An old poem of mine that is still a fitting reminder for a new year.
Out of desire that its message to be taken in the way in which I intended, I will dissect it enough to hopefully make it clearer and slightly more meaningful for you.
We should never live in complete isolation; we are not meant to. We should never make important decisions or draw conclusions based on our own feelings or without receiving counsel from carefully chosen, trusted sources–and of course, your pastor.
Note the emphasis on carefully chosen.
Here lies the basis of the poem.
Do you spend so much time in the company of peers that you often turn to someone that has even less “life wisdom” than you do–for advice?
The beauty of counsel is the ability to approach someone that has already learned many of life’s lessons, in order to avoid personal mistakes. Sometimes you need to be alone in prayer and reflection to weed out the “things to keep”; the truly beneficial voices from those which are not.
Do you spend so much time in the company of your peers that your important convictions and opinions all begin to morph into a pool of collective, general agreement?
In continual fellowship, we often unknowingly bend and sway under the pressure of groupthink. Adults, not just young people, succumb. Perhaps you have like-minded friends: that’s a wonderful thing. But to be sure my personal standard is where it would normally be, I try to slip away and consider whether or not I still measure myself exclusively by the Word and opinion of God.
Do you spend so much time in the company of your peers that you begin to compare yourself to them–and lose unique passions, goals, and potential in the reach for self-promotion and meaningless affirmation?
I am perhaps one of the world’s foremost advocates of laughter and friendship. But I want to live independently and unashamedly by the principles that are of true consequence. Depth turns shallow with astounding speed if we have not paused to balance frivolity with regular intervals of quiet introspection.
Perhaps it is time we learned to slip away into “a solitary place” or “a mountain apart” to pray, to really think, and to distance ourselves, if not in body, then in spirit, from all outside voices.