Life is Better with Friends

28 Nov

Life is easier with friends. I’ve been going crazy looking for a source for this statement, but I believe it to be virtually self-evident. It is easier to make it through difficult situations with someone else. It is also more fun to be going through the good times, when you have someone to share it with. I think the problem with this statement is not so much the acceptation of it, but rather the fact that getting friends is difficult. It takes hard work, and we’d rather create for ourselves environments where we don’t have to work at having friends.

I have been encouraged more in the last six months to purposefully set up accountability partners than I have in the rest of my life combined. This is mostly due to the teaching of Curt Heffelfinger, but Will Powell and Mike Graham have also greatly encouraged me to do this. Some of the things they have encouraged me to do are to seek out people who can pour themselves into my life, people into whose life I can pour myself, and some similarly-staged brothers who can really challenge me. If it’s difficult to put forth the effort for just one friend, I’m certain getting at least three people to know me well will be incredibly difficult.

So, I find myself looking at how difficult it will be to put together (at least) three friends. Then, I began to consider if I had ever allowed anyone to get close to me. And as I began to think about that reality, I began to realize that all of my most rewarding friendships have been with people who fit this category of knowing me well. As we consider who the people are who will get down and dirty for us (do I hear washing our feet, Pastor Curt?), I know I sometimes think that it really is just too much effort, and yet, as I review my life, I am wondering why I didn’t do it more. I think this accountability they wish me to have is really just something that I should have been seeking all along in my pursing of true friends.

Of course the main person who washes my feet, is my wife, Kelly. The benefits of a marriage where your spouse knows you, holds you accountable, and really pushes you to be better all the time are too numerous to list in a mere paragraph or two, but honestly, when someone that close to you is always trying to make you into a better person, hopefully some of it sticks and you actually do become better. But with Thanksgiving passing, many of us have already recently become exceedingly thankful for our spouses. I am no exception to that sentiment.

But the biggest thought process I’ve had recently has to do with a man who, for reasons I am still not completely sure of, decided to take me under his wing five years ago. That man was Bob Collins. And while I could go on talking about him and his life for a long time (You can read about him from his wife’s tribute letter), at this point I just want to say the blessing to me, because he took the time to invest in me. He spent an hour or two with me each week reading, studying, and praying, and I am so much better for it. He recently passed away, and I know that his death was precious to the Lord. But as I had lunch today with some of his family, I know that my life is so much better because I made the easy decision to allow Bob to be part of my life, to know me, to exhort me, to correct me, to love me, and to help to build into my life of progressive sanctification.

To be sure, had I decided not to allow him to be a true friend, I would not feel the pain. I may barely notice that he was no longer with us, but I would not have had five years of consistent foot washing from a man so godly. While I could easily turn this into a blog to honor him, there may be time for that later. I just think the benefit of doing the mentally and emotionally difficult thing of allowing someone into your life is so beneficial in the long run that the troubles are barely worth even a mention. Life is so much better with mentors, accountability partners, a close and challenging wife, and even proteges. I have heard the challenge, and I am attempting to seek out a few real friends, so that I can experience the benefits of a gospel-shaped community. I can allow God to continue to work on me in that way, and for that I am very hopeful. My life will be better with friends!

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2 Responses to “Life is Better with Friends”

  1. probably not Emerson, but Bessie Stanley December 1, 2011 at 1:11 am #

    To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.This is to have succeeded.

  2. Jenni December 30, 2011 at 4:50 am #

    The people who know me the most are the ones I am the most thankful for – they make life like being at home instead of being at a hotel. I loved this blog!

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