Mirror, mirror on the wall, who am I?

| August 21, 2015 | 0 Comments


Chaplain (Capt.) Michael Rumschik
25th Special Troops Battalion
25th Infantry Division

The similarities between pets and owners are sometimes eerie.

Have you ever seen someone running his or her dog while sporting a matching wardrobe? Other times, you will find matching hairstyles, interest or even temperaments, as if observing a mirror’s reflection of the owner.

The company we keep often reveals quite a lot about ourselves: whom we are, how we think, what our preferences are, values and goals, etc.

A recent study revealed that when you pick your friends, you’re actually selecting your future self. Take the five friends you spend the most time with … eventually, over time, you will begin to look like them. We’re not talking about physical features, but nonetheless, when you really examine your companions, the same mirrored reflection will eventually occur. Their view on finances, relationships, goals, interests and even self-image might uncannily resemble your view.

This is great news if we have the blessing of strong people in our life. Proverbs 27:17 tells us, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

Just as two jagged objects rubbing against one another can produce razor sharp results, the same is true with people. I have observed, firsthand, some pretty sharp noncommissioned officers become tip-of-the-spear-sharp after regularly interacting with other quality leaders. I have seen the reflection change of people’s monetary health after embracing financially savvy friends. Suddenly, parenting or marital skills are sharpened after finding a different group of friends where vision, strength and intentionality become the new norm.

While the evidence of a group or friend’s influence on our lives is overwhelming, the same power of reflection doesn’t end with people. Often, we become the product of our entire environment; the songs, books and movies we watch also become part of us. Whatever entertains us will eventually capture both the mind and heart.

“You are what you eat” can also be said, and “You are what you watch/listen to.”

I am forever changed because of powerful friendships throughout my life. Because of those men, I’m a better husband, father, Soldier, friend and chaplain. However, after those friends, I’ve been molded and shaped by people I’ve never met face to face. I know them only through their books as I allow them to mentor and sharpen my life.

One of the best and hardest things I ever did was intentionally terminate a friendship. I looked in the mirror, saw who I was becoming and ended it.

For other people, it might mean deciding to listen to music with a different message, eliminating unhealthy video game consumption or other destructive entertainment influences. Just as a good friend has the power to sharpen, a suspect influence has the power to dull, even destroy.

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Are you excited or nervous about the possibility of reflecting your friends, video games, music, books or movies?

It is our own choice. May we choose wisely.

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Category: Footsteps in Faith, News, Standing Columns

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