Yesterday Lysa Terkeust shared a very touching and transparent post about the value and rarity of a friend who is loyal and does not gossip about you. I was inspired by Lysa's transparency and also could see into her heart in a very personal way.
As a woman who has been placed by God in a position of ministry leadership, I know firsthand how rare and precious such a friend can be. I have served in full time ministry for over 20 years and have seen both sides of the friendships of women.
I have seen lots of "friendships" come and go.
There are the deep intimate friendships that we share. The girl bonding that men can not relate to--where we share secrets, dreams, insecurities and challenges.
Those kinds of relationships amongst women are critical for a woman's health in Mind, Body and Spirit.
We need sisters that we can trust with the good, the bad and the ugly.
On the other hand, as a woman who is called to be a leader, I have also experienced far to many of the relationships that break your heart and leave you wounded and bleeding.
The ones that are only good for as long as you are doing most of the giving.
Over the years in my desparation to be a better leader, I have studied probably hundreds of leadership books. I have pretty much every John Maxwell and Andy Stanley ever written.
Lysa's post focused on trust which is always high on the leadership bar.
A leader must be able to trust her friends as well as be a trustworthy friend.
Another character trait that has been on my heart very much lately that is equally as difficult to find in a friend is INTEGRITY!
In "Developing the Leader Within You", John Maxwell says that Integrity is "The most important ingredient of leadership"
Integrity is found in a person whose words and deeds match up.
John says "integrity is difficult to find in a world that has taken to hot pursuit of personal pleasure and shortcuts to success"
In the book "Becoming a Person of Influence", John says Integrity is the foundation upon which many other qualities are built, such as respect, dignity and trust. If the foundation of integrity is weak or fundamentally flawed, then being a person of influence is impossible.
Even people who are able to temporarily justify a lack of integrity, will eventually experience failure and whatever influence that temporarily gain will disappear.
The book list the following qualities of integrity:
1) Consistency of Character
2) Honest Communication
5) Put others first
6) Keep your word
7) Embrace a servants heart
People sometimes tell us one thing but do another. The Biblical virtue of Integrity points to a consistency between what is inside of our hearts and the choices that we make, our behaviour.
What we say, what we do, our attitudes and our actions reveal the INTEGRITY of our hearts.
My life verse says it best:
"Search me O God, and know my heart;
Test me, and know my anxious thoughts,
See if there is any offensive way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting"