I took a giant leap two years ago. The kind of leap that changes life for the better. The kind of leap that reveals strength. Personal strength and the strength of friends.

Strength has developed a new meaning for me. I used to think strength meant the ability to take care of everything I had on my agenda without assistance. And to hear my friends tell me how amazing it was that I could do so many things. Accomplish so much. Be involved so many places. Be everything to everyone.

Did you know that being everything to everyone isn’t all that amazing? Being everything to my kids and my family and myself is much more fulfilling and healthy. Less stressful. Enjoyable. Life should be enjoyable.

So how did I get here? Two years ago I sought out a hometown girlfriend. A strong and focused woman to guide me during my leap. She lead me right off a cliff and into the place I find my strength each day. My physical strength and my focus. My path to strengthening my life all around. My intent from the get-go was simple and self-serving. I only wanted to get in shape and lose some lbs. & oz. my kiddos forgot to take with them upon their departure from the womb.

Therefore I started a regular fitness routine. Something I’d done before and, once in a while, I was good at it. I’d get in great shape, crush a goal and keep going.

Are You A Strong Friend   www.herviewfromhome.com

Then I’d get preoccupied elsewhere and slowly leave my goals in the dust… and not the kind kicked up by my running shoes. But this time was different. In two years seldom have I skipped a workout. I rarely take a rest day because the activity makes me feel good. Knowing I’m making myself physically stronger is a high. Hearing my friends’ encouraging and supportive words gives me emotional pleasure.

Are You A Strong Friend   www.herviewfromhome.com

I’ve been richly blessed with amazing friends. But not everyone has received that blessing. Not everyone has a circle of friends that believe in them and want them to succeed. I’ve heard stories of other women who don’t hear power words from the people they call friends. Power words come from a place of love and strength. Power words make you feel loved, cared for, understood and encouraged. Power words sound something like these phrases:

“Let’s go to lunch… I know XYZ has great salads and grilled chicken! Would that be a good place for you to eat and stay on track?” 

“I’d love to come workout with you! That sounds fun!” 

“How are you doing on reaching your goals? Is there anything I can do to help?”

 “You look great! I can tell you’ve been working hard!”

Those are words from strong women. Strength coming from God. They are confident in the relationship and faithful in their commitment to our friendship. These friends want to uplift and motivate and their words and actions do just that.

My question to you then becomes, “Are you speaking those power words to your friends? Are you lifting them up like God wants us to? Are you motivating and encouraging them in their endeavors?” If you don’t know the answer, consider these words spoken to some of my “Fighting Fab” fitness team:

“Why do you bother? I don’t see any changes.”

“Mmmm… look at my yummy pizza! Wouldn’t you rather have pizza than that salad?”

“That looks so… healthy. Do you want some cake too?”

“Just one night/meal/pop/piece of cake/etc won’t hurt you. Join us!”

Those are words of the weak. Words meant to bring down and discourage. To alienate. I’ve heard my fitness girls say that their “friends” said these things to them. I’m fairly certain that doesn’t qualify as friendship in my book. Everyone gets the chance to write their own book of course, but wouldn’t you rather fill your book with pages and pages of power words? Look closely at your words and the words of your friends. Are they power words? Strong and uplifting? Encouraging and faithful to the relationship?

If you sit, shaking your head as you read, consider taking a leap. The kind that challenges yourself and your friends. The kind that relieves you of relationships that drag you down and discourage. Trade them in for relationships that uplift and empower. Be introspective in your review of relationships. Which friend are you? Are you the strong friend?

Be the one that gives the emotional high and pushes someone towards a goal.

Be their best cheerleader.

Be a strong friend.

Kristin Herrera

A Country Girl at Heart, Kristin rediscovered her love for writing and can't get enough now. Claiming a small Central Nebraska town as home, she visits as often as possible to relax and re-energize. Her "home-home" is her source of peace, calm and inspiration. Her welcome note on her blog says it all: "I love to write and loose the thoughts that are rambling through my mind. This is where you'll find them..." www.countrygirlbootsandroots.blogspot.com.