I read an article not too long ago by Donald Miller. He was exploring the idea of who we would be in five years is in direct correlation to who we actually spend our time with now.
His perspective was not only convicting but revealing in how I lived and how I choose to live now.
I ache for community. I have since I was little. I wanted to know that I belonged.That I mattered.
I was the oldest of the five children and like a million cousins so I always had people around me. Yet at times felt like the loneliest girl in the room.
As I got older I would surround myself with those that had the same desires and likes as I did. Even though they were not healthy or sustainable I still felt a sense of belonging there. We tend to flock to those that will keep our dysfunction functioning. So that is where I stayed.
Throughout my twenties I was a young mom who had no idea how to birth a human much less parent. Unless parenting meant finding the cutest outfits at Baby GAP and then dressing all of my children the same, then I guess I nailed it.
I was so consumed at the time with all of the loss in my life that I paid no attention to who I was spending my time with. I remember being drawn to people who were older than me and somehow knew what they were doing. But I did not have many friends who were the same age as me. Probably because they were still in grad school or serving in the peace core. Who am I kidding they were following around Pearl Jam and Lilth Fair.
In my thirties I found faith. Or more like faith found me. I had three little ones at home, had just quit my full time job and had never felt less of who I was. A mom at school had asked me to go a meeting at a church where other moms sat around a table and cried about exploding diarrhea and Jesus. I was more interested in the diaper situation than Jesus but I kept coming back.
That was a game changer.
This Jesus thing.
I began to realize that who I wanted to spend my time with acted nothing like who I used to be. They were by far not uppity Christian soap box people. They were more like “ I will wash your feet and then have a beer with you people”.
Through the years I have not always decided who I wanted to spend my time with. Circumstances and apathy decided it for me. It wasn’t until I realized that who I wanted to be was in direct correlation to who was around me.
If who we want to be in five years is determined by who we spend our time with now, then who will you be?
Are you surrounding yourself with people who are arrogant and self-absorbed? Are you having playdates with moms who are consumed with every thought and action of their child? Are you going out with those who are rude to waitresses and those around them? Are you friends with those that make racist and sexist remarks? Are you consumed with your work that you forget your family at home? Are you choosing to be with those that make judgmental statements like it’s their job?
The other day I was not having a good day. At the time I could not pin point exactly what was wrong but I felt so off. One of my best friends sent a group text and asked us to name three things we were grateful for.
I was in no mood to be Pollyanna that day. I wanted to stay in my pity party and invite everyone else to join.
Yet here is the thing. That text. Those friends. Those are my people. The people I choose to be around. They are the funniest people I know. I actually think Jimmy Fallon would think so too. ( We can send you a video Jimmy). They are also the kindest most generous people. They give of themselves every day to make sure that our friendship is fed and healthy.
I look at them and think, yes they are who I want to be.
I want to be a woman who knows who she is. I want to be mother who fights for her children. I want to be a wife who puts her husband before her children. I want to be a generous giver.I want to be fully present to those I love. I want to speak hope and life into people. I want to know that taking care of myself physically is important. I want to be a truth teller. I want to be an encourager. I want to be an author. I want to be funny. I want to be available. I want to say no to things that do not bring me life or joy.I want to be the best friend I could ever be. I want to be a gentle soul. I want to be healthy. I want to be always wanting to serve more. I want to take risks. And most of all I want to ache for Jesus every day.
That day I had a hard time coming up with what I was grateful for.
They pushed me. They pushed me to find what was needing to be spoken.
You need. We all need people in our lives who see more for us. Who push us to see things we forget to see. Who know that we can be more than we ever imagined.
We need people around us who remind us that where we are is not who we are.