I remember the very first time I realized how much of an influence my circle of friends was, how quickly I found myself talking just like them, acting like them, even picking up some of the same mannerisms. Don’t get me wrong – many of these things were good to pick up. But, many of them – maybe not so much. I even remember picking up a bit of a southern accent when I lived in the south. I’d always wished that would stick with me, but nope – I have my Michigan, like-no-other talk back. (It’s NOT an accent, okay?) And that’s okay with me 😉
Last night I heard one of my all-time favorite preachers say that you can glance back at the last 15 text messages in your phone to get an idea of who will influence you going forward just this year. So I did what every other person who listened to that message probably did – I glanced at my phone and scrolled through my last 15 messages.
Marilyn & Keith (they count as one:), Sarah, Pat, Shelly, Jean, Edna, Ruth, Stephanie, Carrie, Jeff & Diane (they also count as one ;), Carrie, Ian, Rory & Holly (again – count as one!), & Jerry.
I’m still laughing at it telling myself, “Um, I’m okay with that!”
It seems like especially over the past ten years, the influence others have in my life has become more evident to me. I just seem to be more aware of it. There’s certainly something to be learned from every relationship – even the seasonal ones have taught me much. And as much as I hate to admit it, looking back, I’m confident that others are thankful I’ve only been a seasonal friend in their lives too! Yikes!
Glancing through my last 15, here are some of the things I love, about the people I love, who will be influencing my life!
Calmness, wisdom. Prayer warriors to storm heaven like nobody’s business. Kindness, true friendship, the kind that lovingly gives me truth when I need it. People that see when I’m in a place where I just need someone to lead me back to what matters most. Friends who never stop praying. People who see the good in everyone. Thoughtfulness. Friends who – the wiser they become, the more humble they are. Always teachable. Always learning. Family friendships. People who pay attention and notice when someone is not smiling much, then make themselves available for all the right reasons. Friends who are willing to walk into the middle of the messiest parts of your life because they want you to be more like Christ. Generosity. Humor. Integrity. People who walk into wherever they are lead to walk, to love the unloveable, the rejected people that society throws out, and they do in order to lift them up and lead them to the Cross where they can see how much worth they have to Christ. People who love others with no agenda of their own, see the best in them, and show me how to have faith as small as a mustard seed in what the world thinks should be the most frightening of times. People who put all of their eggs in one basket – in Christ alone.
I’m more than okay with how God has arranged my current circle of influence and people I get to call friends. And I’m so thankful that I could keep going down past 15 and being okay with the next 15 that followed the first 15!
My wish for you today is not that you become anything at all like me. I’m wicked and foolish at my very best! But thank God for his grace, He has surrounded me with those above, and even a few more. I wish for you to get some friends like mine! Sounds like the year is looking swell!
“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,
but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 13:20