Who we hold close

I had this thought during bible study this week. We're studying Esther and there's a part of chapter 3 (I think) where King Xerses gives his ring to his closest advisor, Haman, and tells him to do what he wishes with it. The ring was consider his seal, signature, approval. With the kings ring Haman could do whatever he wished and what he wished was a complete annihilation of the jewish people in Xerses empire.
Someone remarked, "Why would Xerses do that? That would be like giving someone my credit card that had no limit on it" True. But I was thinking that I would probably do that depending on who it was. I would give it to several people. Xerses had promoted Haman to the 2nd position in the kingdom, he was one of his most trusted advisers, there was no reason to not trust Haman according to Xerses isolated spot in the kingdom. But it got me thinking about the people that we have "promoted" to the 2nd position in our own little kingdoms.

Who we allow close to us can help shape the direction our life will take. They will push us closer to God or pull us farther away. They can encourage or discourage us. But we are the ones that decide who is close and has influence on us.
Are we so isolated, insulated that we are incapable of making well informed decisions about who is influencing us?
My friend Pete recently emerged from some serious drama. Drama that was not his but drama that seriously affected his outlook on life and friendships for a day or so. Now, on the back end of the drama one of the drama inducers has withdrawn and is feeling isolated because of the choices they made. Pete and I were discussing today whether he should reach out to this person...especially because of the toll the drama took on Pete mentally and emotionally. We arrived at an impasse of sorts.

I'm certainly not advocating that you cut people out when they "make trouble". But you certainly should be slow to promote someone to the position of 2nd most powerful person in your kingdom. When that happens you are lending your ear to them and if they do not have the best intentions, or intentions that are in line biblically or in line with your goals, hopes and plans for life then they have an ability to knock you down and keep you there.
I've been emerging for the last few years from a pretty deadly habit of this type. I would allow people to say grievous things to me because I didn't want to hurt their feelings, or I thought they wouldn't like me if I didn't let them verbally/mentally abuse me in some way...and I so desperately wanted to be liked. I let them say cruel things to and about me because secretly I was pretty sure they were right.
Slowly but surely, I'm learning to find my identity in Christ, in the one that wants the best for me and the one that is constantly drawing me ever closer to Him. I'm becoming more confident in the woman he made me and the gifts he's given me. I'm beginning to feel calmer and more assured in the words I speak and the actions I take. Most days I'm still pretty petrified that those things will go away and I will go back to being the pile of blech I used to feel like, but I'm also pretty happy. The reason behind that is on one hand age and maturity. However I know that a lot of it has to do with the distance I've put between myself and those that have torn me down and spoke hatred and darkness into my life. Some of them have fallen away completely when I started putting up boundaries and sticking to them, others have adjusted and have actually made changes themselves which amaze me and make me so proud of them. But there are those, that are still around. I still interact with them, speak to them, etc. Things have changed between us, I've set boundaries and they mostly stick to them.
Life on the flip side of drama and angst is nice and calm, but certainly not boring.

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