Happy Tuesday Everybody!!
I am currently in beautiful Marshal, Michigan. I grew up in Michigan before moving to Arizona at age 9 and every summer we come back to visit family. There is something so relaxing about being here. Maybe it’s the sense of “home” that I get. Marshal is a small town with lots of green forest, miles of corn fields, dirt roads lined with gorgeous tall trees, almost everybody dressed head to toe in camouflage, and hardly any wifi. I miss it so much every time I come back and get very tempted to move back to Michigan.
Currently a friend and I are listening to a series of sermons online called Guardrails. (You can find it here if you want to listen to the 6 part series.) Basically, “guardrails” are what you put up in your life to prevent you from falling into sin. So often as Christians we say, “How close can I get to sin without actually sinning?” It’s a set up for disaster. Trust me I have said that sentence more than once to myself. But when you set up guardrails in your life they stop you completely from entering sin. So an example of a guardrail would be… You know you have a spending problem. So you say “I will not even get a credit card, because I know myself well enough to know I can’t be responsible with one.” An example that is NOT a guardrail is, “I’ll get the credit card but I am only allowing myself to spend $_____ amount of money.” That right there is setting you up for disaster. It’s the same reason recovering alcoholics won’t go to the bar. It’s unnecessary temptation that will only destroy them.
So todays message was about setting up guardrails in your friendships. Growing up my parents set up HUGE guardrails for me when it came to who I hung out with. I will never forget two girls who I thought were my greatest friends in jr. high, I was not allowed to hang out with these girls. My mom and I fought endlessly about this. She knew that these two girls would bring me down. At the time I thought my mom was being judgmental and unfair. Now, looking back almost 15 years later both of those girls have entered a life of destruction. I am so thankful my mom set those guardrails up for me back when I was 10-12 years old. Now that I am an adult I don’t have my mom to tell me who I should and should not hang out with. That is a decision I must make on my own.
It’s so important that we surround ourselves with the right people. Another easy mistake Christians make at times is hanging out with “the wrong crowd” so that they can show them Jesus. Now don’t get me wrong, we are called to be disciples. But there is a huge difference in showing Jesus to others through your actions versus joining this crowd and letting them change who you are. I know what you are thinking…. “But McKenzie what if I don’t adopt the patterns of these people. What if I just hang out with them and I don’t participate in the things they do that I know are wrong?” Well you’re an idiot then…(sorry not sorry). The pastor in this series mentions “You may not adopt the patterns of the fool, but it WILL impact your life.” How many of you have had your own personal life effected because of someone you hung out with, EVEN if you did not participate in their sin? * Every person raises their hand*
It is nearly impossible not to be dragged down by the wrong crowd. My friend who I am watching this series with has a quote they really love:
“Drowning people, drown people”
When I was training to become a lifeguard one of the rules I had to learn was, if I am saving somebody who is drowning and they are panicking, grabbing at me, flailing their arms and legs around, making it impossible to save them, my job is to punch them in the face and knock them out. I know that sounds crazy but it’s better to knock them out then to have both of us drown together.
I am not saying you need to punch your friends in the face when they are making bad choices. But maybe ‘punch them in the face with some truth’. Tell them, “Look, the way you’re acting is not okay with me. So I don’t think I can hang out with you anymore.”
BE YOUR OWN BIGGEST PRIORITY
Trust me, when they see that you are valuing yourself and that you have called them out it will spark something in their hearts to change.
This is a life lesson that will carry you through until the day you die. Plan and simple, the people you associate yourself with are who you become.
Today I challenge all of you to think about these questions:
- Are the people I hang out with helping me grown in the direction I want to grow in? Or are they bringing me down?
- Do I have a group of friends/ or one friend who I can honestly say makes me a better person? (if not, change that)
- What am I doing to be a better friend? Am I passively letting them destroy their lives? or am I standing up for what I believe in?
Today I find Joy in:
1. the fact that I have friends who I can count on to make me a better person.
2. There are millions of people out there looking for a friend just like me.
3. Jesus is the ultimate friend who will always punch you in the face with truth when you need it.
Shout out to Simple Bliss Media for the photo credit. Check out my dear, Jesus loving friend Shealan’s site if you need a photographer and live in the phoenix area! Simple Bliss Media