Have you heard the saying, “birds of a feather flock together?” The meaning behind this little phrase says that people with similar interests and tastes will be found together.

Late this summer I started helping out with a local high school volleyball team. It had been a while since I’d been in a high school or coached high school level athletics. It was great to be around high schoolers who are a little more mature than the middle schoolers I’ve been used to coaching the past three years.

It’s been really interesting watching these girls interact with each other. As I get to know them more and see them a little as I substitute teach at the high school, I’ve started to notice who they are friends with and how that reflects on the volleyball court.

There are people in life that just make you better. You probably can pick out a few friends or family members that you’re close with who make you feel like the best possible version of yourself.

On the flip side of that, there are people that make you the worst version of yourself. Sometimes it’s hard to be aware of those friendships and even harder to distance yourself from them.

I’ve been thinking about this phrase “birds of a feather” and how it relates to volleyball and our Christian walk.

On the volleyball court it’s really easy to choose your best friend to warm up with. I’ve seen this with the girls that I coach. They have a best friend and they have so much fun together laughing and joking around as they warm up for practice that day. But are they pushing each other to be the best volleyball players they can possibly be? No.

In life it’s really easy to vent to your friend about your crappy work day or a life situation that is SO unfair. While there is a time and a place for that, sometimes those little vent sessions can get out of control and it turns into an hour of negativity. Does that conversation leave you feeling good inside and closer to Jesus? No.

I’ve recently been challenged to think about who I surround myself with. Are my friends making me a better person? Are they challenging and pushing me even when I don’t really want to hear it? 

Instead of, “birds of a feather,” I’m choosing to focus on the phrase, “iron sharpens iron.” 

God wants me to be around people that lift me up but at the same time push me closer to HIm. Sometimes that means spending less time with that friend who makes you feel bad after hanging out with them.

If there’s one thing I could tell my volleyball girls it would be this: are you being pushed to be a better volleyball player today than you were yesterday? 

Yes, part of that is on the athlete. You have to be able to push yourself and give 100% effort at practice to become better. But also get yourself a partner that won’t go easy on you and will call you out when she knows you can do better.

So think about who is sharpening you. Ask God to bring people into your life that will push and challenge you but also walk alongside you as you pursue Jesus together!

– Lauren McDonald
Photo by DICSON on Unsplash