This is the eighth section from Suggestions From A Searcher.
A. Vision for your life — What kind of person do you want to be? (Envisioning an “EndState”)
The kind of person you want to be is pretty much limited by the kind of people you know or know about. It is a true principle of life that humans are inevitably influenced by other humans. Proverbs 13:20 says, “He who walks with wise men becomes wise, but the companion of fools suffers harm.” Who you spend time with will either influence you in a positive or a negative way, never just neutrally. Therefore, it is vital to surround yourself with people who will influence you in positive ways and it is even more vital to spend time with the Lord in order to be more Christ-like.
1. Peer Pressure — Avoid Negative Companions
Regarding the much-discussed concept of “peer pressure,” I suspect that the peers who pressure are often not really happy with themselves either. They probably want others to go along with them as some sick way of validating for themselves that they are worth imitating. Peer pressure is often a false front for people who are insecure and lack a strong sense of identity. For example, bullies are usually insecure even though it doesn’t seem like it. Ironically, it is because they are afraid that they want others to be afraid of them. The same is probably true about gossipers. Have you ever joined in gossip and just been glad the conversation was about someone else’s deficiencies so as to take the attention away from yours? Those friends who gossip to you have already demonstrated that they are indeed gossipers, which means you can expect them to gossip about you when you are not present. Anyone who does that is a poor friend. Stay away from people who try to take you down paths that are destructive to others because it harms you to join in hurting anyone.
Remember that you already know who you are because you know whose you are. You should not be insecure because you are precious to God. Trust and obey Him and you will no longer worry about what other (often insecure) people think. Instead, others will want what you have. They will see your confidence and want to know the source of it. They will want to be like you. Be a leader and people will follow you.
We all know people who follow others like sheep. Isn’t it strange that many people seem to be trying to imitate others whom they do not even admire (or should not admire)? For example, why would many junior high girls try so hard to be part of a group of the snootiest, most back-biting girls? It happens. Who are the “wannabees” trying to impress? The answer is: other mixed-up individuals, usually. Why? Often it is out of fear of not “fitting in.” Don’t worry about fitting in. Just try to please God by being you. You are already precious to Him, just the way He made you.
2. Heroes — Seek Positive Examples
That inevitable influence of others is also why it is good to have someone to look up to. Heroes inspire us to reach higher than we would without such examples. Nevertheless, it is important to recognize that no one is perfect except for Jesus Christ. Therefore, although we should not idolize our heroes, we can certainly be uplifted by the lessons they offer about such admirable qualities as courage, honesty, faithfulness, fortitude, kindness, generosity, and unselfishness.
I like to be inspired. That is why I like to read the biographies of great men and women. I also like movies with heroes. I suppose that as children we pretend to be brave cowboys or soldiers or princesses because we naturally emulate heroes. That kind of playing is a way to practice being the type of person we long to be. For example, I suppose we can learn to be brave by pretending we are brave already, or pretending that we are someone else who is brave.
Although heroes are inspiring, and that can be good in a certain sense, be careful to not measure your worth by comparing your achievements with the achievements of other people. Instead, remember God made you to be you, a unique individual, not as a copy of your big sister or a copy of some movie star or star athlete. You are a person with your own purpose.
In fulfilling your purpose, strive to be Christ-like. Jesus Christ is available as your model/hero/Lord.
Again, pray that God reveal His answer for you as you take some preliminary steps aimed at helping you answer this question for yourself about yourself: What kind of person do I want to be? Use separate sheets of paper for the parts of this exercise that are leading up to what we will call your personal vision statement.
1) Think about people whom you admire, including historical figures as well as people in your life today. List several individual examples and beside each name write what you admire about that person. What you admire should be a quality that particular person exhibits to you or a value that person holds.
2) What are your core values? Are you living in a manner so that others can clearly see that those are indeed your values? Or would others be surprised to know those are values that you claim to hold? I have read somewhere this question: “If it was a crime to be a Christian, is there enough evidence to convict you?”
3) Imagine your own funeral ! Who would attend? Whatwould people remember about you?
Now, write your vision statement in the context of your interests, core values, and passion. Describe the person you intend to be.