“You can grow up, make new ones
But the truth is there’s nothing like old friends
‘Cause you can’t make old friends”Ben Rector
Old friends know you better than anyone else. They know your past which can help you understand your present. When someone knows you for such a long time he/she has a unique perspective on your life.
The people who know where you have been are the most equipped to help you get where you want to be.
These people lived with you in the middle of the heartbreaks, the victories, and the laughs. Life is a journey. A bumpy, beautiful journey. Although the journey is unpredictable, we can always strive for growth.
Asking good questions is a key to growth. Old friends will say things that new friends won’t. Old friends can give you perspective into your life that new friends are only just beginning to understand. When we ask old friends good questions then it can help us know ourselves better, grow closer to new friends, and take action to become who we are made to be.
Here are 4 questions that I love to ask old friends:
I. What would you say my mission is in life?
The first step before you ask this question to an old friend is to ask yourself this question. What is my mission statement? The truth is that there are times when our verbal mission statement for life does not match the mission statement that people see us live everyday. If your mission statement doesn’t match what your friend thinks your mission statement is then it could be time to readjust.
II. How have you seen me grow the most?
Usually, the places where you have grown the most are the places you were challenged the most. When you live through tough challenges then it can be hard to see how you have grown because you lived through the small, daily changes. As I help raise our pup child, Ollie, I don’t notice when he grows a little bit each day, but when we visit friends they always say that he has grown so much. You see the small steps, but old friends can help you see the leaps.
III. What are my greatest gifts?
I don’t mean talents. There are gifts and then there are talents. You can be talented in singing, but not have the gift to lead people in worship. You can be talented at public speaking, but not gifted at preaching. Spiritual gifts can feel lofty and intangible sometimes. Today, we have spiritual gift assessments, but those are not a perfect science. Honestly, it is ironic to think we can assess the spirit’s work in our hearts with an online quiz. An old friend can have insight where a quiz can fail.
IV. How can I be better?
I know this is vague. That is the point. Your friend can take this wherever they see fit. It could lead to how to be a better friend, follower of Christ, or better spouse. The question is meant to make you face where you lack. Warning: don’t let insecurity creep in. Growth makes us face the places of us that we have ignored in the past. Yet, when we face those dark places in ourselves and open them to the love of God then transformation takes place.
ps. You may have to pull a real answer out of them. When you ask this question people won’t know why or what you are looking for so they may answer with what they think you want to hear. Keep leaning in.
Growth is always a goal. We are either growing towards Jesus or away from him. We grow from victory, not for victory. Jesus has won. Rest in his victory, but grow to fight the sin within you knowing that you will fail. Any growth that I talk about is from a place of victory, not of defeat. Growth is for the sake of sanctification, not for justification.
These questions are pointed to help us get unstuck and to move us to action. They help us confront our past and where we have failed. Even though it is hard to hear; it is good. It is how we grow.