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
- How we say it..
- 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).
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.
- the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
- 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.