Running the Race: Finding Friends that Push You toward Purpose
One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a [sister].
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
This is Tori. She’s pretty great. (When I first met her she went by Tori, but shortly thereafter changed her mind and politely asked to be called “Victoria,” to match her pursuits of regality and propriety, à la the Queen. This is why we love her.)
I met Tori (ahem, Victoria), when I had just moved to Winston-Salem. She had grown up there and lived there most of her life, but I was still grappling to find my place in a new town. One of the first things I noticed about her (and many other’s with similar ones) was her laugh (‘cause laughing’s my favorite). We had both shown up to the same friend dinner, a coveted Sunday night ritual among Winston’s yo-pro/higher ed twenty-somethings. They fostered friendship, connection, and community, all over a massive shared meal. That night was no different than the rest.
Except when I introduced myself and she and I started chatting after dinner ended (as we’d been seated at opposite ends of the table), I felt super dorky and it made me nervous, like a little dweeb!! This girl was way too cool for me. And yet there we were, standing in a mutual friend’s house, matching each other’s self-deprecating humor and snorting over the fact that there was no way we would ever be able to keep up with our fellow dinner companions on one of their dauntingly treacherous hikes that it sounded like they frequented every. single. weekend. Pass, y’all. ✌
Fast forward months later, and we quickly became fast friends. It didn’t take long to find that we had a tremendous amount of overlap, in shared dreams, fears, desires, visions for our future, and our own obstacles we were trying to figure out how to surrender to God.
She wants to write a book - I want to write a book. She expresses herself creatively, and I was learning to push through my own hang-ups that kept me from embracing that same part of myself. We were both praying for our future husbands and wondered aloud to each other what they’d end up being like (and looking like!) Our varied strengths and weaknesses melded together so well, and I found myself leaning on her support when life threw me a couple of hurdles (and by a couple I mean a few of life’s elephants came and sat on me hard for a while there.)
But with Victoria’s help, I learned to appreciate God in the small things, taking newfound delight in whatever He chose to splash around us at any given time: the gorgeous neighborhoods in our town, summertime poolside naps and chats, and all the flowers, and how surrounding yourself with them in your own home does more to your space than throwing around a bunch of money at Target or HomeGoods (though ya girl really loves her some of both).
Tori also taught me how to dream big. She fearlessly asked God for any number of things that I’d neither once so much as thought to bring to Him in supplication, nor fully trusted that He’d actually do it…not out of believing he couldn’t, but really believing He wouldn’t, thinking it was out of assumed disdain toward frivolity or greed.
But not her. She prayed for everything, from career to blessings over her house to owning her own house someday soon to even my own wants and needs that I wasn’t even going to God for!! And that’s how she lives, showering prayers over everyone in her life. Rather than fearing that God would ruthlessly swat away her requests, as I’d been doing, she fully trusted in the Lord’s goodness and came to Him with total abandon, with childlike faith.
Now, I owe her a lot. She’s been there for me when I needed encouragement and kindness than I couldn’t fathom, and has shown me how to bring out the best in others by first embracing and sharing God’s best that He’s put into yourself. And she’s reminded me that I need to get started on that damn book I’ve been sitting on for too long now!
Just a couple of Enneagram Nine’s, keepin’ the peace ✌
(quick edit: months later, turns out Tori is a seven! But I like to still cling onto her having nine-ish qualities.)
Who in your life is pushing you toward purpose?