Write 31 Days- Day 15- Finishing up Esther

Esther

The other Influencers in the Book of Esther

Did you fret when you saw the title ? Oh don’t  worry I will be referencing it still throughout the rest of this writing Challenge.  But first we really need to look at the Influencers who  rounded out the rest of the book of Esther. Here are the 5 others we will be discussing together today.

  1. Mordecai
  2. King Xerxes
  3. Queen Vashti
  4. Haman
  5. King Xerxes’ advisors

Some will be assigned the title of positive or negative Influence.  We will discuss what makes them such. BUT then there are two who are up in the air- we don’t actually know how their influence panned out.

MORDECAI

Mordecai was a positive influence for sure.  There is no doubt about that.  Though he really ruffled Haman’s feathers when we made the hard decision not to bow to him as he passed, he made the RIGHT decision because God had been clear about bowing to others bestowing honor that was rightly deserved  by only God.

sometimes when we take a stand like Mordecai did it is an unpopular decision.  It doesn’t make it any less right or positive BUT it can put a hefty price on our heads.

This can be as simple as standing up for someone who cannot defend themselves OR as life and death as taking a stand for your faith while faced with the possibility of death for doing so.

Mordecai also chose to speak up when he overheard a plot to kill king Xerxes.    He could have played dumb and never said a word.  Not standing for what is right,  would have been an active decision for the worst kind of negative influence there is.  DEATH.  King Xerxes could have been murdered, because it was easier for Mordecai to keep quiet.

And He was a positive influence to Esther.  He had helped raise his orphaned cousin and she was now a lovely woman married to the king.  She respected him and what he had today.  She followed all he told her to do, even when she didn’t want to.

And finally in Esther 8:17 b we are told, “and many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them.”  COVERTS! Despite the fact that God is not mentioned in this book, you can see him working in every aspect.  None of this was by chance or happenstance This all Happened for a purpose.

KING XERXES

When this book opens and we first see King Xerxes we see that he LOVES to PAR-TAY! And he loves his wine.  The good stuff ALL the time no matter how drunk they got it was always the best-In those days as people partied (feasted) and got drunker the cheaper and less potent the wine would get. But not for good old king Xerxes.  SOOOOO clearly he was a bad influence! BUT he most certainly did not stay there.

I think the turning point came when Esther walked in and he had a choice to make.  Hold out the scepter or consult his advisors (as he did with Vashti)He made a choice to extend grace rather than ask for opinions.  He chose grace and mercy.

Xerxes was also a very angry man.  When he was didn’t get his way when he called for Vashti he was livid.  So much so he sought others opinions.  ( not always a bad choice, especially when we are angry) However note the difference when he is angry with Haman that he sought to kill the Jews in  all the kings land, which included Mordecai who the king had just honored for saving his life and Esther his queen.  Do you remember how he handled his anger, he left the room! To think.   and he made a decision, the right one to punish Human.  >

Tomorrow we are going to hit the last 3.  Two of them will be super short and the other well, we could maybe go on about him for a whole lot longer.

 

Write 31 Days- Day 14- Choices

Choices

We All Have Choices

I had a professor in Bible College who is fun of quotable quotes.  I have mentioned him both in the series and in other posts as well.  Mr. S used to say “if you limit yourself to an either or decision you haven’t considered all the options. ” AND I agree with him except this one thing : Your choice (decision) to be a positive or negative influence.  When we started this week I said ” Positive or Negative that is the  question” And I am here to tell you those are YOUR ONLY TWO OPTIONS and only you hold the power to make it.

You might say, “BUT MARY…you don’t understand….”  Well  let’s save the BUTS for next week when I tell you what my friend Marie has to say about BUTS!  It won’t disappoint!!

I can tell you right now there are a few things we don’t get to choose.

  1. our circumstances
  2. our genetics/ family
  3. other peoples choices
  4. the weather

No matter what happens in those 4 things listed above  there are 3 things we can  choose when dealing with this four areas…..

