The Weight of Influence

I’ve talked before about vulnerability, and that it’s sometimes difficult to write because a lot of vulnerability is required (See “Gifts Used for Growth“). In everything that I write, a piece of my life, heart and/or mind is revealed to the readers.

That is one part of writing that is scary, but there is another I find to be much more significant. The aspect of writing that probably scares me the most is influence.

I used to be able to write with freedom and post without much forethought. I wrote about what I was learning and put it out for the world to see. As I’m getting older and am a leader in my church’s jr. high youth group, I’m understanding the power of influence.

What scares me is that someone might read what I’m learning, my thoughts and opinions and fully accept them for their own. I try my best to write honestly, to admit that I don’t know everything, or even very much at all. To show that I have weaknesses, and I fall short often. I do this in hopes that people won’t take everything I write as perfect and true, but to instead take it with a grain of salt.

The best example I have of this is when I wrote my post titled “Sex and God“. In all honestly, I didn’t even want to write it, but I also didn’t feel like I had a choice. It was my response to a blog post by a woman who walked through some difficult circumstances with intimacy in the beginning of her marriage. She wrote about why waiting to have sex until marriage messed her up. What bothered me the most while reading her post was seeing the potential influence it could have on others. I thought of any of my jr. high students reading it, accepting it and acting on it. That was what pushed me to write my response post, along with God’s graceful guidance. I wanted to add some Truth to a situation full of lies. I wanted to add some positive influence to a situation with the potential to have an incredibly negative impact.

The weight of my influence can sometimes be scary. I never want someone to read my writing and accept it without thinking through it on their own first. Not everyone will agree with what I have to say, and not everyone should.

I would say that one of my most common prayers when I sit down to write something new is discernment. I want to write honestly, I want to be open about what I’m walking through, and I want to encourage others towards growth, but that takes prayer, diligence and discernment.

Although influence is a scary thing, and in the wrong hands it can be deadly, it can also glorify God and bring honor and praise to Him. That’s what I want. I want everything I say to be God-honoring and to walk away knowing that I only write because of Him and the words He gives me.

Where do you have influence?

Do you understand the value in being a positive influence to others, in everything that you do and say?

Are you using that influence to further the Kingdom of God? If not, what are you using it for?

Do you recognize the weight of having influence over any single person?

Have a blessed day!

-Sadie

To Change One Person

 — It has been over a month since I’ve posted! A later post will explain why 🙂 —

I don’t write this to brag, or in search of affirmation. I write this to prove the goodness, love and incredible grace of our King.

Life has been rough. I’ve been overloading my plate of responsibility with substances that aren’t nutrient-giving. Of course there are days, even weeks, that work is going to feel like more of a chore than a blessing. There are times that school, no matter how much I love to learn, will be the most complicated and monotonous thing. There are moments that I will push myself way too hard and run out of energy. That’s where I’ve gotten to. I’m running on empty, and yet somehow still going. Many things have began happening to help me realize the emotional and physical drain my schedule has taken on me.

Several weeks ago, I had a meltdown. Between several pieces of hard news that I had recently received, and the chaos of life, I couldn’t hold myself together anymore. God came and held me together. He listened as I prayed, begged, for help. He collected all the tears that fell. He was glorified in my time of desperate worship. He wrapped me in His love and reminded me of who I am because of Him.

My prayer became, that in all the pain I’ve walked through, in the many challenging experiences I’ve gotten through by God’s grace,  in all the chaos that is my life, that God would use me to touch one person. That all of this would not be in vain.

That person showed up on my doorstep two days later. A beautiful young woman that went through an extremely challenging time during her 9th grade year of high school, while I was a senior, was sitting in my living room. Her older brother, the person she admired most, passed away. He was my brother’s best friend, and I decided to make her a priority in my life after all that had happened. I tried my best to stay in touch and made a point of stopping to talk if I saw her in the halls. My heart went out to her, because although I could stand and talk to her, I could not relate to the emotions and thoughts she had. All I could do was pray for and love her.

She came for a surprise visit with a mutual friend and it was such a blessing to catch up. She is doing so well, and is graduating high school in two weeks and headed off to University in the fall. She has so much life and adventure ahead of her. So many new things to discover and challenges to overcome. Nearing the end of the conversation, she said some words that hit me harder than I could have ever imagined.

She told me how much she appreciated that I checked in on her in high school and kept an eye on her, and let me know how much that helped her.

I was, and still am, blown away. Here I had felt like I was not relevant at all, like I couldn’t offer her enough giant hugs or listening ears to make up for the heartache she was battling with.

God knew that I needed that. He knew that I needed to be reminded that all the challenges and struggle I face in my faith walk is not in vain, but is completely, 100% worth it. A common question I have when making decision or facing strong emotions is “Is it worth it?” Is the struggle and the fight worth it. God once again has reminded me that it most definitely is, no doubt about it!

I’m writing all of this for the sake of it being a reminder of God’s character. This isn’t an ego boost or a prideful moment, it’s a time of me to reflect on how glorious and incredible our God is! Sometimes, God chooses to gift us with things we don’t deserve, but He freely, and loving gives, regardless. What an amazing God we serve.

In times of desperation, times that it may not feel worth it or like you’re changing anything. Remember that even though you may not realize it, there are plenty of people whose lives you have touched, you may just not know it yet.

Have a blessed day!

-Sadie