As 2016 draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on the relationships that I have been blessed with over the course of my life. In particular, I am grateful for the handful of deep and extremely meaningful friendships that I have been privileged to enjoy.

I am fortunate to have many acquaintances and several good friends, but I keep a short list of people who I refer to privately as my “anchors”. These individuals do not know that I refer to them in this way, but they are the 10 to 12 people in my life who I know without fail I can count on for pretty much anything, and they can anticipate much the same from me, as well.

Some of my anchors I have known since childhood, while others I have only known for the past for four or five years. I’ve learned that for the anchors, the quantity of time is less important than the quality and depth of the relationships. However, on average, I’ve known most of my anchors for 10 or more years – and some for a while more than that!

My anchors come from all different backgrounds: Most of them are women, but there is one man on the list; most of them share my faith, but several of them don’t; and all of them are at or near my age and stage in life.

With my anchors, it really doesn’t matter how often we connect. Sometimes, it’s multiple times a year, or multiple times a month, and in other rare cases it may be once or twice every few years. The key thing with an anchor is that the conversation is seamless, and even after a significant amount of time has elapsed, the dialogue still flows effortlessly, and the deep and abiding trust inherent to the relationship is still present. 

Sadly, I have had an anchor or two drop off the list. The one person I have in mind now appeared to have anchor potential; regrettably, when different and more (apparently) compelling circumstances entered her life, our friendship began to fade. I do not wish her ill, but still occasionally grieve the loss of the friendship that we once had.

Anyway, there is no point in dwelling on the past. Today, I am grateful for the anchor friendships that I presently enjoy. If you think of what a real anchor actually does, its purpose is to keep a boat where it is supposed to be, regardless of what is happening outside. It’s true that the boat may move, but with the anchor in place, that boat will not go very far.

In the same way, God has used my anchor friends to keep me rooted in the place where He has me to be. Even if some of the anchors are not Christian, these people are able to speak into my life in a way that is extremely valuable. While I certainly seek and receive counsel from Christian friends, I also recognize that God works through many different kinds of vessels. He may choose to speak to someone whose faith tradition is different than mine, and so I try to keep an open mind. It doesn’t mean that I agree with everything that the person may say – and some things I’ve had to flat-out disregard – but I try to be open to hearing what is being shared with me, and then sifting these insights through the truth of the Bible. 

As I enter 2017, perhaps the Lord will introduce a few more anchors into my life; however, I am thankful for the ones I already have. I’m not looking to “grow” the number of anchors I presently have, but rather to enhance the quality of these relationships, so that they continue to grow in depth and love.

Do you have anchors in your life? If so, have you considered giving God thanks and praise for these priceless relationships? 

Here is my prayer for today: Dear Jesus, thank You for my anchor friends. Each relationship is a blessing from You, and I thank You for bringing and keeping these women (and one man) in my life. As we approach a new year, I ask for a special blessing for each of my anchor friends. For those who are followers of Christ, I pray that they will continue to grow in their knowledge of You; and for the anchors who do not know You, Lord, I pray that You will move heaven and earth to shake up the circumstances of their lives so that they will desire to have a personal relationship with You. For all of the anchors, I ask that You place a hedge of protection around their loved ones, their health, their careers, their minds, and their hearts. I also ask You to make me the kind of friend who is worthy of the label of “anchor”. In Your name I pray, Amen. 

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