Monday, March 23, 2009

No Sacred Cow

Ben and I had a pastor in our lives that always said that there was "no sacred cow" when it came to how he approached ministry.  It meant that he was always evaluating how the church was running programs and various things...if it once was working and serving a purpose but over time became more tradition than ministry, then it was sacred cows.

It's stuck with me.  It makes sense to me.  

It's easy in life to make things sacred that were never meant to be sacred.  Changing something does not mean that it's a bad thing, or that it never served its purpose, it just means that currently, it's time for something different.

I like to use the no sacred cow idea in my life outside of ministry as well.  From anything as simple as hair products to the more complicated, like relationships.

My life, like yours, is chuck full of relationships.  And lately, I've noticed I'm having trouble just keeping up with people.  Old friends, new friends, bloggy friends, family, ministry, on and on.  The end result usually leaves me feeling guilty.

Guilty that I don't talk with so and so anymore, guilty that one friendship takes priority over another, guilty that I haven't made that call, written that note, sent that card, left that comment...followed up on their life.  My lack of doing any of those things in no way reflects on how If feel about that person, it reflects my priorities.

And that's where I find my sacred cow.  The sacred cow of friendships.  

Don't ya just love those friends who you haven't talked to in forever, but the moment you have a chance to catch up, it feels like you pick right up where you left off?!?  Those are the friendships that last, that survive, because both people understand that life goes on...and sometimes, it goes on without each other, but it doesn't mean the friendship is gone, it just means it's's always just looks and feels differently than before.  

I've been seeking out God's help on this stuff...big time.  I need Him to show me which friendships need more focus, and which ones are changing.  As I was mulling my thoughts over with Ben, he shared something that really hit me.  It was something to do with Chemistry and atoms...and I will of course butcher the explanation because of my complete idiocy in all things science...but it was something to do with atoms and molecules and how only so many molecules can be grouped together at a time.  If there's too many they break off and form another group.  (Ben and my chemistry teacher are hanging their heads in shame right now ;)

That analogy though is so true.  As women, we grow and change and "break off" so that we can be blessed by new friendships.  It doesn't mean the old one is broken or bad, it means that in order to bless and be blessed by new friends, we've got to be willing to let go of the all the time invested in the old ones and invest some in the new.

"Make new friends, but keep the old..."  You know the song.  Seriously, I should have just stuck to the bullet list form because I've even lost myself in this post!  Good luck to ya'll! ;)

It boils down to this:
  • I'm learning to appreciate all of the friendships God has blessed me with.
  • Some of those are going to require more time than others.
  • No need to feel guilty.
  • Those old friendships, that require the least maintenance are often the best.
  • Let go of the guilt.
  • I can't "be there" for every friend.  Even if I want to, I'm not meant too.  Not meant to.
  • Letting go of the guilt that was never supposed to be there in the first place...
  • See a theme?
So, to all my old friends:  I love you.  You know I do.  I think of you...I remember our history, it's part of me.  You're just as important to me as you always were.

To my new friends:  Our everyday lives cross paths continually.  We share children in the same grades, neighbors, everydayness.  I'm thankful to be sharing this part of the journey with you, and know that someday, many of you will be in the old friends category.

To my bloggy friends:  Your uniqueness and sweetness entertains me endlessly.  The fact that you've read this far is frankly amazing :)  Keep writing.

To my family:  You get the shaft sometimes.   You get the tired and worn out version of me sometimes.  The fact that you love me regardless is what makes us family.  Love you.

To my Julie:  You are one of the newest investments of time in our lives.  I look forward each and every day to your are a part of our lives in so many ways, already.  You soon will be family...and you will get the shaft sometimes...because that's what family does ;)  Love you already.


  1. I completely know the guilt you're talkin' about....and I, too, want to just let it go. Thanks for the encouragement!

    You're such a special many are blessed to call you friend.

    Me included. :-)

  2. I just told Jenni the other day that someday... the three of us will be back grown.... and we'll be together so much we get sick of each other... someday!
    Looking forward to being sick of you. *smile*

  3. GREEEEat post! :) Even though you don't think you do, you have a way with words!! ;) I especially like the part about talking with old friends and it's like you pick up where you left off.....that is indeed true friendship.

  4. Totally get what you're saying! I'm going through this season right now with a few friendships that have naturally shifted. I still like these women, but our lives are moving in different directions. And that is okay! I think sometimes we try to hang on too tightly because of all that guilt - it's hard to let that go, isn't it?

  5. SO true. Our Sunday school lesson kinda dealt with friendships, and Superman said how much he appreciated his friends from childhood where he could call up like every few months, and they could pick up just where they left off.

    I have three super close friends -- BFFs who I would do anything for and they would do anything for me, and then I have a circle of close friends...It's a growing circle, and it's so nice to have friends you can count on for prayer, support, and just to experience life together. =)

  6. Aww.
    I love you guys too :)

  7. You are the sweetest, truest person I come in contact with on a daily basis!

    Thanks for being "you" and sharing this with us!

  8. Great post Sarah! In my life I find myself not staying in contact with the friend that matters the most... Jesus. It truly is all about priorities. I tend to spend to much time on the phone with friends or my sister and not enough time with my precious Savior. You are my dear friend and whether I've talked to you 3 times in one week or haven't talked to you in 3 weeks our friendship will always be a treasure to me. Love you!

