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rich minds, rich rewards

Build Deeper Friendships

By Valorie Burton
Author and Motivational Speaker

CBNMoney.comOver the last few weeks, I've encountered people who have asked me how they can go about developing better friendships - with people who share their values and respect their unique differences.

I can relate to that sort of question because there was a time in my life, not long after I moved to Dallas in the 1990s, when I wanted a few close friendships with people who lived in my community. One day it dawned on me to set an intention to develop deeper connections - and to pray that the right friendships would cross my path. Amazingly, in a very short period of time, friendships developed with acquaintances and the deeper connections began to be made.

Good relationships are a gift from God that brings an element of richness to our lives that make even the most mundane days enjoyable. When you look back over your life, it isn't the accomplishments that have the most significance, but the people we impact and who impact us along our journey.

This week, I invite you to notice and nurture the friendships that enrich your life. And if you feel you don't have enough of such relationships in your life, perhaps now is the time to begin building them! I'd like to share a few simple ways to nurture your relationships to enrich your life:

1. Prioritize Your Life to Include Time for Friends.
In the hectic pace of your life, refuse to allow an overloaded schedule to crowd out space for connecting with the people who truly matter to you. If there is little room for your personal life, it is time to re-prioritize. Time for connecting with friends is essential to your well-being and quality of life. Whether it is a regularly scheduled lunch date, a handwritten "just thinking about you" note, or a regular phone call, be deliberate about connecting consistently.

2. Pray for the Right Friends.
At different stages of your life, what you need in a friend may change. Sometimes we outgrow friendships or move to a new place and long for the companionship of old friends. Pray that the right people will cross your path. Be willing to reach out. It was 1997 when I remember feeling that I was missing out on the richness that a personal community of close friends provides. I wanted a few like-minded women friends. I'd been in Dallas just two-and-a-half years and had just made the entrepreneurial leap. My life abounded with business colleagues and acquaintances, but I prayed for personal friendships that were not centered around work. One by one, inspiring, spiritually-grounded, fun women began showing up in my life! I believe it was the power of prayer that brought those friendships into my path.

3. Be There in the Critical Moments.
As you have probably noticed in your life, your true friends often emerge during the tough times. There are friends who will always hold a special place in my heart because of the love and support they gave me and my family during a devastating health crisis. They called, they prayed, they cooked meals, and they came to the hospital. When a friend goes through a critical moment in life, be there. You don't have to have the perfect words - just your presence and your love will mean so much.

4. Tell Your Friends You Appreciate Them.
It can be easy to appreciate a friendship, yet not tell your friend how much you appreciate it. Don't take a true friend for granted. Let your true friends know they are special to you.

5. Appreciate Them!
It is easy to identify what you want from the people in your life. But also find out what the people in your life want from you. We often give people what we would want, but what we want may not be as important to the other person. Don't waste your energy. Ask. Then listen and respond based on what they tell you.

My challenge to you this week:
Do something that will nurture your existing friendships.

Journaling assignment:
What do you most want from your friendships? What would bring that to life?

Valorie BurtonA sought-after life coach and speaker, Valorie Burton seeks to inspire people to live more fulfilling, less stressful lives. She is the author of Listen to Your Life, What’s Really Holding You Back?, Rich Minds, Rich Rewards, and her latest, Why Not You? 28 Days to Authentic Confidence.

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