You’ve grown. You’ve matured. You’ve spent the time, put in the sweat and blood, and now you’re where you want to be in life. Is it time to start re-engaging with old friends and family that you disconnected from to focus on yourself? The short answer is…maybe.
Yesterday I wrote about how growing personally often means tough decisions. In order to grow, you often must separate yourself from others. You have to remove yourself from negative people, bad influences, and doubters.
That’s the first step towards influence and impact…working on yourself.
But what about when you’ve been working on yourself and you’re ready to re-engage with others?
Re-engaging with others
Regardless of our faith, I think we could all do well to learn from Jesus’ time on earth. We all want to have influence and make an impact on the world.
To do those things, you can’t stay withdrawn forever. You can’t just continue to grow personally, but never spread that growth. You have to become a teacher. For your own sake and for the sake of others.
To be a light to others, you can’t just shine in the comfort of your home. You have to shine in the world.
Here’s why Jesus was able to do that.
What Jesus had that allowed him to grow
1. The twelve
First, He had the disciples. He had a twelve-person support network. Who among us can say that? This was a critical step in the process.
Before He started reaching out to the truly downtrodden, the negative, and the unbelievers, He built a support team.
Before you re-engage with your old friends and try to influence them, make sure to surround yourself with at least three times as many positive influences. Yes, three times. For every one person you re-engage with at first, make sure you have three positive friends to counterbalance them.
Because negative people tend to impact us approximately three times as much as positive people. The same goes for feedback, news, etc. (The actual number is 2.9013 if you’re wondering, but finding 0.9013 friends is hard and I like to err on the side of too much positive influence in my life)
Jesus was thirty years old before He started His ministry. He knew His missions from day one and yet He waited thirty years. Most of us don’t figure out our mission until we’re thirty. So give it some time. Work on yourself first…and that may take a few years.
Don’t be in a rush to change the world. Change yourself first.
3. Closeness to His Father
Before He set out on his mission to transform humanity as we know it, Jesus was already close to his Father.
I’m not here to push religion, but I will say that before you put yourself in the midst of people who have the chance to be bad influences, you may want to consider consulting your Higher Power first. He might just help you through some difficult times.
4. The ability to disengage again
When Jesus went back to his boyhood home as an adult, the people mocked Him.
He could have fought. He could have dug in His heels and set about to change their closed minds.
But He didn’t. He just left.
He always reserved the right to walk away. To withdraw again.
When He was teaching His disciples how to evangelize Judea, He told them that if their message was ridiculed or ignored to leave, to shake the dust off of their feet and get out of town.
Is the lesson here that when the going gets tough, you bolt? Not exactly. But if the going gets tough and you aren’t quite tough enough yet, it’s best for you (and ultimately everyone else) if you give it more time.
His disciples were brand new at this. Essentially Jesus was asking them to make cold calls to a largely unreceptive audience. If they stayed in one place too long, their mission would stagnate. Not the best way to ignite a movement. So, for the time being, His advice was to seek a new audience.
Those same four things are necessary when you choose to re-engage with your old crowd. You need all four to change the world.
To recap, build a support group, give yourself time to grow, call on God, and reserve the right to disengage again.
Don’t worry about today. You will be a world-changer soon enough.
Question: Have you had to withdraw from negative influences? Have you been able to re-engage with them? You can leave a comment by clicking here.