Friendships aren’t just for fairy tales: Who is your support system?

Snow White is one smart lady. I realized this tonight while reading a bedtime story to my kids.

I’m not referring to the incident with the tainted apple. Clearly that was a weak moment. I’m talking about how she chose to surround herself with seven amazing friends who she could go to no matter how she was feeling.
In case you need a reminder, there is Dopey, Bashful, Doc, Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy, and Grumpy. Let’s review them.

Feeling goofy? Need a laugh? Dopey is your guy.
Having a bad day and need a friend to complain to? Grumpy’s there to help you get all that frustration out so you can vent and move on with life.
Need a little cheering up? Here comes Happy with his cheerful personality just dying to put a smile back on your face.
Doc is the wise caretaker who despite being a little forgetful and odd always gives the very best advice.
Then there’s Bashful. Sweet, innocent, precious Bashful. A little irritating, but impossible not to love. Just try and be upset or sad when he’s around. You can’t do it.
Sneezy is the one who makes your problems seem small. If this sickly guy can make it through the day, you certainly can too. In fact you probably ignore his calls because you can’t bear to hear his list of ailments — again.
And finally, Sleepy. Easy going and calm. He’s the friend who tells you to just relax and get some sleep. And he’s always right.

Every one of us needs a social support system like Snow White. No matter what she faced — bitter, jealous mother-in-law or a tough day managing the kingdom — she had a handful of adoring friends waiting to help her. If we were able to utilize the people that God sent to us to help us get though this crazy, confusing, wonderful life the same way that Snow White did, I believe we would all be much better off. And to do that we have to have a support system in place. Not just one person that we keep going back to again and again. We need a system.

I am incredibly blessed to have three very special friends in my life. They are the ones I turn to in good times and in bad…and those I-don’t-want-to-talk-about-it-but-just-sit-here-with-me really, really bad times. They are the ones who help me navigate this world of balancing work and family. They know my past and have helped me heal and they know my dreams, and encourage me when I don’t think I can accomplish what they believe I can. They are as vital to my survival as those seven precious dwarfs were to Snow White when they hid her in their cottage. They adored her despite the fact that she was often more trouble than they bargained for. And they were supportive and happy for her when it was time for her to move on and marry her Prince.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my husband and while he is my best friend, he is not my only friend. And I am sure he is just as grateful as I am that I have other people to go to when I need to complain or rummage through flea markets for a little cheap retail therapy. I have at times in my life made the mistake of shutting people out and only relying on myself or only confiding in my spouse. That didn’t work for me. God never intended for us to be alone. He created us to desire relationships — with Him and with the people He has placed in our lives. Some are meant for specific seasons of life. Others will remain a constant. Either way, those relationships help shape who we are.

There was a study released this week that found 1 in 4 working moms admits to crying at least once a week. I’ll admit it, I am incredibly emotional and have been known to cry easily because of stress or plain exhaustion, but I was surprised by this statistic. The study said many of the women reported crying because they felt overwhelmed and didn’t have the right support system “to get it all done.” While I know there are times each week that I have to stop and take a deep breath or go outside and call my girlfriend to regroup, I am blessed to say that I never feel like I have nowhere to turn. And that’s because of my support system.

It’s so important that we are being intentional about the relationships in our lives that can help us be stronger, happier, healthier people. We must invest time into our friendships and doing the things that help reenergize our spirit. I bet if we all really thought about it we could name a couple good friends or a colleague who would be willing to grab a cup of coffee and listen to us share a frustration or give us advice on how to get through a tough project or difficult time.

If you’re really lucky, you may even have seven.

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