Choice #1- Our Attitude

No matter the circumstance we can choose to look at life through God lenses .  I love the book and movie Pollyanna.  In one scene when Pollyanna was talking about the missionary barrels her family used to get (they were missionaries). She is talking about how she wanted a doll so they requested one and when the next missionary barrels came there was no doll but instead a pair of crutches.   At this point she was explaining that her father made up the “glad game”.  They, from that point on, would try to find the positive in the hard things.   They were actively choosing to look on the bright side. And the bright side of the crutches?  Was that she didn’t need them.!!

Later in the movie she falls from a Tree and suffers a spinal injury (in the book she gets hit by a car).  She become paralyzed.  All of her friends rally around her to help her find the good when she can’t.  Like Steak and Ice Cream!!!!   Being positive was going to help her face and recover from surgery.

When we actively choose to have a positive attitude it turns into positive influence. People see the hard stuff and see you grow and trust God.  Positive attitudes rooted in God’s word is sustainable.  I’m not saying that there aren’t days that things get really hard and I am by no means telling you to be fake – we will deal with that one next week!

Be real, be transparent, be honest about where you are at BUT choose to look for God in the middle of it.  POINT people to that.  Find things to be grateful for in the middle of the hard things!

#2- Our Words

Some days we just need to take a stand.  We need to speak up.   Staying silent is a choice too.

I don’t wear my disability on my sleeve.  Most people have no idea I have been legally blind for over half of my life.  I am what you called a “sighted blind person”. It means I have partial sight. This plays a HUGE part in my testimony and usually when the topic arises I have the opportunity to share my story.

One day I was mentoring a client at the pregnancy center  I volunteer at every week.  It was rather early on in my experience there.  I was warned ahead of time that this client was closed to talking about faith, no worries .  She was my first client and I was NERVOUS!

I introduced myself and we started into the first lesson.  Something came up in conversation and I shared that I had been legally blind since I was 13…and the door for the gospel flung wide open.  I could feel it, and I just kept reading the lesson.

I walked away determined that I was NEVER gonna miss THAT opportunity again.  I was heart broken.  I told Marie.  She said it was ok everyone misses moments but that I would remember it and chances are I wouldn’t miss another.  She was right (I think) It’s been 3 years and lots of clients later and I have had lots of opportunities and I have taken all of them that I am aware of.

My unwillingness to speak the words of hope I experienced through the years after losing my eyesight was what this young mom needed and I chose to keep silent. NO one made me, I made that choice…me alone.

There is also a second and third aspect to our words. and that is how we say them.   When anger, malice,  complaining  sarcasm, hate, snakiness and so on is what frequents out of our moths we gain a reputation of being   grumpy.   So is when we say one thing and DO another (HINT that might be the next point)   I will touch more on that third one this next week.

Our words play an important  part of what kind of influence we have.

#3 Our actions

Have you ever heard a child say BUT so and so taught me how.

My question is:  does so and so control your hands and feet?

The answer plain and simple is NO, they made a choice to follow the negative influence of another person.  NO one made them.  Even if you are at gun point you can still make a right choice.   I think of  children who have been kidnapped who choose to sing songs they were taught in Sunday school or women who  shared the gospel with their captors.  They made a choice.   Some have seen direct results while others may have had their lives taken.  Either way they knew what they shared was what the person needed.

To choose to serve, to love, to care despite the differences in those around us.  Doing things that LOOK CRAZY to everyone else.  (Remember that attribute of Esther?)

Our actions will always speak louder than our words! ALWAYS.

And you wanna know who will be there first to let you know when they don’t line up?  KIDS- they can spot a hypocrite a mile away and they will let you know too.

We are going to spend some time hashing that out as well next week

And I’m just gonna throw this out there when I was a kid there was this phrase being thrown around “The Devil made me do it”.  It was a cop out answer in hopes that the other person was gullible enough to not hold you accountable.     I can tell you right now the devil did NOT make you do it.

It was our choices and we chose to do it!

