No matter who we are or where we go, we are highly influenced by those persons and things which surround us. One thing that I have learned very powerfully lately is that, if you want to live a happier and more productive life, you should seek to surround yourself with people who inspire you. Spend time with people you respect and admire. Find mentors or role models. Look for people who are pursuing their dreams, whether or not but especially if those dreams resemble your own.
Paul’s counseled the people of Corinth: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”
(2 Corinthians 6:14)
Growing up, I heard a lot of lessons about this scripture in terms of dating and marrying someone with similar standards or level of testimony or whatever. The longer I am in the world, however, and the more I am exposed to different ideas and different socialization options, the more I realize that this counsel goes even deeper than just marriage prospects.
Personally, I hear Paul saying: be with those who believe in the things you believe in. If you have passion, find other people who also have passion. Don’t be “unequally yoked” or don’t tie yourself to people who can’t see the potential that you see in the world. Don’t let your flame be extinguished by those who refuse to fuel it.
It has taken me almost 23 years of life, but I am finally building a network of friendships and connections that honestly motivate and inspire me. People that make me feel like it’s okay to have passion and aspiration and dreams…and to be a little uncertain how to accomplish everything I want to. We may not always see things in the same light, but that is actually a blessing for me, because we each have a desire to make a difference in the world. Despite our differences, we each have hope for change and faith in the future. We are believers. And we can learn from each other.
It has also been asserted that, because our own character is so dynamic, we tend to resemble or start to resemble the people we spend the most time with. If that is true, then I want to be sure that the people shaping me and and my future are the kind of people I hope to someday become. I choose not to yoke myself to “unbelievers”, but rather with those who are traveling the same direction that I myself hope to travel.