There is something about flying that makes us think. I guess it has something to do with sitting still with nowhere to go.

As I sat in my seat on my flight to Canada, I got a change to think-I mean really think. Maybe it had something to do with the book I was reading: How Successful People Think by John Maxwell. I paused on the sentence where Maxwell talked about iron sharpening iron. I thought about the irons in my life-the people who challenge and encourage me to be a better version of myself. I also thought about past friendships that didn’t exactly edify me.

There were many lessons that I learned during this season in my life. I learned to evaluate my motives and the motives of those around me when giving and receiving advice, respectively.  I also learned to evaluate whether my relationships propelled me forward, or whether they held me back. The last, and possibly, the most valuable lesson that I learned this season was the value of being able to be myself without fear of judgment.

If we are not careful, sometimes we can become prisoners to other people’s issues and opinions, and people have a lot of issues and opinions. When we do, we can begin to take on personalities and characteristics that are not inherent to our nature.

I’ve heard it said that people dislike in others what it is that they hate about themselves. If I could add to that, I would say that people also hate in others the very thing they wished they had. All too often, I have seen people criticize other people about a particular characteristic or circumstance only to embrace that same characteristic or circumstance when they achieve it. The problem is, if we are not careful, we could be walking around holding on to baggage that wasn’t even our issue to begin with. Meanwhile, the original owner of the baggage has moved on and has left us standing in the aftermath of the wreckage—bitter and broken.

So what do we do? The first and most important thing is to remember who we are in Christ. We are God’s masterpiece—every one of us. We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14). The second thing to remember is that we should not be afraid to be ourselves. If someone cannot appreciate our quirks and personality, that’s okay. Move on. It is okay to move on. Lastly, we should not let other people’s insecurity become our problems. In life, we all have our crosses to bear. The last thing we should want to do is to take on someone else’s. It impedes our happiness. Remember, you don’t have to apologize to anyone for being happy—for being you!

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