by Tamika Burgess
“Ask God to remove those who hinder you,” is a statement I heard a lot while growing up. Every time someone said it I thought, why would we need to pray for people to be removed when we are the ones who allow them to be around us in the first place? I got my answer when I reached my mid-twenties. That’s when I started to question the people around me and decided to pray for help on weeding out the bad ones.
As usual, I wanted God to answer my prayer right away. And when I didn’t see anything happening with the people around me, I figured my relationships were fine. So I moved on and stopped praying about it, and eventually forgot all about the prayer.
True to who He is, God answered my prayer in His own time. And out of what seemed like nowhere, for various reasons friends started to leave all at once. This was a hard time in my life (don’t pray for something you’re not ready to receive) because I felt so alone. And because I’d forgot about that specific prayer, I walked around feeling like there was a conspiracy in which everyone decided to keep away from me.
After finally getting through this phase, I realized the removal of old unnecessary friendships meant there was now room for new meaningful ones. Not to say that everyone I no longer associate with was removed because they were a hindrance. But the majority of the friendships I had a while ago were shallow and flat-out pointless.
Regardless of the transition being hard, I’m thankful I went through it because I am forever changed. Looking back on these now non-existent friendships, I now know exactly why these people had to go; many of them were stagnant. These people were too comfortable and showed no signs of onward movement.
And for where I am today, I need people around me who are doing something with themselves. People who I can look at as motivation and inspiration. People who have goals, a passion, and a purpose. I now understand how important it is to have like-minded people close to me. As I continue to push forward, the people around me need to be doing the same.
Even if it’s something you don’t pray about, we all should take time to think about the people around us and the type of impact they have on our lives. Are they strengthening or weakening us? Are they causing us to be stagnant and mediocre?
Birds of a feather definitely flock together. And if you have to separate from the flock to keep moving and achieve your success, do it. There is nothing wrong with striving for excellence.
Updated June 2016