Enough to be honest with them? Would you risk your friendship and comfort to tell them the truth, or are your safety and self-protection more important to you?
I have a few wonderful friends, some whom I've met with for nearly 20 years. We try to tell each other the truth - lovingly, gently when possible. In one group of four, when three speak with the same voice, the other knows it's time to listen.
Another friend and I meet occasionally, and I trust her to confirm what God has begun to whisper into my heart. She's told me - from the heart - what other friends see but would never mention.
Thank God for such friends, who keep me moving toward God's purposes.
If you're looking, here' are a few steps to finding them:
1) Pray. Acknowledge to God your need for honest accountability.
2) Listen to same-gender people around you. Who is on the spiritual path that you'd like to follow? (I looked for women who loved God and were hungry for spiritual maturity.)
3) Watch for people who have the same need for privacy - little or much - that you are willing to risk. (My friends asked, "How confidential is this conversation?" when we began sharing. And I knew we were on the right track.)
4) Approach a few people with the idea of peer mentoring, getting together to share life and faith, or customize the group for your stage of life. Phrase the initial contact to convey your hopes or expectations. Don't be disappointed if people refuse or if it's not the right time for them to connect with you. Take your time. Be sure your friends are committed to God and to you.
5) Be ready to listen as well as speak. Take advice and information seriously and follow through on direction given. Check others' counsel with scripture.
6) Make daily prayer for each other part of the larger Conversation. You can overcome irritations, disappointments, and relationship barriers by aligning your friendship with God's purposes.
So... do you have friends who love you enough and whom you love enough to tell the truth? Please leave a comment telling us about them, if you do!
*An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up. A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray. In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality. Proverbs 12:25, 26, 28 NIV