Monday, January 28

Toxic Friendships

As a society, we condemn abusive relationships and bullying but I think we've missed the mark on one type of abuse- and that is the toxic "frenemy" complexity that young women have created today. Friends, sisters, roommates, sorority sisters, small group members; to the outside people would guess 'friends' but in reality the fierce world of jealousy, confrontation, and passive aggressive arguments turns them into silent enemies. After going on four years in a sorority, I have seen this hidden world butt its' ugly head in several relationships in the sorority but most recently, my own relationships. There is something extremely hurtful about a fallout with a friend, but then when this ugly 'frenemy' dynamic rises, it makes it that more painful.

Friendship, according to the Bible, is a good and necessary relationship that bring humanity closer together. Do your friendships look like that? After over two years of friendship with a particular friend and a falling out, I looked to Scripture for advice. England changed me completely, from the inside out and it was time to lay issues to rest and move on. I was changed, and I hope she had too. Driving to dinner I was hopeful to hash out the past and move forward. Almost two hours later, I drove home feeling smaller than a grain of sand. 

"A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separate the best of friends" is a section taken from Proverbs 16:28. While I was driving home that evening, I vowed that this was the end; not because I was stubborn and thought she was 100% wrong, not because I didn't make an effort to extend the olive branch, but because she made me feel worthless, inferior and altogether depressed. I realized that her friendship was no longer worth pursuing because of the way she treated me over the years. I gave to that friendship more than I ever got back; I always tried to make her birthdays special, I stayed up with her hours while she vented about boyfriend issues, I defended her to others because they didn't understand what she was going through- yet here I sat at the end of it with the short end of the stick and completely alone. 

In the end of it all, no body should ever make you feel inferior, depressed, sad, hurt, ugly or just worthless. Women have such toxic relationships sometimes and continue to go back to "friends" that continually hurt them, and then we go to another friend, our mom, a cousin or a coworker and complain about them. My time is so limited here at UNCW that I don't want to waste one more minute of energy, time or emotion on a toxic relationship that will never go past the gates of college. Have more self esteem and self worth for yourself to stand up for yourself, your precious time and your mental health and walk away from these relationships. It's amazing how when you walk away from a toxic pond how the Lord will provide you with a fresh spring to invest in you.  "As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend" Proverbs 27:17

Tuesday, January 8

The Last First Day

Tomorrow marks a new milestone in my life; the last first day of school I will ever have in my college career. People always tell you how fast four years will go by, but you don't really realize it until you're sitting at your last day. Tomorrow will begin the final push towards that lucrative degree that sits at the end of this race, only separated by twelve-hours of classes a week and 4-months of working three jobs: BRING IT ON. 

Tonight I marvel at all the things that have changed from three and a half years ago when my parents dropped me off at University. Painstakingly they dropped me off at Appalachian State, a top of a cold and dreary mountain; tonight I sit just a lovely 5-minute drive to the Atlantic Ocean wrapped up in the sweet smell of saltwater and earth. I've changed over the years, I've grown up, matured, made friends, learned life lessons, had my share of tearful nights, watched as friends drift apart and make incredible new friends. Who I was then, is not who I am now and that is absolutely the way it should be. 

Tuesday, January 1

It's a New Year; What's Your Word?

The time has come, to raise our glass, and say ciao to another year over and bonjour to a new one dawning. It is always amusing how much nostalgia and longing is wrapped up into one simple day, New Years Eve; we sit and reminisce with friends and family about all the things we accomplished in the past year: people met, trips taken, goals obtained, promises kept...and all the things we didn't quite get to: losing that last 10lbs, paying off our debt, becoming a yoga master, balancing our checkbooks. Yet, every year we sit on New Years Eve and make a pact to ourselves and our friends that next year will be different. I don't know about you, but I find myself making the same exact resolutions every year; and obviously the goals are never quite met...hence why I'm sitting her on the cusp of another year still contemplating the same exact goals.

So instead of making another resolution to accomplish something tangible: losing weight, making more money, becoming more dedicated to the gym, I've decided to partake in something that the lead pastor at Port City Community Church (Mike Ashcraft) implemented last year: MY ONE WORD. The premise behind this philosophy is to pick one word or phrase that you are going to work on and focus on for that entire year, a word you will pray about, focus on, read devotionals about. I actually did this last year. Want to know my word: happiness. Such a simple philosophy, yet I had never been truly happy in life. I dealt with a lot of issues, insecurities, doubts, fears, loneliness. It was hard, and it took God's hand in my life to really show me how to be happy. Tonight, I look back on 2012 and realize I found happiness. So tonight, I close the chapter on 2012 and look fondly on what 2013 will bring and have to offer; I haven't decided on my one word yet but I am interested to see what God lays on my heart.

Ciao 2012 and Bonjour 2013. I hope all you out there have a wonderful and beautiful 1st day of 2013.  

"Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass... Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him" Psalm 37:4,7