You Become What You Behold

“You become what you behold.”

High school had just begun and I was terrified.  I remember sitting in the gym as an 8th grader surrounded by 750 girls.  So many young women who were truly so smart, talented and beautiful.  Some I knew, some I didn’t… And how was I possibly to go about choosing new friends?

A speaker walked into the gym to give a talk at our assembly and, although I heard dozens of talks through my teenage years that I cannot remember, what she said stuck with me:

“You become what you behold.”

I had only been in high school 2 weeks, but couldn’t stop pondering these words.  I took them so seriously.  I thought about them, prayed with them.  They may have, in many ways, determined the path I chose for my life.  If we become what we behold, then what I was I beholding?  Whom was I beholding?

I began at that point to surround myself with people I wanted to become more like.  I went to a youth group every Sunday, and another prayer group every Wednesday.  I befriended some older girls whom I looked up to.  I was hesitant about people, places and things that were going to pull me away from God.  

I became very involved with musical theatre at our brother school down the street, and Ms. Denny, the director of their plays, was one of the godliest women I knew.  Constantly being in her presence reminded me of the kind of woman I wanted to be like.  There was a local Catholic singer, Kitty, who became a mentor to me, and I dreamed of becoming like her one day.  Seeing her on a regular basis reminded me that I actually could be like her.  In short, I surrounded myself with women I wanted to become like.

And I still do the same today.

This is one of the greatest gifts we can offer each other in true friendship, and it’s one of the most precious things my friends offer me on a daily basis.  Although we are far from perfect, and we stumble and fall right and left, we remind each other of the women God is calling us to become.  And I use the word become purposefully because we are each works in progress! 

So if there are people in your own life who are bringing you down in some way, or encouraging you toward a path you do not want to be on, know that you have the freedom to walk away or choose something different.  And if there are women in your life who have led you, and continue to lead you, to become the woman God has created you to be, thank those women and thank God!  

There are countless women I could thank right now, but I want to thank a beautiful woman named Connie for speaking these words 18 years ago to an 8th grader who was listening:

“You become what you behold.”

Be His,