  9. Very interesting thoughts. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Oh Sarah, it's like you are writing everything that's been in my heart and I haven't had time (ha!) to voice.

    Last Tuesday my roomie from college drove in to see me. We spent six hours together eating dinner and hanging out in the student center on campus. We hadn't seen each other in 2 years, hadn't talked on the phone in 6 months, but it was like no time at all had passed. I left feeling full and overjoyed and SO THANKFUL for the friendships that just "are" - those that don't require work to keep it going.

    This might sound a little callused, but after my evening with her, I decided it was time to cut some ties on friendships I've been hanging onto that require more time and energy than they do benefits (most leftover from college). There just isn't enough time in the world - for anyone! You are so right in that the best and true friendships are those that never seem to miss a beat. I'm blessed to have about 5 women with whom I have relationships like that. I still love my acquaintances, but like you I'm getting rid of the guilt.

    Great analogy with the sacred cows and the molecules! :) I'm sure Ben is very proud!

  11. Oh Sarah! Wow.
    This spoke to me in so many ways.....
    At first I was thinking about how churches have their "sacred cows"---things thay have to have said "or else" the pastor might get the boot for changing the worship service......and then you had to go and bring up friendship.....I think that gets to be a sacred cow for a lot of women....but for me it definately becomes one of those things I have to give to God repeatedly.....I think being the "pw" makes it even more so.....that longing for REAL friends that you can share things with. Thanks for this today. I definately needed bears repeating for me over and over again!

  12. Ah, as an oldie, but goodie, I totally understand. It's so great to keep in touch with you via our online world! And I know if I ever need you I can find ya, and vice versa! Love ya always! Shell

  13. That's the one part I like about blogging...just log on and you are caught up.
    Friends do require work, just like marriages and children. And it's up to each of us to determine how vested we want to be...
    And there should never be guilt involved.

  14. That atom and molecule thing so true. And I'm going to use the example next time one of those old friends comes up and tries to make me feel guilty for not spending time with them anymore.

    I have lots of friends that I still see on a regular basis, like at church or kids' school, but we don't hang out anymore.

    I think it all has to do with seasons of your life too. God has placed specific friends in your life for a specific time, maybe not just for your needs, but for theirs. Know what I mean?

    I've struggled with similar guilt in the past, but don't really anymore. I'm over it. If a friendship becomes a burden or something that makes you feel guilty, we need to reevaluate. Some friendships just make me tired. Others I adore and can't wait to be with those friends again.

    It's all about seasons. Things are different for me now than 5 or even 3 years ago.

    This is too long of a comment. Wish we could just talk on the phone sometimes. But that might be weird.

  15. I have to say that I agree with you on the whole Sacred Cow thing.. I need to implement that into my daily life. And as far as the friendships go, I agree with you.whole heartedly. There is nothing that will keep some of my friends away and the others are welcome to come and go as they please. I am getting too old to worry about being invited to everything and worry about if I am someones best friend!

    Great Post!!! Loved it!

  16. Great post Sarah - You scared me at first. I thought you were leading up to stopping your blogging (a sacred cow)! But of course spending time with real live people could never be more important than your cyber-friends right??
    Good, I'm so relieved! besides, we don't require you to make any coffee or serve us dessert or anything! Whew!

  17. Today I fell like this post was meant for ME!

    I've been struggling with keeping up with some "old" friends, who really I've grown apart from. And yup, had some guilt. But I'm moving on. No sacred cow.

    I like it. I like it alot.

  18. Thank you for this post!!! I have been feeling like this alot lately.

    Especially with the old friends. I seem to be losing contact with them. And I don't like it one bit.

    I know my life is busy now because of my family life. And I wouldn't change that either.

    I am glad to know that I am not the only one who feels like this

  19. It's all about balance, isn't it? I know I tend to let my priorities get all out of whack, and I feel badly if I can't give all of my friends, real and bloggy the same attention. And sometimes it just isn't possible. Great reminder to just let the guilt go.

  20. I appreciate you sharing your "Sacred Cow" lesson with's something from which we can all glean! :) Wow...that sentence sounds too professional-like without the preposition at the end...

  21. Oh the guilt...I feel it too. I'm working on letting it go. Balancing all life's relationships is a tough job.

  22. I completely identify with what you're talking about. It's a constant push/pull feeling with all the many people I want to stay in contact with but also needing to balance that with family and other responsiblities.
    I really think you did a great job on the explanation of the atom thing! As you can see I'm no science person either but it made perfect sense to me!

  23. This was a great post! It is hard to keep up with everybody.


  24. You have no idea how this post speaks to a very current thing I've dealt with just this past week. It would take too long to explain, but let's just say I am so grateful for friends who expect no more than they give. And you being a pw, you know how rare those are! :))

    YOu're awesome..!

  25. this is why i like reading your blog... you have a great way of writing & putting things into words. this is great for me to read today. thanks

  26. I just re-read this and am thanking you for writing it!

    I read it over the phone to my girlfriend and it was just what she and I needed to hear!

    Blessings Sarah!


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