Surround Yourself

The founder and creator of LARABARS shared her secret to success on NPR recently. After telling her story of how she made protein bars in small batches in her kitchen with her father, she goes on to explain that bringing in revenue of over five million dollars in the second year (!) was due to the fact that all the way along, she “surrounded herself with people who believed in her.”

That really hit home for me. All of my life’s joys and moments of feeling accomplished were times when I felt the tangible support of people who believed in me. I am blessed to have a family who believes in me. They might not always agree with me, or believe in the same things I believe in, but they believe in me. I am also blessed with two best friends who have run alongside of me for ten years who believe in me. I have a third who walks dogs with me and uplifts me in the same way. They have gotten me through some very rough times when I was under attack professionally, personally, and spiritually. They also don’t always agree with me, but they have stood by me through thick and thin. Their steadfast faith in me carried me through times when I felt weak, unsure, and insecure. I would have just up and quit several times, had it not been for all these blessings.

I often think of Jesus and his devotion to his disciples. They were a motley crew, who at moments really came through for our Lord, and at other times, failed miserably.

We all know the story of Peter’s heartbreaking denial of Jesus the night before his crucifixion. Lest we be hasty to judge, do you think you would have done any better? With soldiers and swords challenging you, with the impossibility of who Jesus REALLY was looking more incredible by the moment, wouldn’t you have wanted to flee as well? Doubt is a part of the faith journey. It helps us get to where we are going.

So let’s take a look at Peter’s redemption, and see if we can recall a time when we, too, were doubtful, and then believed:

John 21:15-25 New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Reinstates Peter

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.

These words reinstated Peter, and he went on to become the rock and the foundation of the church. They gave him a chance to reclaim himself as someone who DID believe in Jesus, even though he let Jesus down in the final hour. You see, Peter didn’t always believe in Jesus, but Jesus always believed in Peter. And he believes in you, too.

This causes us to reflect on the fact that even our closest supporters can fail us. They can miss a cue, misread a moment, respond out of a selfish place, or just not see our need.

Love them anyway. Forgive them anyway. Offer a way back with open arms. And surround yourself with others who do believe in you.

People who are close to you who don’t believe in you can be a millstone around your neck. It’s up to you to shed them, or forgive them. But in either case, keep on keeping on, aligning yourself with those who uplift you and cheer you on no matter what. And better yet, be an encourager for those whom you believe in. It makes all the difference in the world.

Friends on the Beach by David Bevel Jones.