Monday, June 8, 2015

5 Things to Look For in a Good Friend

As a kid I often made friends with whoever made friends with me. I’m not sure if that is unusual or not, but I wasn’t too particular when it came to friends. Feel free to laugh at me if you’d like! I’m laughing as I write this. Thankfully, I ended up with some pretty awesome friends as a child. However, once I was in a place where I needed to make new friends… Whether it was at a new school, a new job, or church I found it very helpful to look for these 5 Things or Qualities in a Good Friend!

1. Transparency

I value transparency almost more than anything else in relationships. It is hard to build a friendship with someone who always has their walls up and cares most about protecting him or herself. I understand that we should all have some boundaries and that as relationships grow those boundaries change. However, a friendship will feel very one sided if those boundaries don’t change and there isn’t transparency and honesty from the other party. I love people who are real, who aren’t pretending, and who can share their struggles. I think that is where real friendship begins.

2. Selflessness

A friend who is selfless will often be a good listener. They will ask you questions about your life and not just tell you about their life! Be careful that you don’t become the person who is always talking about their own life with someone like this. Keep a healthy balance and show that you care about your friend by listening too. A selfless person will go out of their way to help others when it doesn’t benefit them at all. They might offer to babysit for someone in need, or they might pick up garbage that was left in a parking lot. Whatever they do, you will notice because they’ll do things to help others often.

3. Vision

Have you ever spent time around someone who has a lot of dreams, or someone who has big plans for their future? I’ve had friends who wanted to be everything from lawyers, to pastors, to politicians, to professional musicians. It’s awesome to be around people like this because they are passionate and they will motivate you to become everything you were made to be. You want your life to count. You want to leave a legacy. You want to make a difference! And friends without vision and motivation can sometimes hold you back from everything God has for you.   

4. Love

This might go without saying. A good friend will treat you with love and respect. However, I am not just talking about someone who will love you and who will love others. I am also talking about someone who loves himself or is at least trying to love herself. I think this is important because if you have a friend who is always cutting him or herself down, your friendship will probably be difficult. You can help someone like this greatly as you learn how to love yourself, but they probably won’t be able to be a good friend to you. If you feel led to have friends like this, I applaud you. Just make sure they aren’t your only friends and don’t let them pull you down an unhealthy path.

5. Joy

This can be a hard one. I love happy people, but only when it’s real. And joy that comes from the Lord truly surpasses understanding. It’s just like the peace of God. It is a gift. It is something that comes through someone who has their eyes fixed on God. Who is seeing the world, themselves, and you through God’s eyes! I find it seriously exhilarating to be around people like this. Someone with the joy of God will not be easily angered. They will find a way to see the bright side of every situation. And they will want to share their joy with you too!!

I must say that my best friends are those who know and love God. They are the friends who always lead me closer to Christ. They aren’t afraid to tell me the truth. And I would do anything for them. A friend like this is priceless. I’m praying that you will all find a friend or two like this.

Obviously, the 5 things I mentioned aren’t a complete list. I’m sure you have things you would add to it, or thoughts you like to share and I’d love to have you join this conversation! Please share what it is you look for in friends and why.

May God bless you deeply as you seek Him!

This blog was written by Kristen Jane Anderson. She is the author of Life, In Spite of Me. And founder of Reaching You Ministries. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

What Makes YOU Important?

What makes YOU important?  What makes YOU special? What makes YOU good enough?  What makes YOUR LIFE matter??. . .  

I used to ask myself questions like this all the time and sometimes I still do! Maybe you have too. Or maybe you are afraid to ask questions like this because you don't want to hear the answers. Either way, you do not ever need to be afraid of questions like that. This is why:

#1 - You were created by God and for God.
Above all else, this is what makes your life important. Nothing will ever change that and nothing could ever change that because we have a God who is unchanging.

#2 - You are special and your life matters because He matters.
You are God's greatest creation and He is very pleased with you. He makes no mistakes, and he considers you a treasure to both himself and this world.

# 3 - You were made so special and unique that no one could ever take your place in this world.
The bible says that God knit you together in your mothers womb, and that there are things that He planned in advance for you to do! Even before you were born.. He had a purpose for you.

This might be new information to you or it might be old. Regardless, I think we all have some work to do in seeing ourselves and our lives through God's eyes. 

My Challenge: Is for you to prayerfully search the scriptures on these things. You'll be amazed by who you are because of God and who you can be because of CHRIST!