 

 

Write 31 Days- Day 13- A time to be Transparent

Transparent

Transparent?   Taking my Own Advice

So in case you were wondering YES I am behind on this writing challenge…AND THAT”S OK!!!  But it’s time to be transparent. And if you have been with me since the beginning you know we talked about  Esther’s influential attribute  of transparency on Day 6.  I have been silent on my blog, not just on this writing challenge since day 13.  This was not my plan.   I wish I could define it.  The long and the short of it is this though the last 3 months have been a full on attack from the father of lies.

During this time I have been in God’s word.  ALMOST EVERY. DAY.    Just because we are doing the “Christian-y” thing to do, does not mean that Satan’s darts won’t fly at us.  Matter of fact it puts an even bigger target on our backs.

Opening My Eyes to What’s Really going on

Just around the time I hit day 13 of this Challenge I began this devotional with a lady in our church.  It’s a very low key situation.  We are keeping each other accountable, but it’s pretty much all via text message.  Both of us are introverts and texting works great for the two of us.  We have talked about our challenges and how we have grown and how we are being stretched through the process.  And depending on the specific challenge we will text each other pictures of drawings and the like. (THERE WEE NO VIDEOS OR PICS OF THE DANCE PARTY- Sorry but not sorry)

transparent

But something began to happen.  I don’t know as to how or what specifically happened but my drive to write for this challenge died…like dead away.  I would sit  here at my desk and stare at the computer screen and then I would get up and walk away.  Nobody was reading my stuff anyway!

And then I hit week two of this study Courageous Creative- Act 2 as she calls it!  And it is all about Creativity KILLERS!  OH BOY!!

So far we have studied 5 out of the 8 killers of  creativity.  Out of the 5, four have played a major part of my last two weeks..

#1- People Pleasing

I already gave you a hint as to one of them and it just happened to be todays lesson. PEOPLE PLEASING.  Yep I am one.  This does not shock me, I know this is a real struggle in my life and I know that this is a constant problem for me,  what I didn’t realize is that it is SLOWLY killing my creativity.

The reality is this:  I need to write, paint, sew, create for  God- NOT for man ( or woman).  When I pour myself into creativity it needs to be focused on God, not what others think of it.  SOOOO who cares if no one reads this.  This is what God has given me to say, so I choose obedience over views, likes, shares and comments.

This also translates into many areas in my life not just this one.

#2-Fear

I think this second one and people pleasing actually play a connected role at least for me.

I have this constant fear that I am going to offend someone with what I write.  Yes this stems from a circumstance that happened a few years ago and then I virtually became silent here and other places.   I have let that fear control me.  I didn’t do anything wrong then.  I was blameless, but Satan  had a foothold that would last years and I began to find myself thinking ” well what if I make someone mad?”   The problem is this, I am writing about God’s word and that is offensive to others.. EVEN to Christians, especially if it is something they don’t want to hear- something that might be convicting them of sin in their own lives.  it’s called “stepping on tocs” in church-ese.   I have purple toes as I have been reading a lot as of late.   Three out of the four devotionals have been beating ALL of these areas AND none of them are connected.

I am warned in Scripture that this will happen.  It happened to Jesus ALL. THE. TIME. because the gospel is offensive.  God’s word is. offensive.  It is as they say “sharper  than any two-edged sword”.

In reality I don’t need to fear what might offend someone as long as I am blameless before God in the things I do and say (or write for that matter).

Rules and Regulations

The third thing is this RULES AND REGULATIONS!  ( I am a mom, Rules and regulations are my jam) Yeah, we set all sorts of crazy rules and boundaries on our kids.  We expect them to be little adults all the time.  I do this a lot without realizing it.   We are unrealistic with them.

In scripture the disciples are trying their very best to “protect” a weary Jesus by keeping children away from Him.  When Jesus catches on He says, ” let the little children come to me”. He doesn’t care that they are full of energy, wiggling, running, and being loud.  Because Jesus understood something that most “mature adults” don’t. Children have reckless faith.   They love unconditionally.  They believe without restraint.  They care far deeper than most adults.  Do you know how they get to be stoic non-emotional adults?They get that way because WE stuff their little  boundless bodies into an adult sized chair and make them behave according to our wise ways.

