08 Feb 2022

From the time I was a little girl, I loved horses. I had books and figurines of horses and imagined my days filled with riding adventures. My aunt had a farm and I was thrilled when we would visit.

They had horses, chickens, cows, cats, dogs, even a goose. Or maybe I should say a guard dog, dressed like a goose! As a child, I never took riding lessons and despite all my begging, my parents never moved to a farm or bought me a horse. God must have known the desire of my heart and allowed me the opportunity to purchase my first horse as an adult. Her name was Vegas and she became my partner for many years. I had read books about horses, but there was still so much for me to learn. It wasn't long into my adventure with Vegas that I realized I didn't know how to be a leader for my horse and I let her push me around. Come to think of it, I let my friends push me around a bit back then too. To help remedy my issue, my trainer drew a circle with his foot in the floor of the arena. He said, this is your safety circle, your horse should not come in it unless he is asked to. That proved to be more challenging than you would think and its an exercise not only in leadership, but it also established a healthy and safe boundary between me and my horse.

Respectful boundaries is something we all have to establish, even in our relationships. God designed each of us to be different and molded us that way for a purpose. When we seek God in prayer, we learn who we are. As we get older different people come in and out of our "circle" of friends, all in some way help shape who we become as adults. Sometimes those relationships put pressure on us to say or do something that goes against what is best for us. In those times, rather than be led away, we have to be confident enough in ourselves to stay in the safety circle. It means when that inner voices says quietly, "this is wrong" or you feel uncomfortable, its probably not what you should be doing. We can even put pressure on ourselves to avoid conflict with friends which cause us to change, compromise morals, or go against what parents have taught us to be wrong. When you resist this influence, this is where you become a leader.

God is love and His love for us is a never-ending circle that surrounds us and offers to lead us on the path to righteousness. By trusting in the truth of His word, remaining steadfast in the circle of His love, and surrounding yourself with people who will guide your path, you gain strength and skills to emotional healing and health.

Romans 8:39 Neither height, nor depth, not anything else in all creation, with be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Timothy 2:16 All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, connecting and training in righteousness. Let’s read a few verses that draw us a picture of what the friendship circle should look like.

Eph. 4:12 Always be humble, gentle, and patient, accepting each other in love. 1 Peter 5:5…”clothe yourselves with humility toward one another

Hebrews 10:24 Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds

Romans 1:12 I want us to help each other with the faith we have. Your faith will help me, and my faith will help you.

Roman 12:9a Love from: the center of who you are; don’t fake it.

Proverbs 18:24 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.

Remember, friends should be authentic and not pretend to be one way in front of adults or other leaders and act differently when alone with you or other friends. Friends should lift each other up and encourage each other in love and kindness, not anger and gossip. Friends would never encourage you to do something you know is sinful, immoral, or illegal. Friendships are humble, not boastful or jealous, they would never tear down a person for their personality, appearance, race, or inabilities. Friends don’t pretend to care, they really do. Friends don’t leave you at the first sign of trouble or if you don’t agree with each other, they see it through. The measurement of your worth isn't by the number of people on your facebook page, the number of people you sit with a lunch, or how many people “like” your post. Your worth was already established in God's love for you. Friendships are meant as a blessing in your life. There are people God designed to be in the circle with you, through the good and bad times, and to walk with you in God's purpose for your life.