Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Company We Keep

"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." -Proverbs 27:17

I'm sitting here in the quietness of a late Saturday night, the sound of the fan whirring the only noise in the house. All of my ladies are asleep. I'm still awake, thinking about this verse in Proverbs.

What I take away from this verse is the advice that the company we keep, in part, molds us into who we are. Let's be honest here... our friends have a significant impact on our lives. Positively and negatively. Not that we all just become the same people, but think about it, we begin to value what they value. And vice versa. The ones we are closest to have a tremendous impact on the trajectory of our lives. 

Which can lead to some difficult moments if you get down to it. Do you really value what they value? Or do you just want to fit in with them? What matters most to them? What do they value? What is important to them? Are those values values you want to aspire to or hold onto? 

As I have grown through my 20's I see just how much this matters. The saying about being known by the company we keep is very accurate. Because once you get lumped in with a group of people, it can be hard to escape that. It can be painful to escape that. 

If your friends' ideas of the weekend include bar-hopping, partying, and staying out late, and then you decide that's not for you anymore, that's a tough spot to be in. If you are striving to grow closer to your spouse and becoming a better parent, but they don't, that's hard. If you're trying to grow in your faith but others around you don't care, that's a challenging position. The examples can go on and on...

So what do you really value? What are your goals? What kind of person do you want to be? Can you reach that with the company you keep right now? 

Up until now I've only spoken about the negative. But imagine the positive. And maybe you're here. If you're around people who want to have great marriages... If you're around people who strive to raise their children to be the best they can be... If you're around people who recognize that the journey of faith is a long, winding path and can be difficult at times... Your trajectory is that much better.

And with two little girls who will be teenagers before I know it, this verse, this idea, well, it makes me wonder... What will they value? What company will they keep? And then I think back to myself. Because I'm showing them what I value. I'm showing them the company I keep. And they watch. They learn. They see. They know if the people I am friends with bring me up. And they know if those people bring me down.

We're known by the company we keep. For worse. But hopefully, for better.