Today I had to answer hard questions for my kids.

Questions like:  Why doesn’t so and so like me?  they said they love me but then they treat me  in bad ways.  That’s not how you show someone you love them!  (out of the mouths babes)

Then we had to answer why so and so has cancer, and watch a child’s sad eyes as they realized the reality.  Tears filled their eyes as they  were moved to tears.  As we stood praying for lunch, hearing one child praying for this person, and then themselves, that they would become more loving and kind.   My heart broke.  They aren’t perfect, they know that and yet their hearts break in ways most adults hold back.

And so today I have chosen to let my children be children.   They do not have a greater responsibility because they are pastor’s kids, they have a greater responsibility because they are believers and followers of Jesus. And to other’s dismay that doesn’t only mean in the behavior department.  They have the great and mighty task to show us adults how  to love unconditionally, how to abound in grace and mercy, how to forgive without holding a grudge and to break all bounds in social standings.  Telling someone they are beautiful when they smile, telling them they love them, hugs and grace, no matter the circumstance.  THAT is their responsibility and from where I stand, sit, walk and worship the kids in our church are knocking THIER responsibilities out of the park.  It’s we adults who are failing miserably.We need to take a lesson from  these kids how to live with reckless abandon.  I want to be more like them when I grow up!

#4-Stress

And the last thing in this devotional so far that I am struggling with is STRESS!  We constantly say we need to de-stress but as the author points out it’s not about getting rid of stress, we can’t it is a apart of life.  It is WHAT we do with that stress that counts.

What do you choose to do with stress when it comes?  I can tell you what I do. I grumble, complain, and eat chocolate !!!!  And then if that doesn’t solve it (hint it never does) I finally take it too God.  I have been on this earth for 38 1/2 years. I have been a believer for 34 of them, ya think I would have been able to have a better grip on this by now!  to quote comedian Ken Davis, I am. one of God’s sheep and sheep are stupid!

Creativity Killers Impact on My Influence

So how does all of this fit in with influence?   Well, it’s like this, when I CHOOSE to be focused on other things besides my relationship with God, like people pleasing and fear, then I am giving over control to other things and that will affect other choices that I make.

So by choosing to fear offending people , then I am choosing at times to NOT say the words God has laid on my heart.  When I fail to speak truth because I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, I am failing God.  It’s about HOW we choose to say those words.  Are we saying it in a loving way OR are we being critical judgmental, harsh, and just downright mean?     I am actively choosing to not do what God wants me to.   And at times over the last two weeks I have chosen NOT to choose.  It is still a choice.

So yes I guess over the last two weeks I have been opting for the negative influence only because I was choosing the non-choice. to ignore this monumental task to took nearly a month ago.  BUT today I am picking it back up and I am GOING to finish if it kills me!

How about you?  do any of these “Creativity Killers” kill your influence?   I can definitely say that they are influence killers as well.   And by writing this post I am CHOOSING to let my transparency INFLUENCE YOU the reader.    Can I challenge you to be an influence  today by being transparent with where you are at on your journey?  Tell a close friend or a family member!   And ask them to  to help you fight the battle!

Write 31 Days-Day 12- Choices that Kill Your Positive Influence

Kill

Killers of Your positive Influence

The death of our positive influence can be sudden and unintentional.    However we sometimes lose sight of the sphere of influence God has given us and we begin to take people for granted.  We can kill their spirit and our influence on their lives in one fell swoop.  It takes the whole phrase of killing two birds with one stone to a whole new level.

Generally that term is a positive one that alludes to multitasking, and often times viewed in a positive light.  However tonight we are gonna chat about those things that we do that can instantly kill any positive influence we may have had.

(DISCLAIMER: I know that there are sooooooo many more that fit into this category and I assure you we will have a chance to discuss this in the comments below-Just hang in there)

Choice#1-  Don’t be a SNAP-dragon

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and then all f a sudden BAM- you don’t know what you have done but apparently some line has been crossed and you have found yourself  in  line of a SNAP- dragon.   You have no idea what you have said or done but just like that the person bit your head off.   OR WORSE You are the SNAP-dragon.  We have all been on both sides of this situation.

