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True Friends
By Joel Osteen - Aug 31, 2009
Years ago, there was a young lady who worked for us at the ministry. She grew up in a small town and moved to Houston in her mid-twenties. She was a very bright and talented young girl, but I noticed that she never drove to work. She always had a young man drop her off and pick her up. One day we were talking in passing and I said, “Hey, are you thinking about getting a car?” She said, “Oh, Joel, I have a car, and I used to drive everywhere in my hometown. But when I moved here, my friend told me that since the city is so big and complicated, and because I’m not used to driving on the freeways, that he would have to bring me to work every day.” I thought, “Alright. That’s fine. That’s nice for a while.” But I said, “So, when are you planning on driving?” She said, “Oh, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to drive in this city. My friend told me it’s so bad and congested.” I looked at her and said, “Can I tell you something? You are extremely talented. Do not allow anyone to convince you that you cannot drive on our freeways.” I said, “I know people who are still teenagers that are no smarter, no brighter, and no more talented than you, and they drive these freeways every single day.”

Well, she went back and told that young man what I had said. He responded by saying, “I don’t know about that. It’s dangerous. You may get lost.” However, about a month later, I saw her and her face was beaming. She said, “Joel, I drove by myself to work today.” “That’s great!” I said, “I knew you could do it.” Then I asked her how she liked driving on the freeways. She said, “Oh, I don’t drive on the freeways. I just drive on the side streets.” It took her twice as long to get to work than it should have, but I encouraged her, “That’s great! You keep it up and don’t settle for the side streets.” Just one month later, she was driving on the freeways. Today she goes everywhere. Here’s what’s interesting, that young man who wanted her to stay off the roads is no longer around. He was only interested in her if he could keep her pushed down. He wanted her to feel like she always owed him something.

I want to encourage you today; your true friends won’t try to hold you back. They want to see you rise higher. They want you to grow and excel. You don’t need people in your life who are enabling a limitation or dysfunction. If you will be willing to let them go, God will bring the right people along your path. He’ll bring you people who will challenge and inspire you. He’ll bring you people who will support and uplift you, people who will cheer you on so that you can embrace the abundant life God has for you!
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