‘Surround yourself with the right people and you will develop the right attitude!’ (Random thoughts)
I am sure some wise person said this and I am learning and at the same time I’m wondering how true this statement is. A similar saying is ‘Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are’, or ‘Show me your friends and I’ll tell you your future.’
How does this apply to us as Christians?
Jesus was called a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!” (Luke 7:34)
He was anointed by a sinful woman
“And as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” (Luke 7: 38-39)
The Gospels shows many accounts of Jesus as an advocate for the poor, hanging around prostitutes and the marginalised in society.
I guess this is where boundaries come into play. There’s a difference between reaching out to different people as a part of ministry and allowing the wrong people to have an impact on your life. Reaching out does not mean forming lifelong and permanent relationships. Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10: 25-37 showed us that he examined the stranger, bound up the wound, took him to the nearest inn, paid for his care but then went on his way and yes with a promise to return and pay any further expenses. Being neighbourly does not mean attaching ourselves to the wrong influencers; as the second command is this ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:3)
I love the poem, A Reason, A Season or a Lifetime. It teaches us that people come into our life for a reason, a season or a lifetime and the key is to figure out the purpose of each person you meet. At times we enter or hang around in relationships that God only intended for a reason – to meet a need you’ve expressed, assist you through difficulty or provide guidance spiritually, emotionally or physically. Some people come for a season – to share, grow or learn, bringing you an experience ofpeace or to make you laugh – to teach you something you’ve never done. Then there are lifetime relationships teaching lifetime lessons; things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
In our human failings we tend to hang around too long in relationships that were only meant for a reason or a season. Again, the key is to figure out the purpose of the relationship, learn the lesson and move on. We would all be expert at relationships if we would do this initially but I guess the best part is the lesson learn at the end – to be able to thank God for the period he has sent that person into your life, recognising that your need has been met and letting them go.
When we allow seasonal or reasoned people to hang around longer than intended, this is where trouble begins. You may find yourself doing things you never thought you were capable of – that’s because their work has been done and they no longer serve a purpose and most likely has become an irritation.
Boundaries not only apply to personal relationships but in ministry. I remember writing this testimony in 2005 for a Woman’s Call website.
On reading Selwyn Hughes’ book ”Christ Empowered Living” God reveal to me how my emotions [right or wrong] affect my behaviour and that my self-worth, security and significance can only be found in Him. God made us with deep thirsts and deep longings that can only be filled in Him. At times we try to quench these thirsts and longings by drinking from other sources.
Jeremiah 2:13 states “My people have committed two sins; they have forsaken me and the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”
I learnt a lesson in the area of my relationships. I realise that my caring nature attracts me to cracks in people’s lives. As a result of this I am constantly drawn to people emotionally ready to fix these cracks. This deep caring nature is at times misinterpreted as love [in particular to the opposite sex].
I struggled with this for a while as I have at times find myself having this same feeling for more than one person in a given time. God revealed to me that this was care expressed in an unhealthy manner. With the longing to help people and administering that care in the wrong way, I found myself constantly caught up in co-dependent relationships with no real foundation or aim except to satisfy my need to help and to see people whole.
I am like a nurse who on a seeing a wound grab her medical equipment, ready to administer the remedy. Instead of helping to fix the wound and then leaving at the right time [as the Good Samaritan] I get caught up in a relationship of nursing which have had great impact on me spiritually, physically and emotionally.
The end result is that when the person who had originally drawn on my strength can now cope on their own and my relationship of nursing has ended, I feel I am without a source to put my significance, security and self-worth. I am left with a broken heart [like a puzzle] trying to fit the pieces back together wondering where I went wrong.
Nothing or no one can complete those broken pieces except God. This is where I realise that God is my ultimate source. Then I go running back to my Father, asking him to make me whole so that what drives me is to know that my significance, self-worth and security can only be found in Him. There is nothing wrong in helping and caring for people but God is teaching me daily how to administer care within His boundaries.
Shows I am still learning. When God has given you a heart of compassion – a part of your subconscious nature, it takes discernment to know when to hold back. A wise priest once said to me in a spiritual direction session ‘Stop attaching yourself to needy people! Now that’s a great advice.
I recently ended a relationship with someone who most people on meeting him would think he’s a great laugh and a great guy. I probably hang around too long or we both misinterpreted the relationship for what it was supposed to be, trying to hang on to something that God had not intended or we weren’t ready for. Hanging around too long causes stress, anger, the wrong actions and words said. It weighs you down and stops you from being who you truly are. So instead of getting bitter I want to learn the lesson from this experience, thank God for the time he has blessed me with this person, forgive, bless them and move on. As the saying goes “It takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them and a lifetime to forget them” and so I choose leave with happy memories. And the lesson for me is, I’ve learn to love again.
‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.’ (Alfred Lord Tennyson)
So I would like to add to the saying at the beginning with these final words;
Surround yourself with the right people. There is nothing wrong in allowing the movement of people in your life as long as you can discern whether their purpose is for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When it is time to let go, do so before you allow a good relationship or person to turn sour. Only then will you learn your lesson and leave with the right attitude!
The adage ‘Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are’ or ‘Show me your friends and I’ll tell you your future’ is true and more specific to the people you allow to influence you by hanging around and forming lifelong relationships.
So, choose your relationships wisely. Surround yourself with people who believe in your dreams. Keep people in your life that truly love you, motivate you, encourage you, inspire you, enhance you and make you happy. If you have people who do none of the above, LET THEM GO! (Anonymous – FB Quotes)
Do your Deed and Move on!