One of the major repercussions of this choice  is that over time people just stop wanting to be around us..   This really affects our  testimony.  I’m not saying that things always have to be good or happy or anything like that.  I want nothing more than people to be real with me, but it is not ok to be abusive in how we talk to each other!

Choice #2 Don’t be a Johnny -Jump -to -Conclusions

RecentlyI was in a situation where someone jumped to conclusions about my motives in something.  They thought they new my heart.  Then I have to chuckle because eI have done the same thing.  Usually it ends with and open-mouth-insert-foot sort of moment.

As I have thought about this, I have really come to realize that this is bordering on a god complex.  Thinking that we know all.   We don’t talk to people or ask questions and instead we assume we have it all figured out.  We can do this with every area of life.    AND if we aren’t careful it can become a habit in which we can literally begin to think that we and God  agree and God has shone us……..You fill in the blank.

Sadly God often has to out us in our place and in the process we have done some hefty damage along the way.  When we choose to be a Johnny-Jump-to-onclusions we can

  • alienate those around us by making them feel stupid or inadequate
  • we unintentionally become judgmental
  • kill relationships by thinking we know it all and have all the answers

#3 The Choice to Run Away

I wish I could runaway from my problems but every time I try I am still there.   Isn’t that the truth.  I have no idea who said it.  I have heard this said so many ways and yet the same sentiment is communicated.  We are really the root of our own problems.

I see it all the time.  No matter who I am with.  Especially me.  We think that so and so is the problem so we ditch that friend and move onto the next and low and behold we have THE SAME problem and so we ditch that friend  and we live in this crazy cycle.  We don’t deal with the problems we just run from them.  We build walls to protect ourselves.  The problem is we are still stuck with ourselves.  And when we do that do you know what tends happen. Bitterness and anger creep in.  and we become more and more upset with how we have been hurt so we keep running with those walls built and   carrying all that baggage.

God doesn’t want us to do that because when we build walls to protect ourselves from the very people he has brought into our lives, we not only put up walls between ourselves and “THOSE” people but we also out up walls between us and God.   Our relationship with Him will suffer greatly   Just look at Jonah.   He got so mad that the Ninevites repented that he went and sat and waited for God to wipe them all out.  He became bitter and angry with God because it didn’t work out the way He wanted it to because those people were literally some of the worst people on the planet. How could God possibly save them?     Contrast that to the Isrealites accepting Rehab a foreign prostitute into the “family”.  And because of her faithfulness she ends up in the line of David and eventually Jesus!   Attitude is everything!

Choice #4- Complaining is not your right to make us miserable

Have you ever read Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty McDonald?   Until last year I had never heard of the books or the author!   Well we punched 4 books in the series and I am currently read  the third book (though I am pretty sure  that I have them out of order oooops!)

Mrs. Piggle Wiggle loves children and she is able to cure them of the most horrible ailments.  Our current chapter in Hello Mrs. Piggle Wiggle is “THE CRABBY CURE”. The little girl in this chapter whines and complains about  EVERY. SINGLE. THING. Whether is is perceived or reality.   That child is horrible to live with.   In the first few pages of the chapter she has complained about 6 or 7 different things.  Her brothers and sister can barely stand her and her mother clearly has no idea how to fix it,  The girl even gets called names and picked on at school and according to her big brother “no one likes her”.  In our home we call this being a negative Nancy. And complaining is right up there at the top for being an influence killer.

Two things happen  when a known complainer walks into the room.  First they attract ALL of the other complainers, even if they are normally quiet.  Complainers have the innate ability to draw out the complainer in the most mild of people And secondly those who aren’t complainers- those Pollyannas in the room with leave.   Te room, the party, the house, even the state if possible.   The complaining sucks them dry of joy.  And when that happens, then they too become complainers.

