Are you considered the strong friend out of your circle? Are you the strong friend that is always there for everyone? Are you the strong friend who silently goes through storms alone? Or do you have a strong friend who always appears to have it all together? Have you taken the time to check on your strong friend? Some of us may be the strong friend and forget that it is OK to not be OK.

My spiritual sistah kicked off one of our many amazing conversations at my birthday dinner with the following questions “Brandi what were you thankful for this year? And what are you looking forward to at 34”?. I replied “I am thankful for growth. I grew so much this year and am a completely different person. I love the woman that I have become. I am looking forward to God blessing me with more at 34”. After we made a toast for my birthday, she was then led by the Holy Spirit to ask our friend “How are you doing?”. That’s when the Holy Spirit filled the atmosphere and the conversation turned into a releasing session.  As our friend began to truly express herself, that’s when the tears began to fall.  She shared things with us that we would have never guessed she was struggling with because she is one of the “strong friends”. We were all compelled to  take turns asking each other “How are you doing?”. We each shared parts of us that we have been holding in because we all play the role of the strong friend. From grieving silently, to battling negative thoughts, to dealing with moments of insecurities, to asking God when is it my turn, these were just some of the things that we all released. What was once known as the dinner table became an altar which took us all by surprise.

What we all had in common at that very moment was the fact that we all were struggling or struggled with situations that we were able to release because of the question “How are you?”. We often post pictures on social media appearing to be living our best life that we never thought to check on each other to ask if “she” is ok. We automatically assumed that everything was ok in “her” life that we continued to hit the like button or leave a comment under the picture about how “she’s” out here slaying. We never took the time to truly delve in and check on each other’s emotional, mental, and spiritual state until that night. God’s presence was truly felt and it shed light on the meaning of “check on your strong friend”. After the trip my spiritual sistah was led to come up with the idea to start having a weekly call to pray, vent, share good news, and express our feelings of not being ok with all of our other strong friends! We are all women of God who root for each other, celebrate each other’s life changing events, support each other, and pray for one another. What better way to sharpen friends collectively than to touch base weekly to make sure we are all Ok.

You may be the strong friend out of your group and I want to let you know that you don’t have to always have it all together. Let your guard down and take your strong friend hat off.  I want to encourage you that it’s OK to not be Ok.  Let someone check on you for once and give an honest and truthful answer about how you’re really doing. Or perhaps you have a strong friend that you haven’t checked on. Instead of going to them with what’s going on with you, take the time to ask them how they are doing. Let them know that you care about them and are concerned about their wellbeing. You never know what people are going through behind their smile or their response of “I’m doing good” when you ask how they are doing. Friendships should be a two way street and are made to sharpen, encourage, and build each other up.