In 2009 I remember desiring that God would increase my relationships. I've always been an introvert and had a really hard time breaking out of my shell. I had good friends but I really wanted to be a better networker, more outgoing, and just really maximize the power of relationships. One day a few months ago, I was preparing to go out with some of my girlfriends and, in quick reflection of my life, I realized that that prayer/desire was totally fulfilled. I have the greatest relationships, on all levels, that I've ever had. One main reason this is true: I've discovered to maximize our relationships and be truly well-rounded we must have three tiers or levels of relationships 1. Mentors or Coaches that regularly pour into us. 2. Friends/Associates on our level that we can relate to. 3. Mentees or those who we regularly pour into and help pull up. Without each of these three levels of relationship being strong, some area of our life is off balance, whether we realize it or not.
My Coaches- Our coaches, mentors, or big sisters as I call mine, pour into us, teach us, hold us accountable and challenge us. Even though those on our level can also do this, it is very different. Experience truly is the best teacher, but what people leave out is it doesn't always have to be our own. I have learned how to use others experiences to learn great lessons. Those who are older and wiser than us can have a great impact in this area. And in order to get to somewhere you wanna be, why not glean from someone whose already there? The big sisters I have in my life, wow, where would I be without them. They have blessed me in ways I could have only imagined. They truly keep me accountable. I said in a previous blog, or FB status, that there is no growth without accountability. They constantly push me and I'm so much better because of it. So many situations they've been through with me and given me such insight that was lifechanging. I've talked to my friends about some of the same situations but my big sisters have consistently had a different level of revelation that I would have so missed had I not had them. I must say it takes a great deal of transparency to have this level of relationship because coaches will tell you about yourself. They should lovingly do so but typically they always charge you to do better. I love my big sisters (they know who they are)
My Gurls- Friends & Associates are typically on our level or very close to it. They see things from our perspective. They tend to share in our joys and sorrows and be the most compassionate with us out of the three. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE MY GURLS! I truly think I have the best friends ever. I can be completely naked with them and they see my faults and still love me. And it's so funny because of all my closest girlfriends, they are extremely different, but they all bring something unique and it's wonderful. We are each other's biggest cheerleaders and are there for each other no matter what. There is a lot of give and take that makes these relationships work. And they've had their ups and downs but any close relationship will. It's successfully pushing through those rough times that makes you even closer or reveals that you really don't have what you thought. I could go on forever about my gurls, they know I love them (with my crazy self lol)
My Lil Sisters- Mentees are those who you regularly pour into. It takes a great deal of humility and transparency to make these relationships stick but they are highly rewarding. I just believe that for believers, you can't tell your real testimony to everybody, but SOMEBODY SHOULD KNOW IT. You may not be able to tell everyone you used to be suicidal and depressed, but if you've been saved for a minute, by all means someone else that's suicidal and depressed should know your story. It can be really hard to open up and share your story, but it's totally selfless and absolutely necessary. The reason so many people struggle to get free now is because not enough people are saying "I used to do that but I'm free now, this is how...". My life is an open book and anyone who knows me well knows I believe in telling everything (with wisdom of course). I have no shame because anything I've gone through is for me and someone else. This is why I love my little sisters. They make every struggle I've ever been through totally worth it. It's really easy to get stuck in the "ME-ME" box when there is no one receiving from you regularly. But when you have those who are watching and gleaning from you, your perspective will widen and you'll be a much more grateful person. I love my little sisters, they know who they are :) They challenge me to be consistent, resilient, joyful, humble and to appreciate everything.
I challenge you to take a look at all three of these tiers of relationships. Do you have strong, solidified relationships on all three levels? If not, you may really want to consider changing that. Life is all about relationships. Life hasn't really begun until you begin sharing it!