The older we get, the more the cement dries on the foundation of our lives. For the most part we have a stable career that pays the bills and gives us a little extra to live comfortably; we have our families and our churches and our community organizations that we’re involved in and even though we have our solid group of friends, they too often become interchangeable at different stages in our lives, but the ones that remain, the ones that are of extreme importance are the ones we have genuine spiritual connections with.

We need spiritual friends who are close to us, who understand us, who will encourage us and counsel us, who will carry our burdens but also get in our face when we’re being disobedient or harmful. We need friends who care about the way we are becoming (or not becoming!) more like Christ. As Iron Sharpens Iron, so shall you is an important scripture that sticks with me as I get older and build stronger relationships with my girls. I can always count on them to come through for me when I’m in a financial rut, if I’m dealing with relationship woes and need some advice, but I feel more importantly when I’m at a spiritual standstill, when my faith is wavering and affecting my mental health and my emotional health, I need my friends and those spiritual connections that I have with them to reach down and pull me out of my funk.

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Now I’m not talking about those judgmental, soapbox “friends” that misuse the term “rebuke in love,” nor am I speaking about those shady friends that pretend to care because they want some scoop on your life to make theirs seems better. I’m talking about those genuine souls that recognize your struggle, that understand your struggle and who have been through it and are using the wisdom God has given them to be an accountability partner to you.

I need those friends who I can share my moments of depression with and be vulnerable with because I know it won’t be held against me. I need those friends who are going to let me have my moment, but who are going to encourage me by sending me devotions, scriptures, inspirational quotes and more importantly pray for and with me whether I ask for it or not. I need those friends that drag me at 8am on a Saturday to community service.

For the most part we all have friends, but do those friends really knows your heart? I’m not talking about just any good friend here; I’m talking about a friend or friends whose hunger for spiritual connection, whose journey toward God mirrors that of yours. Do they know your hopes, your dreams and your fears? Do they know you weaknesses and help turn them into strengths? It is important to have spiritual friends because they will keep you focused and grounded on the things that really matter in your life. When you find yourself lost in the fluff, fog and allure of surfaced things they will help you get back to the nitty gritty of your life.

At some point I had to start evaluating who I called friend. Spending weekends drinking, partying, being single and wondering why guys I was interested in weren’t taking me seriously became exhausting. I looked around me and I realized my lifestyle mirrored that of theirs. That was the connection I had form with them. All I really wanted was to excel my career, meet a pleasant and spiritually grounded man, get married have children and live a comfortable and adventurous life with my family. Naturally in wanting those things, my friendship circle began to shift. I found myself drawing closer to those who were seeking the same things. I recognized the community in them, the passion to be involved in their churches and communities, their dating patterns and the seriousness of it and I formed spiritual and life bonds with them. Having spiritual connections with friends became important to me when I began to take my life more seriously.

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