"How's your life working for the people around you?"
This question was offered to me as a conversation starter and before I could belt out anything ridiculous, a couple of ladies ran across my mind.
This question came rather conveniently as I had just hung up the phone with not one, not two but three of my closest girlfriends. Please understand, I do not use the word, "girlfriends" lightly. If you were to ask me three years ago if I had a 'tribe' I would offer up my DNA results off Ancestry.com and say, "Yes, Choctaw." But this is not how the term is used this day in age.
"Tribe" is now being described for a group of friends who become more like family. This group of friends stick with one another through thick and thin, good times and in the bad. These people who come together as your 'tribe' confidently trust you and you in them.
I began learning about this new coined phrase, "Find Your Tribe" when I wrote about Denise, who took part in a divine friendship, in which, I was completely unaware of and one I did not know I needed.
When the question, how's my life working for the people around me came up, my mind instantly triggered to the ladies below.
Photography by: Alexanders Fine Portrait Design
On the left is Jenn and to my right, Coleen.
These were two of the three ladies I had just had long conversations with and I could not help but to ask myself, "I wonder how my life is working for them."
To be completely honest, our friendship is different from others. I embarrassingly researched social media's idea of what "friendship" is supposed to look like and unfortunately for social media, my friendships do not look like the ones portrayed.
Our friendships, one being between Jenn and I and the other, Coleen and myself. Jenn and Coleen get along, ask about one another when chatting with me but they have not had the chance to spark more than a day full of conversation.
But their friendships towards me, and vice versa is quite similar.
The three of us do not require the attention social media portrays on their accounts. We can go a week or two, even a month without speaking to one another and one of us will contact another and we pick up right where we left off. We purchase gifts for one another when we giggle down the Marshall's aisle and we tag one another on ridiculously funny inside jokes. Most importantly, we can pick up the phone, at any given time, on any given day and we know, without a shadow of a doubt the other will answer.
This was not a discussion we had with one another, it was not a pinky promise or part of a friendship contract.
It just is.
And for a split second when the question arose, I responded to myself, "I don't know if I'm being a good friend or not." This response was because I was thumbing through social media accounts looking at wine glasses raised, selfies of beautiful girls surrounded by balloons and confetti and all I could think about was Coleen and Jenn are probably in their jammies watching Netflix like I was.
In a moments notice, I let doubt set in. I saw with my earthly eyes what I 'thought' a friendship was supposed to look like. I began to ponder why my "girlfriends" (which was a much smaller group) were not blowing kisses at the camera with glitter on our faces.
Then Jesus came across my mind and reality set in.
If I remember correctly, Jesus had a tribe.
Jesus' writings about His tribe did not include happy hour, daily phone calls, and mandatory meet ups. His tribe wanted to be around because He LOVED them. No where does it say they were complaining about Jesus not taking selfies and having brunch. Instead, they came together and broke bread and gently spoke to one another with the little time they had. They LOVED one another. Jesus was THERE in time of need. Jesus was PRESENT when someone needed encouragement or a nice kick in the butt. Jesus LISTENED to their heartache and pain.
Jesus was a friend.
Our lives are being wrapped up in a rushed routine where instead, we should bask in the love each others gives, no matter when or where. It does not have to be every Friday after work, it has to be when one of you is not the best version of yourself and the other person helps you, encourages you, loves you through that difficult time.
Friendship is not about the cutest filter, the most number of likes or followers. Friendship is about LOVE. This love takes sacrifice and commitment. This sacrifice might come at midnight when everything comes crumbling down. This commitment might require you to move some things around. Being PRESENT for your friends is exactly what we should be doing.
Today, I encourage your tribe, girlfriends, whatever title you want to put on it, to put down your phones and be present at your next coffee date. And here is a biggie, do not take one, single photo (and know this is a HUGE deal coming from a photographer) while you are there.
Listen to one another, put down your calendar, spiral, and close your laptop. Even if you have to go somewhere new where it is quaint and there is not so much noise. Actively listen to what the other has to say.
Lastly, slow down. Enjoy your time with one another. Rejoice in the adventure. Make memories, not Instagram stories.
Our friendships are more valuable than you can ever imagine. This little group of friends which has turned into family was not designed by your hands. These friends who you now call family are a gift from God just as YOU are to them.
Today I encourage everyone to LOVE harder than you ever have before. Because one of these days, you too will need this love.
Photography by: Alexanders Fine Portrait Design
Thank you Father God for all my family and friends You have put in my life. You have done an amazing job placing each and every one of them in my path. It has been my honor and pleasure to continue to learn how to love like you. Lord God, I ask if that everyone who reads this is encouraged to be present and be love at all times. Even if we do not know what it looks like, I ask for your mercy and grace while You teach us. In Jesus' Name, Amen.