One thing I’ve learned through all the years I’ve followed Jesus is that He is our model and motivation for obedient and victorious living. What do I mean by that? Simply this: His life sets an example for us to live by in every area of life that we face: finances, relationships, faith, discipline, grief, joy, trials, victories, decision making, etc. Anything you and I face in this life, we can be certain that something in the life of Jesus sets a principle by which we can follow.
Today, I want to talk about relationships and our capacity for them. If you’re anything like me, you would probably say of yourself that you have a large capacity for people in your life. This can translate to having a large “inner circle” or lots of close friendships. Maybe you’re the opposite of me, and your inner circle is small. Neither is necessarily good or bad, but I do believe that the life of Jesus speaks to this as well.
Jesus chose twelve guys, twelve men that He chose to do life with. (See Matthew 4:18-22, Matthew 10:1-15) They traveled together, they ate together, they lived together, they did ministry together, and on and on. These were His people. Who are your people? Who have access to your life like that? Based off of the life and ministry of Jesus, I would suggest to you and to myself today, that if your “people” far exceeds twelve, perhaps there needs to be some reevaluating.
But let’s take a moment to look a little deeper into this. Jesus had His twelve, but He had His inner circle of three from within that twelve: Peter, James, and John. (See Matthew 17:1-13) These three men were far from perfect, but they were His closest companions. They had the inside scoop. They were trusted. Who are your three?
I’m posing these questions to you today because honestly, these are the questions I myself am being asked to consider right now. I’m a people person. I love having lots of close friendships. I’m pretty open and willing to let most people in. Still, life’s circumstances over the past few years have forced me into this conversation and this question of, “Who are my three?” Life has forced me to reevaluate and reprioritize.
Here’s what I’m NOT suggesting to you: That you can only have three. I don’t think that’s what Jesus was trying to teach us in His example. I do, however, see Him setting a principle for us here, and we would be wise to lean in and learn from Him. Do you give access to everyone who comes knocking, or do you use wisdom and discernment as to who is allowed into your inner circle? Do you welcome everyone in because you want to be all things for all people and you have a hard time saying “no”? Do you understand that you simply can’t do everything?
A hard realization that I had to come to (and all of you opposites from me will probably laugh) is that I can’t be best friends with everyone in my life. As I look back at that last sentence, I can now see how laughable that notion is. Of course I can’t be, but there was a long season of my life when I wanted to be and thought I could be and I tried to be. And I exhausted myself in trying to be.
Hear this, today. There is wisdom in few. There is wisdom in doing a few things really well for Jesus instead of trying to do everything at about 50%. Be selective, and invest all in the few. This model allows for true, authentic, genuine friendship to thrive. This model provides the necessary environment for discipleship to flourish. This model follows closely in the footsteps of Jesus.
Gina Dobmeier says
Cherie thank you for this. I have truly been questioning these very same thoughts. I find myself feeling so guilty if I don’t allow certain people in my inner circle or if I feel the need to explain why a friendship just doesn’t work or how the ones that do work. I have been intentionally learning and asking myself “how am I a friend to others?” “What does friendship even look like to me?” Reading your blog blessed me and it has challenged me to dig even deeper.
Cherie Wagner says
Love you, friend. Let’s both remain teachable in this and in all things.
This is definitely one to ponder for me. I’m the one who has a large network of friends and cohorts plus fellow volunteers, etc. etc. But very few are close, and very few have a grasp of more than one or two aspects of my life. So I need to GET three. I need to let people get closer. I need to be more open. Thanks for the insight, dear lady!