I have seen this in my own life.  It really boils down to a dissatisfaction of life.  They either fail to or refuse to see all the things they have to be grateful for.  All they can see is the negative around them.  Little  do they realize the power they hold to change  the negative into positive just by changing their attitude.

Choice #5- The choice  NOT to forgive.

This is perhaps the biggest and most detrimental choice of all to our influence and really is connected to choice #4, #3, and #1.

Now let me just say this, you can forgive and still not give the same trust level as before and that is really how it should be.

But you cannot give what you do not have and this is where the gospel comes in.   You cannot truly forgive a person without receiving true forgiveness yourself.  I have watched people time and time and time again try so hard to forgive someone and they come back and say “I just can’t do it”.  Forgiveness in a deep heart issue but it begins in the mind.  There are people that I have to make an active choice multiple times a day to forgive.  I am thankful, oh so thankful that God’s forgiveness is perfect and that I don’t have to worry every day about needing new forgiveness.

But there are times in our lives here we consciously or unconsciously say- I’m not going to forgive that person, what they did was :unforgivable”.  Boy am I glad that Jesus didn’t say that about us!

I want to be able to point people to Jesus and that means in the way I forgive people.   Does that mean I won’t guard my heart when it has been hurt.  No, I will  guard it, but I’m not going to tell  God no that person isn’t worth my forgiveness.   That’s a very negative influence.

These five choices are just that….CHOICES.  They are choices that when really gotten down to the bare bones of the matter are about our attitudes.  We all have choices to make.  It might not be about our circumstances but it is certainly about how we look at those circumstances and chose to take positive attitudes or negative ones.

What are some negative attitudes you have seen that have been a negative influence….This is not meant to be a complaining session!

Interested in reading the rest of the Power of Your influence series ?Check it out HERE!

 

 

 

 

Write 31 Days-Day 11- 5 Choices To be a Positive Influence

positive

Welcome to day 11- we are quickly approaching the half way mark.  I can’t even believe it1.  Today we are going to talk about 5 choices we can make to me a positive influence.  Some we have already touched on and some we have talked about in depth but they are SUPER important so we are going to explore them again.

If I could have you take one nugget away it would be this :

Choosing to not choose is  really a choice for the negative.   So I will definitely be talking about the positives but I will be briefly be talking about the flip side- the negative  anti choice.  Then in tomorrow’s post we will be talking about 5  choices we are all guilty of making that makes us a negative influence.

Positive Choice #1 To Speak Up

In previous posts we have talked about what we say.  But in today’s post we are gonna talk about two more avenues in which our speech is an influence

  1.  How we say it..
  2. Do we say anything at all.

Everyday as parents we deal with all sorts of tones.  Those that come our of our own mouths and those that come out of our children.  We see it at the grocery store and we deal with it on the phone.  Tone can even be a problem on the internet.  Whether text, email, or private message our imagination s left to wonder did this person REALLY mean it LIKE THAT?

We should definitely strive to be encouraging, and building up those who are around us.  Even the cashier at the store.  Who cares if she was rude to you!  You can still choose to be a positive influence with your response and  tone..

Let’s deal with the elephant in the room.  I have seen t-shirst and Memes that say “sarcasm is my Spiritual gift”.  Umm NO!    Sarcasm is far from spiritual and yet it seems within Christian circles it is rubber stamped as an appropriate means of dealing with stuff, no matter the reason.

Who remembers their mom or some other adult saying “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Or “it is better to be thought a fool, then to open ones mouth and remove all doubt.”

So obviously there is a time to be quite.  however there is also a time to speak up!And sometimes speaking up is harder than keeping our mouths shut!

So how does speaking up make us a positive influence?

It shows we do not have fear, and that we aren’t controlled by fear.  It shows that we care about more than just ourselves, and it opens up the opportunity for us to share about what gives us that kids boldness.  Does that mean we won’t chicken out sometimes?  No!

Peter had a real hard time speaking up (AND BEING HONEST) because he was afraid that he would be persecuted.  His fear got the better of him!

