“Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”
The people we surround ourselves with will influence us for good or for ill. We must choose wisely if we want a life of freedom and joy and beauty. Unfortunately, and often without realizing it, we accept the subtle and negative influence of others. These people might not openly try to hold us back, but they work quietly on our fears and insecurities, leaving us feeling hopeless and helpless. Such was the case with the Scarecrow in the musical film The Wiz.
Presumably, for years the Scarecrow listened to the Crows around him, telling him he couldn’t win, break even, or even get out of the game. And no matter what others promised, in the end, things would always remain the same for him, that he would always be stuck on his pole. They were not necessarily being malicious, but simply trying to help him accept their limited view of reality. Check out the clip below:
“Crows” can be anyone or anything that has a negative influence in our life and keeps us from our God-given potential. They can be friends and coworkers, entertainment and news programs, social media feeds, and even those closest to us in our own house, our spouse, parents, or children. These are not inherently bad people or things, but left unchecked their influence can suffocate our growth.
Sometimes it is best for the relationship itself to end. This may be the case with certain media programs and friends. At other times, the answer is simply recognizing when our loved ones are acting like Crows, seeing the poison of their influence, and remembering we are actually free from it all. Such was the case when Jesus rebuked Peter (see Matthew 16:21-23).
The only thing keeping the Scarecrow on his pole was that he believed the lies. The Crows did nothing to actually keep him up there; they only spoke with crafty and well sounding words. When we reject whatever is false and choose to live in the Truth, we can find freedom from whatever “pole” we are enslaved to. This becomes easier when we surround ourselves with people who are willing to speak truth and love into our lives.
For the Scarecrow this came initially through his relationship with Dorothy. She helped him to deal with the Crows, come down off his pole, and live in freedom. As their company grew, his life was also enriched by his friendship with the Tin Man and the Lion. We all need true traveling companions who will walk with us and help us to fulfill our destinies.
Are there people in your life holding you back from God’s best? Is it time to find a new group of friends, friends who believe in you and speak truth and love into your life?
Stop listening to the Crows and start easing on down the road!