As I survey the fruit in my fridge I can tell you with all certainty, I am the worst “picker”.
An apple is an apple is an apple to me. If it doesn’t have a decaying cut in its side or a worm crawling out of it, it goes in the bag. I don’t stay in the produce section long enough to inspect every angle of my fruit before making my decisions. On the contrary, more times than not you will find me franticly throwing into bags whatever is left on the shelves that’s not utterly disgusting while still pushing the cart to keep me from stopping long enough to have my child even attempt to get out.
AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME TO BE PICKY when you have a toddler who has a very limited obedience span (it’s different from an attention span, you see) before he insists on driving the cart himself… which usually results in me apologizing over and over again as it is pushed right into the heels of innocent bystanders just watching my train wreck of a grocery shopping trip. It’s either that or screaming and tears… first by Jake… and then when I get home I join in, too.
And as I bite into my gritty tasteless apples (that will probably be doused in sugar and fried into some baked goodness to hide the fact they are total crap) I have to come face to face with what I have become- a cheap, frantic, desperate-for-anything, picker.
And it's not just the apples.
In my teen years I had real problems making friends, but it seemed as though I was the only one. Everywhere I looked there were girls laughing at their inside jokes, wearing their planned out perfectly matching outfits, and parading through school arm in arm. I wanted that. I was so consumed with my weirdness and how no one would want to be my friend that I allowed girls into my life that were honestly some bad apples.
I was told “I was only your friend so boys would talk to me” (never mind that I was so shy I hardly talked to boys) and “I only hung out with you until my real friends could come to the same school as me.”
I thought it was me. I thought I was the bad apple, the pie filler, that was wasting their shelf space. For years I allowed myself to be the Plan B friend; the one you only call when your first plan doesn’t work out. And because I was so desperate to have friends, I would jump at the chance to be this girl.
It isn’t until years and a handful of true friends later that I have discovered something - I wasn’t the apple after all. I was the picker.
These girls were probably incredible friends… to each other. They probably called each other back and came to all of their parties. They probably had their own inside jokes and never gossiped about each other. They probably checked in on one another when they were sick, or tired, or depressed. They were probably the greatest of friends, and I am so happy for them. They just weren’t that great to me. And I allowed myself to stay bound to those relationships because I was a cheap, frantic, desperate-for-anything picker.
I thought I was the apple and didn’t have a say in it all, but I was wrong. I chose them.
I had some serious picker problems that caused me to continue to choose the worst fruit time and time again. After years of getting sick from the things I was allowing into my life, I thought it was best to fix the problem at the root.
So I dug down deep and discovered three things that were hindering me from having honest relationships. And I worked at them. Truth be told, I sometimes still have to work at them. But from someone who has struggled with this her whole life, I can say now that I have chosen some pretty incredible friends. And if you find yourself needing some of those kinds of friends too, then this is what I would say to you…
1. You are not IN A HURRY
When we operate in a panicked state there is never a shortage of mistakes. We take short cuts, make terrible decisions and then make excuses for those decisions, all because we are in a rush. Slow down, girls! What’s the hurry? Yes it completely sucks to eat your lunch alone and not have a guaranteed partner for every assignment given in class, but you know what’s even worse? Being told you never meant anything to them after five years of doing everything they wanted to do. Or being pushed to do things you know you shouldn’t be doing. Or becoming a person you swore you would never be. There are far worse things than being lonely, and YOU CAN WAIT! If you don’t slow down you could jump into the very friendship that will cause you to walk away from God altogether, and friends- nothing is worth sacrificing your right-standing with God. This life means nothing if you don’t have that. So slow down.
James 4:4 “Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
2. You are not A BEGGAR
You do not have to beg for people to be your friend. You are amazing and funny and worthy of real friendship. Girls who think they are “less than” forfeit their right to choose (remember, “beggars can’t be choosers”), but you are not less than. Sure your pants may be from goodwill, the only date you could get to your senior prom was your sister, and your idea of playing a sport was joining the marching band (ok maybe that was all just me) but none of those things in any way can take away from the fact that you are flippin amazing and have the right to choose who you want to be in your life. So be choosy… super choosy.
Proverbs 12:26 “The righteous should CHOOSE his friends CAREFULLY, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.”
Proverbs 18:24 “The man of too many friends [chosen indiscriminately] will be broken in pieces and come to ruin, but there is a [true, loving] friend who [is reliable and] sticks closer than a brother.” AMP
3. You are not PERFECT
While you are deciding the perfect formula for what makes a good friend and what character traits/convictions she should possess, don’t forget that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)… even Y-O-U. We can have a list a mile long but if we aren’t willing to be held to the same standards then our lists are of no worth. Be the kind of friend that you would be honored to have. Be thoughtful, and a good listener, and a secret keeper, and encouraging, and forgiving, and loving, and humble. To make friendship truly work how it was meant to, we need to be 1 Corinthians 13 in action (FYI this chapter wasn’t written for a romantic love, it was meant to be an example of how we love each other). So love well.
Proverbs 17:9 “He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends.”
Friendship is hard and finding a friend is only a fraction of the battle (trust us and stay tuned for Pt. 2 for help with that part). But don’t hang your head in despair if you haven’t found the Jonathon to your David (bible reference); let’s agree in prayer together that God has a few great friends coming your way! He knows that it “isn’t good to be alone”, so trust that He wants friendship for you too. Let’s work on our #PickerProbs and learn to slow down, be choosy, and love well!
*All of this practice with picking friends will come in handy more than you realize, especially when you think you have found someone you want to share more than just some of your life with... trust us! When that time does come, read this post again with that special someone in mind. And remember to always SLOW DOWN - BE CHOOSY - LOVE WELL