And yet after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, Peter found himself face to face with his Savior across a campfire. And Jesus asks him three times d you Love me.  (I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this is the same number of times Peter denied  knowing Jesus.).  And then after each answer of Yes that Peter gives Jesus commands Peter to feed his sheep.  There is no doubt in my mind that this amazing grace and love Jesus shows Peter, is what changes his boldness in opening his mouth instead of living in fear of what might happen.

So how can this be a negative influence?

Everyday kids refuse to stand up for the kid being pummeled and treated by school bullies for fear that they would then become a target.

And everyday Christians keep silent as a world tells us what is right and wrong.

Now not ALL students choose to keep silent and same with Christians.   And Peter learned from his mistake and became a great testimony of Jesus’ grace and mercy.

What’s the underlying problem here though is FEAR.

Fear of what could happen.and so we choose to not say anything.  And by choosing to not say anything, we choose to forfeit our  positive influence and in turn become a negative one.

So to whom are we choosing to be a negative influence to?  Well if you are the student standing by letting a bully  harm someone else you are being a negative influence to 3 people- the person being bullied.  You are assuring them that they are alone and not worth the  time or energy.  The bully-  You by not saying anything are letting that bully know you support him in his endeavor to ruin someones life AND  You are most definitely saying to all the other frauds cats standing by that it’s ok to be silent.

Positive Choice  #2- Your actions

We all choose to do stuff every single day.  Sometimes that stuff  is positive or negative.

We choose to all sorts of things, from the hour and minute we roll out of bed in the morning right down to the moment we crawl into bed at night. (obviously there are extenuating circumstances that might change that) and in the very basic sense of choices, we choose our attitude, our words and whether we are going to use our hands and feet to be extensions of God’s grace mercy and love OR are we gonna choose to show anger, hatred  and abuse.

Your actions are really an extension of who you are.  that is why you do what you do.   We used a model in Mr. S’s education classes called know-be-do (Remember Mr. S, is one of my bible college professors).

positive

This model shows that what you know effects who you are and who you are effects what you do.

and for the most part this is how our lives pan out.  and amazingly thesis a principle that is talked about and exemplified throughout scripture.

Choosing to not do something though can either be a positive influence or a negative one.

Choosing to say no ad take a stand for anything that goes against morality a HUGE positive influence HOWEVER sometimes we choose that we aren’t going to do something like show up  for an important meeting.  That be a HUGE negative influence for any number of reasons.   Mostly because you aren’t taking seriously the  meeting which may speak volumes about your character.   There are many variables that may go into this.  Maybe you are presented with an emergency or the meeting.  Say your child has gotten injured.  Going to the meeting instead of taking your child to the ER could also have a negative influence on many people.   It al really goes mack to the ripple model  we used to explain the influence of my friend Marie.

Matter of fact let’s talk about Marie again.

Marie has a client come in and as so often happens that client ONLY wants Marie.  But Marie is scheduled to leave in 10 minutes.  This client is in great distress over  a horrible event in her life.  Marie has a choice.   Marie is exhausted because she hasn’t gotten much sleep and this would be her 6th client since 10 am that morning.  All of them have been intense.  But Marie has been working with this girl for 4 years.   Marie can choose to go home and take a nap or Marie can take 30 minutes and listen to and share the hope she has with this young woman?   What is the right decision?

Our actions speak louder than our words and as Marie has told me before “they don’t care what you know until they know that you care.”   If you show them you don’t care by your actions you will never get the opportunity to share what you know about this amazing Love of Jesus!

Positive Choice #3-The things we Post/Tweet/ Email

I have this other friend Katie.  She has taken it upon herself to spread joy to the world of facebook.  Her statement to me not too long ago was, There is so much negative out there, all I really want to do is make people smile.”  That really shows Katie’s heart.  She wants to make others smile.  It’s not about her.

I was just scrolling through facebook a few minutes ago and I saw politics- the posts weren’t meant to be decisive but as soon as you share something a firestorm of negativity shoots through.  and in three little words, I could tell where their hearts were at.  Not judging them, they put it out there for all the world to see!  It was word’s of hate and maliciousness.