Please SHARE! Also feel free to COMMENT and let me know your thoughts on any of this below. I'd love to hear from you! If you're reading this on the Reaching You website, please click the blog title in order to comment. Thank You and God Bless!! 

This contributor is the author of, Life, In Spite of Me. You can order her book from 
Amazon Here.15% of all proceeds from this link will go to Reaching You Ministries

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Do Not Walk Alone - 7.31.13

When I first found myself in a wheelchair I started noticing other people in wheelchairs everywhere that I went. I saw them at the mall, at the doctors office, at church, and almost anywhere else I would go too. If there was someone in a wheelchair where I was I couldn't be blind to them. I wasn't looking for them but they stood out to me.  

Similarly, when I first had a baby I started noticing other babies and their moms everywhere that I went. Again, I saw them at the mall, the doctor's office, church, etc. If they were there I inevitably noticed them.  Did this help me or make much of a difference in my life? Not really to be honest. However, it was completely different when I first became a Christian and I understood the significance of what Jesus had done for me. The relationship I was walking into with God made me want to find other people who knew Him and trusted Him the way I did. The connection I could have with them was out of this world and it still is. My Christian friends are normal people like me but they breathe so much life and love and encouragement into me, as well as my relationship with the Lord that my other friends and acquaintances simply can't. 

Without the relationships I have with other believers I can't tell you where I would be today. I am quite certain that my walk with the Lord would have floundered much more than it has. And when I read the Bible it helps me understand why. Simply put, we aren't meant to live the Christian life alone. Some of us already know that, and some of us are still learning. However, the Bible seems to be quite clear in this respect. We learn in Genesis that after God created Adam, He created Eve. His reason: "It is not good for the man to be alone," (Genesis 2:18). So many times I think we are tempted to believe that we are better off alone, but we are not. In the book of Ecclesiastes King Soloman said: "Two are better than one. . . Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves," (Eccles. 4:9,12). I don't know about you but sometimes I am weak minded or weak willed. I can be very strong minded and very strong willed too, but on those weak and distracted days it helps so much to have a friend who will point me back toward God, back to the cross, and back to the truth. These friends are so close they seem like family and truly they are! My dad is probably the person I know who most regularly refers to another believer as his brother or sister in Christ. He usually follows up his familial greeting to them with a bear like hug. I love it! It is such a change from the lost and closed off man he was before he knew the Lord. Now he just radiates the love of Christ. It's amazing.

If you have ever felt alone, I want you to know most important of all that God is ALWAYS with you. You are never really alone. He says in His word, "He will never leave you, nor forsake you." I pray that you will take great comfort and find much peace in that. However, I also hope that you will search for strong Christian friends who love, know, and live for the Lord as you walk forward in your relationship with Him.

You cannot live the Christian life alone. At least not very successfully. Thankfully, you can find other believers practically anywhere! The Bible says you will know them by their "fruit." That is just a special way of describing the good things that we display to the world when we have accepted the Lord, have been given God's Spirit, and are growing in our relationship with God. The fruit of the Spirit are things like.. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. See, Galations 5:22-23. And who doesn't want a friend like that? No believer is perfect but many of my Christian friends who are walking with the Lord display these attributes quite regularly. Another thing you might notice when meeting another believer is that that they may share about the things Jesus is doing in their heart or life quite openly. If you are having trouble finding friends like this, please don't give up. The cost is far too great. Seriously.

Consider what Jesus said in Matthew 18:22, "For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them."

I moved when I got married and ever since I have been trying to find and build relationships with more believers in my new town. Sometimes it's been an uphill battle but I know the rewards will far outweigh the trouble. I found one of my new Christian friends in my natural child birthing class before Grayson was born. I found a few of them at my church in Bible studies and the local MOPS group. And I found another in my next door neighbor! I am sure that God has people somewhere close to you who He is planning to breath life, love and encouragement into you through. Please, don't ever give up. And do not walk alone. It's not worth the trouble. Finding Godly friends, however? That is certainly worth the trouble!

Feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts on any of this below. I'd love to hear from you! If you're reading this on the Reaching You website, please click the blog title in order to comment.

