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What is the state of your soul?

My friends and I first started asking each other that question when we were in college, oftentimes over lunch in the student lounge in between classes. We would plop ourselves down in the seat across from one another with a “Hi, friend! What is the state of your soul?”

Far more than a simple “how are you,” this was a genuine invitation to let down your guard and share what was going on in your life physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Honest answers required vulnerability, and so I typically reserved the question for a small group of close friends and confidants—my people. My women.

The group of women who I consider to be my women has evolved and changed since college. Some of those young ladies from college are still part of my inner circle, and new friends have been added along the way, too. Many of them have never met one another. Each woman is unique, but they all share a handful of the same characteristics. If you were to ask me for the key to finding your women, I would tell you to look for these three things:

Find women who will laugh with you.

My friends make my life fun, whether we’re having a night in to watch old movies, taking off on spontaneous adventures, or simply laughing until we can’t breathe. After all, laughter is one of life’s greatest simple pleasures, and laughter with friends is even better.

Surround yourself with women who will celebrate life’s joys with you. More than likely, they will be the ones who will cry and mourn with you during life’s disappointments and heartaches, because sometimes life is hard, too.

Find women who will push you to do hard things.

When I am trying to get out of doing something, I have a few friends who always ask me, “Are you saying ‘no’ because you think it is going to be hard? Or do you have a better reason?” I am pretty sure they know me better than I know myself, and I know they believe in me more than I do, too. They constantly push me to grow into all God has created me to be.

Growth is often uncomfortable. It is difficult. It requires stretching, learning, and usually at least some measure of failure. Find women who will push you out of your comfort zone, to do things you do not think you can do. They will be with you to catch you when you fall, cheer you on when you doubt yourself, and congratulate you on a job well-done.

Most importantly, find women who will point you to Jesus.

A few years ago, I was going through a particularly difficult season of life. It felt like everything was going wrong, and I was feeling very overwhelmed. I vividly remember my friend looking me in the eye and cupping her hand. She pointed to her palm and said, “He has you right here.” And then she hugged me tight and prayed for me, reminding me of the truth and pointing me to Jesus.

 Find friends who will pray with you and for you, who will serve the Lord alongside you, and who will remind you of the truth when you need it the most. These friendships will be some of the closest relationships you will ever have.

How do you know when you’ve found your women? The answer will likely be different for everyone. But if you are looking for one simple way, find women who will ask you “What is the state of your soul?” and provide a safe place for you to answer honestly. Once you find those women, you’ll know you’ve found your women.

Note: This article was originally published in December 2020.

Author Becki Rust

Becki Rust is the Thought Leadership Project Coordinator at the Association of Christian Schools International, where she leads project management for a wide variety of innovative and timely initiatives, programs, and events. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from The King’s College in New York City. She is the production editor for WLCE.org.

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