One recent, beautiful spring day, my family and I went to the park by our house. We were blessed to have the park all to ourselves. My husband set his hobby on a picnic table near the playground, and I sat on the bench in the shade watching the kids play.
They ran all over the place…. Up the slides… crawling across the monkey bars… chasing each other… laughing and just having a good time.
(I know… mom, you should make them follow the playground rules… but I really love how adventurous and creative they can be on the playground. I pretty much let them do what they want unless there are other kids that could get hurt.)
As I watched my kids play, I couldn’t help but notice my little one trip and fall when no one was watching. She picked herself up and kept running.
But then, she did it again… in front of a sibling. This sibling asked her if she was ok. Immediately she started tearing up and said her hand hurt. Of course, my good-intention sibling told her to go tell mom.
She ran over to me crying and said her hand hurts. I looked at it and told her she’d be ok. She went back to playing just fine.
But as I sat and reflected on her reaction, I realized just how much of it was based on the response of others. She honestly looked to her sibling to see how she should feel, respond, and what she should do next. Though minutes before she was just fine with the exact same situation.
I’ve known this for a while. If one of my kids gets hurt, and I overreact, I will have them all worked up too. If one of my kids does something that is good, and I give it positive attention, they smile with pride.
The way I respond to my child affects how he/she acts and feels. But more than that, my child looks to me to see how to respond.
We are emotional beings. And we learn how to manage those emotions based on the reaction and responses of others.
Let me just say, controlling my emotions is still something I have to be diligent about. Also, when I am around emotional people, I tend to react emotionally. I have learned time and time again if I don’t control my emotions, they will control me.
How many of my reactive emotions are based on how others perceive things?
I’m willing to bet if we took the social factor out of our situations, these feelings would be completely different.
But we were created as social beings. God saw that is was not good for man to be alone, so He created a helpmate for him, Eve.
Sin corrupted everything including our social environments.
Now instead of being in relationship with God and each other, we are at war with sin.
The result- we are selfish…Our relationships are self-centered. Think about it. Every relationship you have with someone outside of a relationship with Christ is selfish… These people have something to offer you or you to them. Whether that is someone to talk to, have fun with, help you, work with you, comfort you, or the like. Each person needs other people in his/her life. However, when the relationships are not centered in Christ, the relationships feel one-sided.
I’m not here to bash on you, your friends, or people in your life. We need those people in our lives. I am here to say relationships matter. Your friendships matter. I’ve heard it said people come into your life for a reason, season, or lifetime. And there’s quite a bit of truth to that statement.
If your friendships are rooted in Christ, those relationships are deeper. I imagine it’s like military friends. There’s a bond that happens with soldiers. One you cannot explain. They experience part of life together and are brothers for life.
In the same way, we are soldiers for Christ. When we walk with our brothers and sisters in Christ, share our faith, share our experiences, joys, and pains friendship goes further and makes us family. Brothers and sisters in Christ.
When you fall and look up, make sure the person you are looking to is a person who will point you to Christ. The majority of the world will not. They will point you to quick fixes… Worldly desires… Allow you to vent your frustrations… which sometimes just digs you deeper into sin.
We need people to point us to Christ. Sometimes life throws you a curveball; you need perspective from a Christian friend. Sometimes God blesses you in an amazing way; you desire to share the praise report with someone who will also shout praises to God.
There’s a lot to be said about doing life with other believers.
Most people live in the world and act like the world. When we look to them on how to react, we are missing the mark. Christ didn’t call us to blend in, but He set us apart. He called us to be a light in the darkness. However, when you are surrounded by darkness, it’s harder to find the light.
Be intentional about having people in your life that will point you towards that light… and not just on Sundays… everyday… every situation…
By doing this, when you trip (because you will- life is hard) and need to make a choice on how to respond, you have a wise, godly person by your side pointing you to the light!
He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.