Wednesday, August 29, 2012

You Are Who You're With

When I was a kid, my mom had eyes on the back of her head. She also had a special power - a unique ability to always know who I was hanging out with. "You are who you're with," she'd say. It'd make me wonder, "What? How'd she know I was next door watching Dirty Dancing?"

Not sure how she did it. Did I give off a carnal vibe when I got home? Maybe I walked through the front door with a whatever-ness about me. Or with inch-thick black eyeliner. Or with a slight fluctuation to the way I pronounced certain words. From "Totally, Mom" to "Toad-lay, Mom," or some slight change that brought out my cool.

What about the way I influenced my friends? Picking out the perfect Michael Jackson poster or suggesting we talk to each other in fake languages are both pretty harmless activities. If only I didn't pass along my extremely limited (albeit scientific) knowledge of the birds-and-the-bees. Maybe that's where I went wrong.

As for my own kids, whose "influence" - good or bad -  is going to rub off on them this school year? I've already got an eye on a few negative influences, particularly that one "secret keeper/sharer" girl from last year. This girl tends to make my youngest daughter feel "privileged" when she lets her in on a secret. My heart breaks for both of them.

I hate it when my kids get caught up in all that. My prayer is for them to stand strong and be good, like Andy Griffith good or Hallmark movie good. And I want that for me, too. Not just for-goodness-sakes or "just because," but in a lasting way.

Romans 8:6 says, "For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." There's that word again, carnal. Sounds so sinister. And corny. Like God is overreacting a little bit.

But as life happens, it's actually a great verse to keep in mind. Because when I create my own three-step-program to being a "good" Molly, I last about a day - depending on my outfit. Even if I follow all the rules of the Bible, I'll still flake if I don't spend time being "spiritually minded" by relating to God throughout the day.

Pastor Jon Courson puts it this way, "You're missing out on what only I can produce as you spend time with me (Jesus). Even if you have the principles down and the theology right, without me there will be no self-control and peace, love and joy, gentleness and goodness, faith and meekness. Those only come from spending time with me."

What does that mean? Well, for example, I'd like to think that Anne Hathaway and I are BFFs because I know things about her: loves chocolate cake, almost a whole 10 years younger than me, and looks cute with short hair. But since Anne and I don't hang-out, no friendship (boo!) and no REAL "influencing" could ever take place.

So as school kicks into high gear, the super powers I inherited from my mother will be activated. My kids will hear me casually say in my sing-songy voice, "Honey, after all, you are who you're with." And I hope God says the same of me - in the best of ways - as I spend time with him and he with me.