One of the biggest issues facing our youth today is that of cyber bullying.  It’s easy to hide  behind written words.  We somehow think we won’t be eld accountable.   It’s easy to just spout off.  People can be downright nasty in person but arm them with social media and a faceless target and BAM.

Like Katie we need t really think about building people up not tearing them down.  Maybe fix we had the goal of making people smile instead of pointing out mistakes  or shortcomings the word would start to catch our joy.  And really as Christian women don’t just sit back and think you are all good, because some of the most harsh and judgmental comments have come from those who call themselves Christ followers!

Positive Choice #4- To continue in Spiritual Growth and Learning

One of my favorites and this one is a choice we have to make every single day.  When we come to a place where we think we have it all figured out we render ourselves useless.

Have you ever read the a book of the Bible a bunch of times and realized that each time you have read it that you have learned something new?  So this JUST happened to me TONIGHT!  No joke.

As I have been preparing for this series and as I have been working though influence all year I have camped a huge part of the time in the book of Esther.   I can’t even tell you how many times I have read it but I know that I have written it out almost all the way now, plus all the readings and the in depth study.  And tonight after all the other times something stood out to me that never has before. Esther went into Xerxes a  second time.  The first time she had her maids and servants fast and pray along with Mordecai and the Jews.  She was clearly terrified since it meant she could die.  However the second time is after Haman is impaled on the pole he had erected for Mordecai to be killed on.  and guess what it doesn’t say?   That she was scared.  Matter of fact it says she went in and fell at the kings feet weeping.  The happened BEFORE he extended the scepter. HMMMMMMM.

See we are told that God’s word NEVER returns void (emphasis mine)  Isaiah 55:1

We can always learn something from it we just have to be willing to pay attention.   the same is true when we are working with people.  When all we do is focus on what we can do and how we can fix something or how we can….are you getting the picture?    Maybe there is something we need to learn instead of thinking we have all the answers.  When we have a learning spirit it is catchy AND that is a  positive influence.  However when  we choose to act as though we have all the answers we will quickly find that we have fewer people to give those answers to.

So many times what we need are friends to listen as we go through stuff.  We do not need people who are gonna say “I told you so” or act as though their circumstances are the same as yours or treat you like you have no clue.  We need to learn the fine art of empathy and sympathy.

Empathy is

  1. the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

Sympathy is

  1. feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune.
    “they had great sympathy for the flood victims”
    2. understanding between people; common feeling.

Positive Choice #5- Embracing God’s truth verses other peoples opinions of us (this includes ourselves)

What does God say about us?

. He says we are made in His image.

That we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

We are his children (Hello we are princesses and princes!!)

So why on earth do we take So much stock in what people tell sand not what God tells us?  I wish I had the answer to this But can I tell you I STRUGGLE with this one!  Not only do I struggle with the negative talk from other people about me BUT I also struggle with my own Negative self talk in my head.  And we have a choice.  Either I can totally buy into the negative talk about me that is both internal and external OR I can replace ALL of it with truth from Scripture!!  This takes work because you have to work at getting these promises out of scripture.

When we  but into all the negative talk and we begin to believe it we loose confidence in what God has done for us and who He has made us to be in Him.  Those people are miserable to be around because they have no hope and they loose sight of all sorts of things.  However the person who decides to not buy into  the lies  and chooses to have confidence in who God has created them to be and what He has done for them, those people are a real joy to be around! They know they fall short BUT did fills the gaps!  And you can see it. It’s not about their strength.

When we begin to feel as though we are failing and being beaten up we need to go to those friends who build us up and not tear us down.   When we choose to bottle it up it begins to fester and grow.  Sometimes we just need friends who speak  truth into our lives at that moment.  Those who  we belong to and  what he has called us to do!

Let’s Chat:   These choices are hard!  which one have you struggled with the most.  I have struggled with them all but as of late is has definitely been #5.

Tomorrow we are gonna look at  5 choices we make that make us a Negative Influence!  Will you join me?

Are you interested in reading the other posts in this series?  You can check them out by clicking here  and scrolling through the post.