The Value of Choosing Friends

There are a lot of things that I learned from my four short years at Clarkson. I learned way more math than I ever knew existed, I learned that foods you never tried can be good if you get over the mental barrier of that “unknown food” syndrome, and I learned that those child hood video games like Pokemon or Mario or rather just video games in general are still cool to play. But I think that one of the most important things I learned is choosing your friends.

I think this one might turn out to be a longer post, I have a lot of thoughts on this because I’ve had a lot of experience, and I’m gonna lay out a little bit of my life too.

When people say “friend” it’s always hard to determine what they mean. I’ve realized that there are several different types of “friends.”

There are the friends you just see every day but don’t really talk to, kind of like acquaintances. There are the friends that you see every day and talk to, but it’s merely superficial. Next come the friends that you consider close friends, you know the ones you tell some things to, but not everything. Then come best friends, best friends find out a lot about you, and you about them as well. Then come best friends forever. Now best friends forever are a little bit different, you see they know a lot about you, more than the others up to this point, but the key thing here is if you go for three years without seeing each other, the next time you see them it’s like those three years never happened. You talk as if you were never even separated. Our next layer of friendship is family members, hopefully it’s pretty self-explanatory. But there’s one more level of friendship, closer than family.

So our friendship hierarchy from most distant to closest, from lowest to highest, from least knowledgeable to most knowledgeable is as follows:

  • Acquaintances
  • Superficial Friends
  • Close Friends
  • Best Friends
  • Best Friends Forever
  • Family
  • Closer Than Family

So, let’s go into each of these just a little bit more.

Acquaintances

Acquaintances are those people that you see everyday. You know their name, what they look like, maybe even a little bit about them. But the thing is you never talk to them. At all. They’re there, and if you needed to you could talk to them, but you usually don’t. 
 

Superficial Friends

Superficial friends are the guys and gals that you talk to. The casual exchange in the hallway. The wave when you recognize them away from home. Basically if you say anything at all to them, they’re just about superficial. 

 

Close Friends

Close friends, ah those are the ones who sit at your lunch table or would have or basically any person you have more than a casual conversation with. It’s more than just “Hey, how’s it going,” followed by a “Not too bad.” You honestly care a little bit about them. 

 

Best Friends

Best friends. Who doesn’t know what a best friend is. You see them all the time, you tell them all sorts of things. You hang out with them when you can. They have your number and you have theirs. They know how to push your buttons, but it’s okay because you can do the same thing to them. Everyone has them whether they realize it or not. 

 

Best Friends Forever

BFFs, I think just about everyone has one. I have multiple. I care a lot about each one of them. I have helped them through a lot of things, a lot of hard times, and I wouldn’t exchange them for anyone. They know a heck of a lot about me, and likewise I know a lot about them. The beauty of best friends forever is that it truly is what it says. I’ve discovered that no matter how long you’re away from those bffs you have, when you see each other again it’s as if you never left. You catch up and life goes on. 

 

Family

Family is where is the second most serious friendship. There’s only one level above it. I have been trying to remember all day some saying that I think is “I can mess with my brother and sister all I want, but when you do it, you’re messing with me.” I don’t know if that’s the exact saying, but it’s true nonetheless. I have two siblings, and I can get away with doing almost anything to them, but if someone else starts dissing them, that’s where I have a problem. 

 

Closer Than Family

Closer than family. The highest level of friendship you can have with someone. The people in this group mean everything to you. You think about them constantly, you wanna make sure that they’re okay. You splurge on them, not because you have to or sometimes even when you can’t afford it, you splurge on them because you want to. You would do anything to protect them. No matter what the danger was, who it was, or if it was even real. If they asked you to come get them, you’d do it even if you were passed out from exhaustion only a couple hours before. You get a little excited when they contact you, and you could talk with them for hours and never run out of topics. 

 

Each one of these categories generally holds people for each individual person who reads this. You’ll be able to identify who they are. I can tell you that I personally have only two people in my life that I consider closer than my family. They hold a very rare position in my life.

But the most important thing about friendship is who you choose to become friends with.

Here’s a little secret I discovered. When you become friends with someone, you become like that person.

It doesn’t happen fast, and it’s a long process, but it happens. Very slowly you begin to pick up on the good qualities they hold.

