- Jenni Catron
Something deep inside each of us longs to count. We want to matter to the world. We long to make a difference. We get bored, tired, even depressed by routine and monotony. We’re desperate for significance. We’re searching for acknowledgment. We beam when someone says, “You matter.” We seek praise, accolades and awards, but somehow once we achieve them, they feel empty and we move on to another desperate search for the next fix that will affirm our worth. While we long for significance, we wrestle with whether that longing is good and godly. But what if it is? What if God expects us to discover and unleash our God-given influence? Each one of us has tremendous influence. You were made to influence the world in a way that no one else can. Dallas Willard says it this way in The Divine Conspiracy:
The drive to significance is a simple extension of the creative impulse of God. … It is outwardly directed to the good to be done. We were built to count, as water is made to run downhill. We are placed in a specific context to count in ways no one else does. That is our destiny.So, what does influence look like? How do we earn it? How do we keep it? How do we effectively steward it? These are the questions I’ve wrestled with. I want to use influence for good because influence is a powerful thing. Influence is powerful because it connects with longings in our hearts. It connects with a God-ordained desire to matter. We want to know that we can make a difference in our own lives and the lives of others. By definition, influence means the power to change or affect someone. Influence shapes human lives, and for that, it’s sacred work. In my personal journey to understand influence, I began studying Galatians 6:4-5 (The Message translation) where we’re told:
Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.I love this passage because God is compelling us to understand how uniquely he has created us. Each of us have been given a unique set of gifts, talents, experiences and opportunities that have shaped us and equipped us to impact the world in ways that no one else can. But so often we get tripped up by the things we are not. We throw excuses at God for why we can’t: “I’m not smart enough. I’m not strong enough. I’m not eloquent enough. I don’t have the resources. I don’t have the privilege. I have too many other responsibilities.” We all have excuses or reasons for why we can’t be who God is calling us to be, but when we throw aside the excuses, we begin to see what it looks like to “sink” ourselves into the influence God has designed us for. You are specifically designed to impact the world in a way that no one else can. You have a specific purpose, a calling, that only you are qualified to fulfill. Your God-given influence defines your purpose. Your purpose establishes your leadership. Your leadership makes a mark on the world. What gift, talent, experience or opportunity has God given you that you need to explore more? What have you been holding back? God’s picture isn’t complete without each of us living our creative best. We need you to give all you’ve got. I’m better when you’re better. You’re better when I’m better. We’re all better together. Let’s discover and unleash our God-given influence! Excerpts of this post are taken from CLOUT: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence by Jenni Catron.