Relationships are vitally important. We were designed to have a relationship with God and with others. Relationships are powerful to the extent that they determine our destination. They are emotional bonds shared with someone outside ourselves and they have a significant impact on the way we think and act. Given the powerful nature of relationships, caution must be exercised when forming them. Not every relationship is beneficial or should be admitted to the inner circle. Those that are, must be carefully guarded if you are going to live into your greatness. Those that aren’t must be identified and avoided, for who we align with influences our level of passion as we pursue our God-given destiny. If you are ready to live passionately and fearlessly, start by examining your relationships.

There are many different categories of relationships. Some are healthy and mutually beneficial. Others siphon off vital energy and give nothing back. At any given time, each of us has had someone in our relationship circle from both these categories. Human beings are complicated, and it is not always easy to discern the true nature of each relationship. Nevertheless, when you are seeking to live into your fullness, it is essential to do so. A life lived, passionately and fearlessly will require you to identify and then eliminate freeloaders, fakes, flakes and fueders from your inner circle, reserving that space for genuine friends.

  1. Freeloaders are people who do not add value to your life. These are people who extract your time, energy, creativity, money, etc. without giving you anything in return. Freeloaders are predators who prey on your generosity, take up your time, and add nothing to your pursuit of living your best life.
  2. Fakes are phony, counterfeit relationships. They are the “great pretenders.” They often try to manipulate and dominate your perceptions, especially your relationship with them. There isn’t anything genuine about them that can be advantageous to you. They can be resentful of your visionary perspective. Often jealousy of your greatness, they will act to distract you from it. Fakes are not individuals you can trust with your dreams for they are both very capable and willing to betray you.
  3. Flakes are the imbalanced relationships. They tend to exhibit extreme behavior, which, at the outset of a relationship, can sometimes appear to be selfless dedication to some cause or principle. In reality, they are averse to following any clear direction, and they do not see things through. Instead, they feed upon every emotional lure that comes along. If you turn to them for advice, they have nothing valuable to give you, as they are dominated by self-serving emotion, and do not think beyond themselves. Since their perspective is most likely skewed, their advice will be skewed as well.
  4. Feuders thrive on drama. If there isn’t any drama occurring, they will provide it. Drama is how they insert false meaning into their own lives, and they are often referred to as “Drama Queens.” They bring chaos and confusion with them and take up all of your time insisting that you listen to stories about their involvement in some situation or other. Because they thrive on chaos, feuders have no interest in following good advice. Don’t waste your time or energy trying to help them resolve situations they’ve created. They don’t want it. They just want to make you another character in their ongoing drama. They will do just the opposite of your advice to keep the drama alive ultimately will give your enemies access to you. They love a long-running argument and are completely detrimental to your pursuit of living passionately and fearlessly.
  5. True Friends: Pearls of Great Price on the other hand, are the people in your inner circle who you can depend on to go the distance with you. They are your trusted confidants. They share your passion and are not afraid of your greatness. When you are struggling, friends are those who believe in you, who are honest with you, and who will pick you up and help you to refocus. They celebrate with you when it’s time for celebration and cry with you when you are broken. Friends are honest, loyal and trustworthy. Only friends deserve a spot in your inner circle.

Relationships are a vital key to your pursuit of greatness. Anyone who has ever achieved greatness did not arrive at their destination alone. Their inner circle, their friends were there with them. These are the ones who believed in them when they stopped believing in themselves. You need friends. Reserve your inner circle for true friends. As for freeloaders, fakes, flakes and feuders, banish them to the outskirts of your life. If you choose to spend time with them, understand they bring no added value to your life. If you have to spend time with them, and sometimes lie has a way of throwing you where you have to interact with people like them, understand they bring no added value to you. Learn how to create and maintain boundaries between yourself and them. Keep them at arm’s length, refuse to admit them emotionally, and limit the amount of time you give to them.

 The passionate pursuit of your greatness will require a considerable amount of time and energy. Freeloaders, fakes, flakers and feuders will inject emotional toxins that both detract and distract from your dedication. They have no place in your life, whereas your inner circle of trusted friends is precious beyond anything. Value it and guard it with all wisdom.