For example, I became friends with a very active and fit guy while I was at Clarkson. He inspired me. The more I hung out with him, the more I wanted to act like him. A lot of the changes he affected in my life, he did without knowing, and I performed without realizing the mentality behind it.

So that brings me to the value of choosing friends. You can choose to be friends with whomever you want. My advice is to be careful. You will become similar to the people you’re friends with. That’s why you must value who you choose. You must respect them, and treat them as if you love them completely. Friendship isn’t easy, there are undoubtedly bumps in the road. But let me tell you, if you ever find those people who you grow to consider to be closer than family, hold onto them. Those people will be there with you through everything. They will never leave you, and you’ll never leave them.

This is one time in life when I would personally suggest that you choose carefully, for there are friends that you must value far more than others.

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Water, water

The title for the post seems clever in some way, I’m not quite sure how just yet though.

Ever since kicking the soda habit a little over a year and a half ago I’ve enjoyed water.

There are times when I crave nothing other than a glass of cold(ish) water. Sometimes when I get out of the shower, sometimes when I get home from being out all day, other times just when I’m reading. All I want at that moment is a glass or drink of water.

It may be that our body is anywhere from 50% to 75% water, but it just tastes good. It’s just satisfying. It satisfies like no other drink.

It gives us life in the womb, and all to often for others takes life through drowning or deprivation of it.

We also receive water from the Father, a water that is also life giving. It comes from a Well that will never run dry. That in and of itself will be a blessing.

To be honest, I would suggest that you take a week and drink nothing but water. See how much better your body feels after. I think it’ll feel much better. Go ahead, try it out. I won’t stop you at all!

Collide

This song is a more interesting mixture, it’s almost like an exchange between you and Jesus. So without further ado, read on!

Jesus:     The dawn is breaking
A light shining through
You’re barely waking
And I’m tangled up in you, yeah

I’m open, you’re closed
Where I follow, you’ll go
I worry I won’t see your face
Light up again

You:       Even the best fall down sometimes
Even the wrong words seem to rhyme
Out of the doubt that fills my mind
I somehow find you and I collide

I’m quiet you know
You make a first impression
I’ve found I’m scared to know
I’m always on your mind

Even the best fall down sometimes
Even the stars refuse to shine
Out of the back you fall in time
I somehow find you and I collide

Don’t stop here
I lost my place
I’m close behind

Jesus:  Even the best fall down sometimes
Even the wrong words seem to rhyme
Out of the doubt that fills your mind
You finally find you and I collide

You finally find you and I collide
You finally find you and I collide

If we truly understood how often we’re on Jesus’ mind, I feel that we would be shocked. Everything we do seems to bring us into Jesus evermore. But we doubt just how much we love Jesus sometimes. Does He really love us?

He does love us. He loves us infinitely more than we can ever know. We will find that we love Him back. His love boils up in us and we begin to reciprocate it back to Him. We find that we collide with Him all the time.

Jesus and…Pokemon?!

Nerd herd alert!

I was busy thinking…generally that gets me into trouble as a lot of people know….

I realized something, the Pokemon games for Gameboy Color, Advance, and Nintendo DS can actually be comparable to our journey. For those of you who are unfamiliar with how a Pokemon game works, the game opens with us creating our own character. We soon go to meet with the professor in the game. Shockingly the professor is in trouble and we are forced to make a choice in picking our starter pokemon.

From there we start on our adventure, we collect other pokemon, fight gym battles, and eventually run into the bad guys. We slowly conquer the bad guys, travel throughout the land facing puzzles, other trainers, and at the end of the story beating the Elite Four and the Champion, the toughest trainers in the entire land. And then the story continues, often times new areas in the land open up and we can explore new regions.

In the same way we are created and often times not to far into life forced to make a choice. Generally this choice is critical, something that will affect us for the rest of our lives. We pick our starter pokemon. This starter pokemon, we’ll carry it with us for almost the entire journey we take in the game. Likewise once we make that choice that life forced upon us, we follow it and take it with us forever.

We travel, make other choices, ones that are brand new and others that cement choices we’ve already made. We catch more pokemon. All the time, we diversify our team, cement our strategies, we make our position more secure. We overcome challenges in our Christian walk. We encounter the enemy and overcome him slowly.

