I’ve always loved the imagery of Proverbs 27:17. Iron sharpening iron . . . Both are equal in strength, yet instead of battling to prove which is greatest by attempting to subdue the other, they come together in a gentle manner, drawing close with a common purpose of edification. When swords clash in battle, they can become nicked, dull, or even broken. But when they are drawn together in humility and mutual respect, they sharpen each other, making both better.
I experienced this sharpening firsthand last weekend as a group of writing friends gathered for our annual retreat. Julie Klassen already posted about our wonderful trip to the Library of Congress. There were many highlights, that being near the top of the list. We also had the chance to spend time running ideas by an editor from Bethany House, having brunch in the historical Jefferson hotel, and one of the best “sharpening” experiences of the weekend–brainstorming plot ideas for upcoming novels.
With all the fun going on, it’s hard to believe that any writing got done, but it did. Best of all was the time spend together, gently sharpening one another. Whether we were brainstorming, speed scrabble playing, discussing industry trends, watching movies, or sight-seeing, whatever we did, there was a constant atmosphere of encouragement, mutual respect, learning from one another, and sharing of ideas. I definitely left sharper than when I arrived.
- How do you and your friends “sharpen” each other?
- Any ideas for cozy retreat sites we might like to try in future years?