Lessons from the Starlings: How Our Friends Influence Us

Lessons From the Starling: How Our Friends Influence Us


My sister-in-law and friend Joanna Henderson is guest posting on Poured out His Love today. She had wrote this piece for those who were a part of a woman’s retreat, but I thought it would also encourage others. I hope you enjoy!

After coming home from the Real Housewives Retreat, I could not stop thinking of the enormous flock of black birds that swarmed the dining hall that last meal we had together. It was enough for us all to get out of our seats and stare out the windows (nobody dared to go outside though!).

There were so many birds that we could all gaze in amazement out different windows on various sides of the hall and still all see a massive amount of birds at the same time! I just brushed it off as one of those unexplainable things and just focused on the incredible ways God spoke during the weekend. But after I got home, it kept coming back to my thoughts.

European Starling

It turns out, the only bird that lives in this area and fit the description is the European Starling.

  • Starlings are not native to America, they were released in Central Park in 1890’s and have flourished since.
  • There are at least 200 million starlings in the U.S.
  • They can be found all the way from New York, to Florida, to Alaska.

One interesting fact about the European Starling, is it’s ability to mimic other birds and noises. This is often dependent on the area that the bird is living in. For example, starlings that live in the city have been known to start chirping like a car alarm!

Living a life that pleases God

Like the starling we are strangers in this land. We do not “naturally” belong in this world, especially as wives seeking to be godly and raise godly families, we are not the norm. God has introduced us to an unnatural habitat, and with His help we can flourish, thrive and spread all over the country!

I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.

John 17:14-15

Our friendships influence our actions

We should also remember that who we spend our time with and what influences we allow in our lives greatly effects what comes out of our mouth. We need to surround ourselves with like-minded women who will build us up and encourage us in a godly way. We can’t do this life thing on our own!

We need each other. We need friends. The starling is a picture of why we need to be careful who those friends are. Are we mimicking God or the world? Do we sound like a beautiful song bird that He created us to be, or an incessant alarm with no purpose that people can’t stand to hear? Choose to fill your lives with fellow song birds!

Bad company corrupts good character.

1 Corinthians 15:33

Being a friend takes communication

Starling represents relationships, how the world views your relationships, and communication in those relationships. The starling is supposed to remind us of when it is time to speak up and communicate to those that we care about and vocalize our needs to each other.

I was amazed at the symbolism that goes with the starling. How important it is to reach out to those who can lift us up and reach back when others need a friend. This requires communication!

How can others help us, if we don’t tell them we need a shoulder to lean on? We need to remember that there are times to tell our story. When we share we find encouragement and support and are able to encourage and support others in similar struggles.

How does the world see us in our friendships? Do they see someone who can be counted on and are they there for their friends to support them, or do they see a gossiping woman who tears down others? By God’s grace, I hope we can be the friend to those who have no friends and an encouragement to the down trodden. Let us take our lesson from the starling and spread our hope throughout the world, mimicking Christ and communicating our needs to each other. Let’s show the world what godly friends are like and be the godly friend they need.

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Please Share Your Thoughts

  • Linda Henderson

    Love this! I like what Joanna said about us not belonging to this world. So many Christians just try and fit in with the world,so that you can’t really tell the difference between them and a Non-Christian.We do need to stand out as living a different kind of lifestyle- a lifestyle that is pleasing to God but may not be pleasing to the world. We can only do this if we are truly experiencing Him in our lives by having a relationship with God.The Lord wants to reveal Himself to each and every person- if they will only ask Him to do so.
    Good word about not gossiping, too. That’s the one thing we hardly ever hear preached about in church. Even the Puritans who came over to this country to worship freely ended up gossiping about people who seemed different, and branded many innocent women as witches. Sometimes people can be so right in one area, and really wrong in another.
    Anyway- good word, Joanna. And thanks for encouraging Joanna to share it, Grace! Praise the Lord for what the Spirit is revealing to you,and how He’s working in your lives!

  • I love the starling illustration. Now I have a great visual in my head. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you Liz! I thought it was a cool illustration too.