As iron sharpens iron, so one sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
“Surround yourself with good people Cassidy, you’ll be surprised of the consequences if you don’t.” My parents said this to me every so often while growing up and it became a prominent lesson taught in my household. This lesson seemed pretty obvious and I never really questioned it. I understood that friends can cause a lot of destruction to my life if they choose to do the wrong things and live a negative life.
When I arrived at college, I was thrown into a place where I had to make brand new friends all over again. Looking back at these last two and a half years, I realized I learned something that has CHANGED MY LIFE and is why I want to share it as my Monday morning post.
Goal: Surround yourself with people who will push you to pursue Him.
It is CRUCIAL to surround yourself with people that push you to pursue your faith in every aspect of life. The Proverbs verse above says that iron will sharpen iron, not silver, not bronze, nor any other metal. Iron. In scripture, this verse was used to symbolize the importance of the people we choose to sharpen, or consequently dull, our lives. When we choose people to be iron in our lives, that means that we value the faith, love, and respect that radiates from then because we too share the same inspiration: The Lord.
A friend who shares a common faith will have their life centered around the common goal of living as Jesus Christ did. Love. Isn’t it much easier to reach a goal if you have motivators on your team and not booers? Plus, I think we all get annoyed at the Debbie downer, don’t we?
I have found throughout my college career that I become disengaged with my faith, and in turn, my purpose, when I surround myself with people who choose to follow the worldly way of things. It’s not even that these people are doing anything inherently evil. It is that their speech, small actions, and self-respect lead them astray from the love found in Him. This is such a toxic, sneaky evil that can seep into my own thoughts and lead me astray. Being friends with them is great but there is a danger if there is no iron in my life. I start losing my identity and authenticity.
When I consistently strive to hang out with someone who is confident in their faith which in turns make them confident in themselves, I am pushed to do the same. The old saying goes: you are most like the five people you surround yourself with. I think this verse says it perfectly:
Do not be mislead, “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33
Action Plan: Step back and determine the quality of relationships in your life.
- As you go about your day, make a list of the people you choose to be around the most.
- Jot down the positive and negative aspects they bring to your life. Note the similar beliefs you share that can be used to make a positive impact on the world. Note the actions they take that leave you feeling brokenhearted. Note everything.
- When you find people who bring you down more than build you up, reevaluate. Is there a way to distance yourself from their negatives and expand upon their positives? Are they bringing you down with them with no source of light? Depending on your answer, you have some choices to make that only your heart will know the answer to.
- After evaluation, make plans with someone that week who will push you to be your best self. Plan to talk about your goals, aspirations, and the very foundation of who y’all are. Let’s get deep peeps.
- If you truly value the relationship that brings you down, start a conversation today about the respect you deserve and the ways you plan to make the friendship more positive.
- If you find that there are many toxic relationships around you, be bold. Step outside of your comfort zone. If it backfires, blame me. If you don’t attend church, pick one to explore. If you attend church, join a small group. Small groups allow people from different walks of life to discuss the common denominator that brings them together: Jesus. You might find people to do life with!!
- Now, be the type of person YOU need in YOUR life because odds are, someone else needs you today.
Does this actually work?
Let me scream it from the mountains: YES!!!!
Here’s why. While trying to think of what to write for my Monday post, I was looking around my dorm room. My roommate was sitting on her bed reading her Bible, something we do every night before bed. I realized in that moment the tremendous impact she has had in my life. My happiness and contentedness have skyrocketed this year because I am in constant fellowship with someone. No, we don’t sit down and read scripture 24/7 but I see Jesus in the way she lives, speaks, and respects herself. Every little moment we are together, there is nothing but positivity, even in silence. And that goes for many of my friends. That is why I am having the best year of my college career.
I reevaluated who I spent the majority of my time with and made changes. These changes were hard but the way Jesus has worked through them has only strengthened my faith. I now have a clearer vision of when I need to distance myself from toxicity and draw closer to love. I am no longer timid to openly talk about faith and scripture in ALL of my conversations because I know that my true friends will respect this.
The lesson that my parents taught me long ago has resurfaced and adopted a much deeper meaning. I strive to be a friend who builds my friends to choose love, respect, and confidence when we are together. And it sure helps when I am around people who strive for the same things too.
I want YOU to be free of people who do not “sharpen” you because the potential we have as one is big but the potential we have as many is grand. Make these small changes in who you choose to do life with and the benefits will be far-reaching.
Let’s keep the conversation going. What are the best qualities you have found in your friends? What other ways can one go about surrounding themselves with a strong fellowship?