For many, the question asked in our title for this week elicits a listing of factors for when you are at your best, apart from anyone else. For example, you might think of things like this: “I’m at my best when I’ve had a good night of sleep,” or, “I’m at my best when I’ve had my morning coffee,” or, “I’m at my best when I’m well-fed.” Another common factor that people list is getting regular exercise. All of these are undoubtedly factors as to when you are your best.
We want to focus on another factor—the people with which you surround yourself. Last week, we talked about healthy versus unhealthy community. This week, our emphasis is on the fact that you are at your best when you are a member of a healthy community.
We’ve been pointing out that the way in which communities are constituted has changed in the modern world. Nevertheless, it’s still the case that humankind is a social creature. Because of that, a person will fail to improve without participating in community; furthermore, a community actually suffers when it does not have the participation of all its members.
So, your progress as a person hinges on others. It’s fair to ask, then: Who are you surrounding yourself with? Are they the kind of people that bring out your strengths and limit your vices, or vice versa? Although a person will fail to improve without community, people are often distracted from best actions by community. In fact, your natural weaknesses can be magnified by others and you can be moved by your circle of influence to do harmful things that you’d never do on your own.
When you are part of a community that is flawed (unhealthy) because of tendencies toward vice, you will find new enticements to vice! As Proverbs 13:20 says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools suffers harm” (ESV). The people you surround yourself with rub off on you!
Next week, we’ll delve into what all this has to do with wellness, but until then, think about who is rubbing off on you and whether that’s who you want to be.