This assignment from Papa is one of the most difficult ones in recent years and I’m not sure why I am having such a hard time with a story.  Maybe because it is a little bit vague.  When I think of “following”, many things come to mind.  “Follow the Leader” was a popular game to play on the playground when I was in school.  “Don’t be a follower” is a phrase that I have heard many times from many people.  “Follow the rules” is one that is ingrained in all of us from a young age.  “Follow directions” is something that the men in my family sometimes ignore – especially when it comes to assembling any type of furniture, electronic device, or toy.

I suppose the most important thing for me is to “follow my instinct”.  What does this mean?  Following your instinct is to trust that your “gut”, your “inner voice”, or maybe it is God that tells you what is the right thing to do or the right decision to make.  Joe will tell you that I have an “intuition” about people.  I can meet someone new (particularly in a business setting), and after only a few minutes I feel as though I can assess what type of person they are – whether they are trustworthy or whether they will fit in with the company culture.  I know that it sounds weird, but I am mostly spot on with my instinct.  Once I met a new employee that CBeyond had recently hired in a senior position.  It was in a casual social gathering, so I met and conversed with her briefly.  Afterwards, I asked Joe about her and he indicated that he had been part of the hiring process to bring her in.  I made the statement that I was pretty sure that she would not fit in with the other executives and the company culture and that she would not last long.  Sure enough, only a short time later she was asked to leave, and it ended up costing the company a lot of money to send her on her way.

The best advice I can give you each of you is to follow your instinct when it comes to picking your friends.  Make sure your friends are Christians first and foremost, and this will eliminate MANY problems in your future.  Surround yourself with people who care about others, who are hard workers, who have the same value system as yourself.   This goes for boyfriends and girlfriends as well as just every day friends.  If you would be embarrassed to have your “friends” over for dinner to meet your parents, then that is your instinct telling you that you do not have the right kinds of friends.  At the ripe old age of almost 50 (yikes) – I count myself blessed in so many ways by the friendships that I have with people from all phases of my life – from high school, college, and from the years spent raising kids, my friends have helped me through difficult times and celebrated with me over triumphs.  They have prayed with me and for me in so  many situations and I could not have gotten through without them.  So far I have seen in my children that they are learning how to pick the right types of friends and I hope that this continues for them as they grow.

Hope you are all having a wonderful week!