In the Disney animated movie “The Jungle Book,” a panther finds an abandoned baby and takes him to a mother wolf who raises him along with her own cubs. The boy, Mowgli, spends 10 years in the jungle as a member of the wolf pack. However, a tiger with a known hatred of man is spotted in the jungle, and the wolf pack decides to send Mowgli away to a man-village for his own protection. The panther, Bagheera, volunteers to escort a resistant Mowgli there.
Over the course of the movie, Mowgli forges a number of relationships. He befriends a baby elephant who dreams of taking over from his dad as the leader of the jungle patrol. He meets a bear who promises to raise him, so he does not have to leave the jungle. He also encounters a snake who wishes to eat him and the tiger who wishes to kill him. There is an orangutan who promises to help him stay in the jungle provided he teaches him how to make man’s fire. He also meets vultures who accept him in their midst as a fellow outcast.
The panther, Bagheera is able to convince the bear, Baloo, why Mowgli must leave the jungle, and both of them work together to get him to the edge of the man-village. There, Mowgli is entranced by a young girl who is fetching water from a stream, and he eventually follows her into the man-village.
At last! Mowgli is where he is supposed to be! He had never before seen a fellow man (or woman) and yet he instantly identified with the young girl and instantly abandoned the known for the unknown.
For 10 years, he had been limited by his relationships, but finally, instinct won out. He is a man. He was never wolf. He may have acted like wolf, but his DNA was that of a man – always was, always would be.
From Mowgli ‘ s story to mine…
I wrote my first book at age 10 (my mother still shows anyone who cares to see it). I wrote another in my late teenage years (that one, unfortunately, is lost simply because I did not give it to my mother!) I did not write again for many years. Throughout those years, my creative side was under wraps because the relationships around me focused on intellect and not creativity. There was no time for “flights of fancy” while I was pursuing a degree, neither was there time to write as I settled into my first job! Many years later, I started to write again, and now I am writing for an enlarged audience simply because of the relationships I am blessed to have forged more recently.
Now, regardless of the circumstances of your birth or the environment within which you find yourself, you are still you.
The very essence of who you are, your giftings, your talents, your creative instincts, cannot be changed by your environment, neither can it be changed by your relationships. However, your environment and relationships have the potential to help or to hinder you in your journey of self-discovery. I could not help but notice how practically everyone, except Mowgli himself, seemed very aware of the fact that he was different and did not belong in the jungle.
It is critical that we are careful with whom we form relationships. Mowgli was limited by his relationships until the right relationships came along that brought the real him out into the open. Are your relationships perhaps limiting you too?
You will only ever be as great as the people you surround yourself with.
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33
Bad company is able to corrupt even a talented person. Chances are; the people around you want to maintain the status quo in your relationship dynamics. They do not want the relationship to change. Since they cannot see what you see, they try to convince you that there is nothing where you are going.
Be brave and let go of those who make fun of that thing you love, that thing that makes you smile, that thing that you feel passionate about, that thing that God deposited in you, that thing that is key to fulfilling your destiny. Remember Abraham separated from Lot.
In addition, actively seek out relationships that will help you fine-tune your talents. When you begin to fulfill your destiny, you will be glad you did.