We travel the world encountering mysteries of God, things that we may never know. We encounter other people in our walk who teach us, people who challenge us to rise up further in God. In the end we tackle the big challenge.

Who is Jesus. Do you love Him? How did you live in Him? We answer those questions in the end, and soon we arrive at a new beginning.

You might find it a bit of a stretch, but you know what I’ve discovered? Every great story, game, and movie…it all contains a trace of the greatest story ever told, the story of Jesus and the Church.

An Infectious Desire for Life

There’s a couple of websites that I stumbled on through facebook. It’s a growing movement that people have about life.

This movement seems to be getting impossibly bigger.

These people have a desire to live life with minimal belongings, eat whole food, be non-judgmental, and above all simply be happy.

These people I admire sometimes.

I think they’ve realized the key to life and lack only one thing in my opinion, and that’s a vivacious love for God. For all I know they could simply know God too, I don’t know for sure.

What I do know is that I admire their desire for life abundantly. There are so many things that we don’t really need, nor does God encourage us to buy. I’m one of the biggest offenders, so it’s okay. But God’s walking with me, and at least in my life bringing me even closer to that idea of minimal belongings, eating better food, being happy, moving away from judging people.

Get inspired. Go and find a fantastic desire for life.

Daily Transformations

Your Life Your Way

A Letter From the One

I have not ceased praying for you. I have asked My Father to fill you with the knowledge of His will in everything so that you will walk in a manner worth of Me, pleasing Me in all respects, bearing every fruit in every good work and learning more about Me. To be strengthened will all power according to My glorious might. I have joyously given thanks to My Father.

I have rescued you from the domain of darkness, transferred you into My Kingdom. In Me you have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

I am the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. By Me all things were created, all things in the heavens and on earth, both visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities, all things have been created through Me and for Me.

I am before all things. All things in Me are held together.

I am the head of My body, the Church, My Bride who you are a part of.

I am the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead. I will come to have the first place in all things.

It was my Father’s good pleasure to dwell in Me. For all the fullness of the God-head to dwell in Me. Through Me, my Father has reconciled all things to Me. He made peace with all things through Me, through the blood of My cross.

You were formerly alienated, hostile in mind and in evil deeds…but I have reconciled you in My body through My death. Because of this, I will present you before My Father, holy and blameless and beyond reproach, as long as you stand firm in all that you have learned.

For now the mystery of the Father, the one that he has kept hidden since before time was created, has been revealed. This mystery has been opened to all, the reality of Me living in you.

Grace to you, and peace also from Me. I exist now, have always existed, and will always exist. I am the faithful witness, firstborn of the dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth.  I love you, and have released you from your sins by My blood. I have made you to be a kingdom, priests to My Father.

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty God. I am the Living One. I was dead, and behold alive forevermore. I hold the keys of death and Hades.

I am the Water of Life, poured out freely for any who would choose to drink of Me.

Come and  I will give you life, and life abundant.

Come and I will love you eternally as I have always done.

Come.

–Jesus  (adapted from Colossians and Revelation)

100 Years

We all know time is short. Life is short. Life is sometimes too short. I found this song by Five for Fighting a couple weeks ago. I hadn’t listened to it for a good five or six years! But it popped into my mind those couple of weeks ago and I listened to it and remembered why I enjoyed it! The piano music, the lyrics, it was all just the same! (as if it would have changed any yeah?)

Our time as a Christian is short on this earth, but it lasts for all eternity. I think in a way we will be young in Christ for a long, long time. Paul himself knew Christ intimately, but I don’t know that he would even call himself seasoned in Christ. That’s a presumption, I can’t think of any basis in the scriptures for supporting that, but at the same time, I think it’s a fair assumption.

I know that I personally will never fully know Christ. He is infinitely beyond my complete understanding. I will always learn more about him, but never fully. I could go through a hundred years of knowing Jesus, and yet still be a fifteen year old kid.

Life moves fast. Sometimes too fast. Enjoy every moment you have, and stay in the present. Stay with God, don’t wander ahead of him because you’ll miss the path he heads down next. Enjoy being 15, because you’ll be 100 soon enough.