I was perusing my facebook page the other day when I came across a post from my Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell. It said:

“Every now and then you should do inventory of the people in your inner circle. Are they lifting you up or pulling you down? It’s time to cut the dead weight and rise to the level God wants you to be. You are too blessed not to have blessed people in your life.”

I thought about this because it really rang true in my heart. We are the people we associate with. I had to look back over my past and think about my inner circle. I hung around with people who had no real goals in life and it reflected in their attitudes and conversation. How can you ascend when the people you are hanging with are perfectly happy with mediocrity? You can’t.  The saying “birds of a feather flock together” makes perfect sense to me now. Who you hang around is a reflection of who you are.

I chose to associate with people who thought nothing of stealing or using drugs so therefore I had no problem with doing those things, even though it went against my upbringing. I became so adept at stealing also known as boosting that I had a clientele that would call me and tell me what items they wanted and what store it was in. My girlfriends and I would go get whatever orders we had and we were known for delivering the goods. During this time, no one ever thought about consequences, that was nowhere in the conversation or thought process. That shows how much vision we didn’t have.  The money we received from our thievery was often spent on partying, drinking and drugging and we were all perfectly satisfied with that.

I often found myself having to make decisions that I knew went against my embedded moral code but because my friends were doing it, I had no problem with it. I can actually be honest with myself and say at that time; yes I was a follower even though I knew I had leader qualities. When we become something we are neither comfortable with nor happy with to please the crowd we are really short-stopping ourselves from becoming all that we were meant to become.  There was no room for expressing dreams or hopes among my crowd because that wasn’t the norm. All of our conversations were about “who was screwing so and so’s man” or “Bitch, did you see the latest Gucci purse.”

It’s hard to admit my lack of foresight at that time but that was my test and now I have a wonderful testimony because of it. I count it all joy that I never ended up in prison or that I wasn’t killed because of places I allowed myself to be. I actually was in a drug house that was robbed and one of the robbers ended up getting killed by the home owner. The grace of God protected me from my foolishness. I can now take full ownership of any decisions I made that affected my present because I can see where I made some wrong turns. I chose the wrong crowd and by doing so I stunted my own personal growth. We can be our own stumbling blocks, other people don’t have to throw obstacles in our paths because we are experts at doing it to ourselves and believe me I was a pro at it.

When I read my pastor’s recent posts and I found myself doing an inventory of the people I surround myself with these days, I can proudly say I have some Godly, envisioned, empowered, moving toward and achieving goals kind of people in my circle. My circle of friends which include men as well as women have no problem being sounding boards to whatever idea, problem or celebration I may be going through. If the people I am around the most don’t have time to listen to my concerns or thoughts than those aren’t the friends for me. If every time I had an idea that might improve my quality of life and I call a friend up and they tell me how I shouldn’t even think along those lines or laugh at my idea, they are not to be counted among my friends for very long. If I call up a so called associate and all they have to talk about every time I call them is somebody else, tearing them down and not lifting them up, then I find a way to get off the phone quickly with them and move toward disenfranchising that association.

The bad news is negativity is contagious, the good news is so is positivity. I find it essential to my own personal growth to find like minded people who are happy with themselves and trying make their lives and their children’s lives better. How can I be blessed if the people I am with don’t believe in blessings? The same things I require in a friend I freely give. Eagles don’t fly with buzzards for a reason.

Who do you fly with?


  1. www.shalenadiva.com via Facebook on June 10, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Nicole, I’m so glad you wrote this article! I appreciate your honesty. I can honestly say that I never had this problem because I was a loner for most of my life. I never had a lotof girlfriends, except my sorority sisters, but it wasn’t this kindof negative influence. As my mother says, I always had my own mind. It’s amazaing hwo you were able to get away from those negative people. Just think of how many leaders are being followers and not living up to what God has for them. They need to read more stories like yours to recognize this. That is why I’m so glad you wrote this.

  2. Nicole Stith via Facebook on June 10, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    I truly am grateful that I had morals and standards instilled in me that in the long run arose and outweighed all the negative influences.

  3. www.shalenadiva.com via Facebook on June 10, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Just like the scripture which tells us that we have to train up a child in the way they should go. I’m glad your parents instilled that in you.

  4. Nicole Stith via Facebook on June 10, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Great minds think alike because that scripture came to mind as well. I am blessed because I had good Godly parents even though I chose to do the fool at one point. That verse is true though..we may go another direction, but it’s hard to going against your own grain, it’s like fighting a battle within yourself and either you chose to be a winner or you choose to be a loser…I want to be on the winning side at all times. Losing teaches you one thing and that’s how much better it is to WIN!

  5. www.shalenadiva.com via Facebook on June 10, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    What surprised me most is that grown folks struggle with peer pressure just as much as teens and children.

  6. Felicia Favors Konan via Facebook on June 10, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    I must say that I have been “caught up” with the “it” crowd even at my age…lol, but thankfully the God in me doesn’t let me stray for very long!! 🙂 (oh facebook, how i’ve missed ya)…….

  7. www.shalenadiva.com via Facebook on June 10, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    @elicia–where ahve you been? I missed you! Did you get my email? Sad face, but glad you’re back! You need to enter the “100 Dresses” contest. Go here for the rules: http://www.shalenadiva.com/archives/3433

  8. Nicole Stith via Facebook on June 10, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    @ Felicia Welcome back. Yes it is so easy to get caught up, the term peer pressure covers a wide variety and it does not discriminate about who it’s pressuring and I love how you said “the God in me doesn’t let me stray for very long” The Lord is the ultimate shepherd he won’t let his flock stray to far for very long!!

  9. Felicia Favors Konan via Facebook on June 10, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    Hey shalena, no i didn’t get ur e~mail….I lost my phone, and with my son out of school i’ve just been runnin around keepin him busy!! I will enter the contest, cause those dresses are sooo cute….:)

  10. Syntax Phyuh via Facebook on June 10, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Yes, I can relate.

  11. www.shalenadiva.com via Facebook on June 10, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    @Felicia–Cool! I miss you on the page! Hurry up and enter!

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