Hi friends! Below is a guest post from Stephanie - I love her heart and how she understands this community. Enjoy her wisdom and soak it up today!
|photo by live laugh studios|
Do you know what influence is? More importantly, do you know you have it? As a sponsor for the recent Influence Conference (hosted by Jessi) I have spent a lot of time over the past months thinking about it. Influence is the way we impact those around us with our actions and reactions. We ALL have influence. We have influence with our husbands, our children, what does or does not happen in our homes and schedules, in our careers, with our friends and family and, for those of us with a calling to blog, speak, teach, or write, with those who read and listen to what we write and say.
No matter where our current sphere of influence lies I believe we all want to see it result in something positive: a healthy marriage relationship, well-behaved children, manageable schedules, a thriving ministry. You know what I have noticed though? There is a disconnect between what we want and the belief we have the influence to create it. The problem is that we believe we have to create influence on our own
That got me thinking and praying... How do we move from believing we have to create influence on our own to allowing God to influence through us? I felt God whisper "Cease striving and know that I AM God." (Psalm 46:10, MSG) and knew it to be our starting point.
But, how do we DO this? I asked.
In response, He directed me to many of your blogs and Facebook posts where I discovered God-breathed truths in your own words. Here’s how God wants us to cease striving and let Him lead instead:
1. Daily commit to asking God how to use the influence He has given you for His glory, not your own.
"Be a child of God first, covered in His grace, wrapped in His love, following hard after His will." BWL
"Abide, abide, abide! ...get my heart straight for the day. Seeking to abide before attempting to use my influence!" BCC
This is not a step that can be skipped; it is a lifestyle habit to be claimed. Since all have influence, we all have to potential to use it unwisely if we don’t ask God how to use it. This step also helps us remember to allow God to work through us rather than seek to create the influence ourselves.
2. If you're afraid, take a step of faith anyway.
My influence is real. Our God is real and has given each of us a purpose. A purpose to show up and be ourselves and in the process glorify Him." NE
"I always sorta felt like Moses, when God was calling him to do something and he was basically like "who am I? I can’t speak. No one will listen to me. Who am I to lead?" JM
Fear is a smoky curtain meant to hem us in. When our heart is focused on doing the will of God, our actions line up with scripture, and our motives are pure, we can commit whatever happens to God and He will use it for not only our good (Romans 8:28) but the good of His kingdom as well.
3. Celebrate the success of others.
"...i need to have a major heart adjustment. quit comparing. quit worrying. quit self-doubting. and i need to ask Him to empty me of all of myself and do a major drain-o type plumbing work in my clogged heart...so that it is HIM that is pouring through me. not me." MA
Ladies, we are NOT in competition with one another...we are all part of the body of Christ (see 1 Corinthians 12:20-26). God created you just for the sphere of influence He has given you. NO ONE else is suited as well. Celebrate that my friend. Celebrate too that truth for every woman you meet.
4. You ARE Worthy of the Calling!
"God is saying "... I AM who I AM. And I am inside of you and I have something to say through you, with your voice, your style, your personality. And I created YOU to be you, so that I could work through you to reach people like You." It makes me cry and feel humbled and honored to have purpose, and to be designed FOR that purpose." JM
The reactions of others, good or bad, do not determine our worthiness. Only God alone can determine that. He, my sweet sister, has chosen you to have influence. In that alone you are worthy. Live in the freedom of that. Recite it over and over and over until its realness settles into the deep, wounded, fear-filled places of your heart and let its Light set you free.
5. Keep your priorities straight.
“I think I returned home with a renewed passion for my family. I came home feeling humbled and privileged that 2 little humans call me mommy and 1 amazing man calls me wife. My DAILY LIFE is kingdom building and that is an INCREDIBLE blessing...what incredible influence He's given me RIGHT AT HOME.” NW
Your influence is not the center of who you are or the life you have been given. It is the product of it. God honors our time, broadens our scope, and continually replenishes us when we live out our priorities along His plan: Spending time with Him first, and through that getting ourselves filled and nourished so we can pour His love, grace, mercy and peace out on our husbands, children, family, and homes (in that order), and then those He brings to us through careers, volunteering, and ministry.
Here are a few other thoughts YOU have as well:
Remember who’s in control of this. "I found a sort of peace and permission, that it may grow, and it may not--and that's okay. I should still take my words and my contribution and this little thing called influence seriously... remembering that I'm a lesser light pointing to the Greater Light, and as long as I'm moving forward, the details are in His hands." TC
"...be bold, speak up, and honestly just be myself. It brings to mind 2 Corinthians 4:7 “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” AE
There is no right way to do this. "Trust God's plan--it's often not linear, but winding." RBK
This is just the beginning. "I am just getting started with you" KK
We are at cross-roads: Will we choose the path of self-sufficiency, or will we choose to let God dictate who, what, when, where and how to spread the influence He has given us? I am praying we will all choose the latter.
If you want to learn more about how I learned to cultivate God's influence --the process I went through in choosing to let God have full control of my life, I hope you will check out my Bible study: Cultivating Peace: Revealing God's Peace Within Your Chaos. In it not only will you hear my story, but you will also find God's truth about yours.
I am praying for you!
Founder of Peace of Mind Ministries
PS: I am a music fiend when it comes to feeling God in my heart. Here's the song He wants me to share with you. Please listen and let the words soak into you The Words I Would Say, Sidewalk Prophets