you”…
There are even websites dedicated to it… one of my favourites is http://www.5lovelanguages.com a great way to find out what way you like to be shown love (there’s a simple 3 minute test that is really handy to have done).
For the record they way I like to be shown I’m loved is in this order:
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
In fact it’s often a combination of the top three for me that really get me going.
I like to be told I’m doing well, that I’m loved, that I’m appreciated… communication is BIG for me.
However I also love being able just to ‘hang’ with my loved ones, just to talk… just to be there with them just laughing goofing around, we can even sit in silence and I would be happy with that, in the knowledge that my friend is spending their quality time with me.
And finally I love people giving me stuff but here’s the thing… it could be a piece of string or a pebble or a leaf… it really could be anything as long as someone has put the time into thinking why they have given me this gift.
And so from the above list I would usually show I love people in the same way… the way that I love to be loved.
That can be hard because, well we’re simply not the same… we’re different. The way YOU show you love someone isn’t the same way that I show I love someone.
It’s handy knowing what someones ‘love language’ is, and when you know what spins their wheels it makes things a lot easier… If I like to be told “I appreciate you …” but my loved ones like me to give the hugs, then it’s really easy for me to say to them… “I tell you I appreciate you all the time”
To which they reply… “yes but you never SHOW me you love me!!!”
So if you don’t know what someones love language is where do you start?
The answer is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Now you see this verse a lot in weddings… but it’s actually a really good view on relationships in general.
Love is patient… it means there’s no hurry “One Day …” I’ll wait for you…
Love is Kind… why be mean or nasty or talk behind backs, what does that achieve?
Love is not jealous… I’m going to support them in the time they spend with other people
Love NEVER gives up… it’s seems so easy just to throw in the towel sometimes, however sometimes we just need to work through things.
Love never loses faith…
Is always hopeful… even when things look far from it
You see it’s not just about marriage… or just about our friends… it’s about relationship.
In fact Jesus made it even MORE clearer than that.
He said this:
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. – John 13:34-35
So I guess at the end of the day our job is to LOVE one another…
The Bible even says “Love your enemies”
Sometimes there are books that come to you at EXACTLY the right time… you read them and large parts of the book seem to resonate with you.
For me one of those books was ‘The Ragamuffin Gospel’ by Brennan Manning.
I grew up in a Christian family and I knew about Gods grace however I never really ‘got’ it… I knew the theory of it, I just don’t think I fully understood it.
It wasn’t until I was probably in one of my lowest places spiritually and mentally that this book was placed into my lap and for the first time I think the switch clicked for me… for the first time I had a glimpse… a look into the fact that God gives his grace no matter what we have done or how bad we are now… or how screwed up we feel… God’s grace is enough to cover ALL of that.
He loves me… ME!
Even when I know that I’ve screwed up… even when I’m in the middle of screwing up… ME… he loves me.
“Jesus spent a disproportionate time with the poor, the blind the lame the lepers, the hungry, the sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors, the persecuted, the captives, those possessed by unclean spirits, people who knew nothing about ‘the law’, the crowds, the little ones, the least, the last and the lost sheep of the house of Israel”
The book ‘The Ragamuffin Gospel’ changed the way I viewed God in a lot of ways…
Now I can’t say I agree with everything Brennan has to say, however I can honestly say that Ragamuffin Gospel gave me the direction I needed, the tools I needed and the breath of life into the Gospel that I needed, and it all happened just when I was getting tired of the same old Church routines.
And so… it’s sad to hear that Brennan passed away yesterday (12/04/2013)
Thank You God for allowing Brennan into our lives and I know through this book specifically he touched many many lives, not just mine.
One Day …
Two simple words but they seem to be so packed with meaning.
You may have heard them used in every day conversation:
Used to describe a sense of laziness “I’ll get round to it one day…” or “He’ll get round to it one day!”
Used to describe excitement for the future “One day we’ll be married…” or “One day we’ll have kids of our own”
Or of hope “One day I’ll get to Paris”
You see they’re just two words, but they’re packed full of so much meaning.
However when you say something like “One Day …” to a Christian and it seems to change EVERYTHING for them.
I posted a picture I made simply saying “One Day …” on it and posted it to my Facebook page.
Almost immediately someone replied underneath it “We will all be in heaven, praise The Lord!”
You see it seems to me it’s more than just a pipe dream “Oh well, one day…” it’s knowing that what God has placed on your heart he has placed it there for a reason. We need to hold on to those dreams that God has placed on our hearts… and pray over them… keep them in our thoughts… why?
Because by doing that it keeps us on our knees… it keeps us depending on God… because we know that without God we can’t make them happen.
Remember Joseph? You know the guy with the coat of many colours?
God gave him dreams that seems far fetched… dreams of his brothers bowing down in reverence to him.
I understand why his brothers were a bit jealous of him (especially as his father Jacob already made it clear that he was the favourite!)
The point is… God placed the dream in Josephs heart, there wasn’t anything that Joseph could do about it but have faith that God has given him that dream for that reason.
What you have to remember also is it wasn’t easy for Joseph… he was sold by his own brothers, he was made a slave, he was thrown in prison and waiting to die, before God started to unravel his plans. In the story of Joseph it talks about him having God’s favor upon him it’s even retold in Acts 7.
It sometimes seems that we’re going through a whole lot of pain and anguish for nothing… but Gods favor is upon us when he has placed a dream in our hearts that only he can fulfill.
That brings us back to “One Day …” it brings us back to having faith in God who has a plan far greater and grander than we could ever think of, and because of that it means that we have to stay humble and focused on God because we can’t do anything to make it come to pass apart from being obedient to him (the Author of Life).
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see – Hebrews 11:1
One Day …
One Day …
One Day …