“To a worm in horseradish, the world is horseradish.”
Your surroundings make a powerful difference in your life. To an even greater degree, the people who surround you make a difference in your life. The people around you decide whether the world is horseradish or honey and whether you think the world is sweet or sour.
I just got back from a great weekend retreat with the team from my Ethiopia retreat. We had a great time, thanks to all the work of our hosts, and experienced some great fellowship. This retreat reminded me of how the company of encouraging, compassionate, and kind Christians can make a powerful impact on me.
My attitude and perspective of the world was different when I tackled my daily routine today. I felt a greater sense of hope and purpose when I looked at problems. The problems hadn’t gone away or shrunk in size over the weekend and yet they troubled me less.
The quote about the worm in the horseradish explains this phenomenon. When problems arise, I tend to assume that I’m alone in fighting the problem. I may have people supporting me or giving me counsel, but I still feel like I’m going to tackle the problem on my own.
Spending time with my Ethiopia team and taking other retreats reminds me that others are in the trenches with me. This is an easy thing to forget in the midst of my daily routine because no one works side by side with me or tackles all of my personal problems with me. One of the great things about my Ethiopia team is that they’ve been in the trenches with me and fought right alongside of me.
Taking the retreat with them reminded me of those experiences and brought an important truth to light. At their absolute best, my Ethiopia team is an expression of God’s faithfulness in my life. He’s in every trench with me and wants to help with the smallest problem.
God doesn’t have to give me all twenty of these tangible expressions of His faithfulness. Things like the Bible and the awesome leadership of my pastors are enough to show me His faithfulness. God does this because He understands it’s easy to look out at a landscape of problems, pain, and loneliness and believe these things define reality.
In order to combat that lie, He sends people into our lives to become tangible expressions of His encouragement, compassion, and kindness. Those people carry some of the greatest power to beat back the lies of horseradish we all believe from time to time. Without those tangible expressions, I would struggle to keep my head up and hope in my heart.
I cannot give a strong enough encouragement to seek out and develop these kind of relationships in your life. Some of us have a small group we meet with once a week, others may consistently serve alongside the same people, while some may not have either. Regardless of your situation, there’s always more room to develop better relationships and open your heart more to God’s love.
If your small group just meets once a week and discusses the Bible or the events of the week, I suggest making it a habit to serve together. It makes a difference to experience working side by side with someone towards the goal of making an eternal impact. I know from experience that one of the hardest parts of small groups is trusting that people have your best interest at heart; serving alongside those people will combat this destructive doubt.
For the people who just serve alongside others, I suggest forming that group into a small group or joining a small group and serving with them. The people who have an in depth knowledge of you and your life are the ones who know how to best encourage and love you. If no one knows the nitty gritty parts of your life, then you will assume people love the facade your present to the world.
Last but not least, I recommend those without either should just start taking steps to getting plugged into a church and small group. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed or too busy to make either happen. While you don’t have to be sharing the Gospel alongside your small group by next week, getting people around you and serving with others will bless you for all the reasons I previously shared.
Who we have around us and what kind of relationship we develop with them will make a powerful difference in our lives. If you see the world as horseradish, you have the power to change that. God has opened the doors for you to have people fight alongside you and give you a perspective of sweetness instead of sourness.
Are you in a small group of Christians who know about the nitty gritty of your life? Do you serve alongside them? Could you take steps to make either of those happen.
If you’d like help or advice in taking those steps, I’d love to see what I can do. The blog’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org