To purchase my book, Life, In Spite of Me, Please Order It From Amazon Here.15% of all proceeds from this link will go to Reaching You Ministries. Thank you and God bless!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Secret of Contentment - 8.4.11

Imagine yourself completely satisfied or content for a minute...  It's a pleasant thought isn't it? Contentment isn't something we think about all the time, but it's defined by Merriam-Webster as: "feeling or showing satisfaction with one's possessions, status, or situation." Is that where you are? Contentment is something we all yearn for, especially in the most unsettled of times. It can often seem out of reach, but it doesn't have to be!
Whenever I feel like I am not content in life, I try to remind myself of the Apostle Paul's incredible words in his letter to the Philippian Church. He said, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances, I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want," (Phil. 4:11-12). Isn't that inspiring and humbling all at the same time?!! I think so, especially knowing that Paul was in prison for being a follower of Christ when wrote those words. He wasn't just writing idealistically, he was being honest and he was talking about real life feelings in real life situations. Have you learned the secret of being content like Paul? He unlocked the secret to contentment in verse 13 by following his previous statements with, "I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength."  

So Jesus Christ is the answer... but how?  Well, the first and most important step is to put your trust in Christ as the forgiver of all your sins and as the leader of your life.  He died for your sins, and he wants to give you new hope and a new life in Him!  If you do this, the Bible says that you will be put back into a right relationship with God, you will spend eternity in Heaven, and you will be given the gift of the Holy Spirit, an advocate, "who will teach you all things and remind you of everything I [Jesus] have said to you," (Jn.14:26). The second step is to begin developing a relationship with God as your father and your friend. As 1 Thessalonians 5:17 instructs us, talk to Him regularly, "pray without ceasing." And last but not least, stay close to God, read your Bible, and don't ever take your focus off of Jesus. "He is the author and perfecter of faith," (Heb.12:2). Like a person who is afraid of heights will get nervous when they look down from a high place, you will begin to lose the peace and contentment a relationship with Christ has brought you when you let your life and your circumstances distract you from all of the good things that God has for you. You really can have the contentment Paul had... It's waiting for you in Christ!

Feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts on any of this below. I'd love to hear from you! If you're reading this on the Reaching You website, please click the blog title in order to comment.

To purchase my book, Life, In Spite of Me, Please Order It From Amazon Here.15% of all proceeds from this link will go to Reaching You Ministries. Thanks!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

When Life Gives You Lemons - 7.28.11

This was the title of the show I did with Patrick Henry Hughes and Jeremy Camp yesterday. Our interviews were featured on Your Family Live! (a Web/TV/Radio Show done by the incredible people at Focus on the Family). Click here to watch. I smiled when I first saw the title of the show in my e-mail this week. It took me back to an experience I had years ago. I actually wrote about it in my book:

I returned to my wheelchair, and as I was taking off my prosthetic legs, a nurse's aide in white scrubs entered the room. "You've got some nice legs there," she said. "How do you like them?" There was no pity in her voice, just curiosity. I shrugged and decided to tell her the honest truth. "They're okay. They're just not like my legs used to be." I didn't want to be negative, but I couldn't be enthusiastic either. "Well, when God gives you lemons, then you've just got to make lemonade," she spouted with confidence. We chatted for a few more minutes, and then she hustled off to her duties. After she left, her words stuck with me. It was the simplest thing, yet it made sense. Is it possible to take all the heartache and challenges I've been through and let them work for the better? It gave me hope for change. It also made me think about something Ruth Ann had told me a year prior. "You're a strong willed person, Kristen. You can either let that work for you or against you," (p. 154, 155).

Making lemonade out of lemons isn't the easiest thing to do in life, but I've found it necessary. It's much easier to hold on to our dreams, or how we think things should have been, but that isn't going to change what happened yesterday or any other day in the past. I couldn't bring my legs back no matter how much I wished I could. It's important to remember that we only have today to work with. As the old saying goes, "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift." We might as well make the best of it!

Please, think about what it is that you have to be grateful for. Make a list. Ask yourself what God gave you to enjoy about your life today. And learn from the book of Job. The Bible shows us that Job was a good man, but he lost his family, his livestock, his wealth and his health. He questioned God, grumbled about his situation, and even wished he was dead, but he never gave up and he never lost his faith in God. He seemed to always know that God was still God, that he could always trust Him, and at the end of his life "the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before", (Job 42:10). I hope you know that God is always God and that He never changes. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever," (Heb. 13:8). He will never let you go, He will never give up on you, He will always love you, and He is right there with you.

Feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts on any of this below. I'd love to hear from you! If you're reading this on the Reaching You website, please click the blog title in order to comment.

To purchase my book, Life, In Spite of Me, Please Order It From Amazon Here. 15% of all proceeds from this link will go to Reaching You Ministries. Thanks!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011