I’ve spent a lot of time lately considering the close relationships I have in my life and how each one has impacted, influenced and shaped me. Talking about the importance of community, I recently heard Rick Warren say:
Mentors, models, coaches & friends. The quickest way to change your life is to change who you’re close to.
I don’t know where it originated, but I’ve often heard the following statement and believe it to be true:
Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.
This same theme is echoed in a more cautionary tone in the Bible:
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. – Proverbs 13:20
There’s a lot to be said about who you surround yourself with. What this particular Proverb is saying is that, to a great extent, we become amalgams comprised of the voices we ascribe worth to and give permission to speak into our lives. With that realization comes with it a great responsibility to steward our hearts on a relational level.
When you’re young and invincible, it’s easy to take for granted the life lessons and wisdom flying through the air like radio broadcasts, yours for the taking if you’re paying attention and dialed in to the correct frequency. But sadly, we spend many of our younger years scanning the dial in relational oblivion, often not realizing the long term effects of how we allow others to invest into the moments of our lives. The older I get, the more I’ve not only seen the need for all of those varied voices in my life, but the more I’ve felt the weight of not having them as life assumes different shapes, regularly handing me new and diverse challenges and opportunities to grow.
I also realize that the more I’ve become intentional about anything, the more I’ve seen that thing change. The more intentional I’ve gotten about investing in these kinds of relationships, the more I’ve seen my life take shape and bear fruit resulting from the investment of others. At the same time, the more I’ve embraced this perspective, the more I’ve found myself on the other side of the equation and filling these various roles in the lives of others.
I’m thankful for those who give big picture counsel, live the blueprints, shout ring-side blow-by-blow instructions and speak wisdom and truth into my life. It’s a combination of the presence and selfless investment of all these voices that are constantly shaping, developing and investing in me, pushing me forward to a better version of myself and speaking to the trajectory of my life as much as to the next step.
Do you actively engage the presence of mentors, models, coaches & friends in your life?