There are some days when I want to revert back to a childhood tactic and cover my ears while singing “lalalalala” as loud as possible. I don’t want to hear all the voices that come at me. These voices tell me I am not thin enough, not smart enough, not rich enough or not cool enough. In fact I am not anything enough.
As I walked around my local shopping mall a little while ago I saw people who have listened to these voices and, quite frankly, they looked bizarre. Mature women with skin so taut I’m sure it hurts to smile. Young men with pants that are so loose they are in danger of stepping right out of them with each step they take. Then there are the young girls who seem to compete with each other to see how much skin they can bare in public without being arrested for indecency. I sat at a bookshop drinking a cup of coffee, not really judging the people around me so much as judging the “voices” that society allows to be dominant in our culture. As I sat there, I felt angry at the world and its voices. Then I saw them.
A group of four girls strolled into the bookshop where I sat. They caught my attention because they were modestly dressed, which seemed so out of place in that mall. They were beautiful in their simplicity. They sat at a table near to mine and I unashamedly eavesdropped. They laughed and chatted about a college class they were taking. One of the girls commented that ‘Sue’ was struggling with the class. I waited for it, sure they were all going to gossip about poor ol’ Sue who was not there. Shame on me for being so cynical! Instead of gossiping, they discussed how they could help her.
As I sipped my coffee in the mall, the world with their tight faces and tight clothes became distant and quiet. A still, small voice said to me, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.” (Proverbs 12:20)
Here is what I learnt:
- The people I hang out with will influence how I think and how I act.
- The voice of the “world” is very loud and very influential.
- To counter-act that voice I need to make time to listen to God’s voice – through a daily devotional time, regular church attendance, fellowship with other believers and other Christ-centered activities.
- If I take a hard, honest look in the mirror (literally and figuratively) I will be able to tell who my ‘companions’ are.
- Who my companions are will determine whether I will be smart or act like a fool.
Question: Would you agree that who you spend significant time listening to will influence how you act? Please enter into the conversation by leaving a comment below.