We have officially made it to the end of the Write 31 Days Challenge!!! (And today is day77 of the 100 day blogging challenge I started way back in August!!)
We have discussed a great deal about influence- both godly influence and negative influence. I am not going to hash out all that we have learned over the last 4 weeks. What I am going to do is give you a challenge. The challenge comes from the summer after my last write 31 days challenge. I had only written 18 days about influence.
I was taken to our camper and dropped off for my week alone at the Bible conference we attended as a family. Now I have no recollection of who the speaker was-see when my hubby dropped me off we didn’t know I was SICK- He would have to come back early and get me because I had Pneumonia.
But before I left…
The speaker challenged us to say thank you. Thank you to those who had been a godly influence in your life.
Despite being sick this concept stuck in my head. I couldn’t shake it. So when I was fully recovered I decided I to write to four or five people who really influenced my faith journey.
I poured out my gratitude for what each of these families had done for me.
I knew that because of these amazing people and their willingness to live out a godly influence I had been loved to a point of changing , It was their love, their joy, their peace, their patience, their goodness, their kindness, their faithfulness, their gentleness and their self-control that pushed me to be the woman God created me to be (even in the middle oof my mess).
And something happened-
Saying thank you really does change a person. I had been practicing gratitude for a long time, and gratitude changes a person. It’s humbling. Because it takes our eyes off of what we do and it puts our focus on what others have done. Specifically God and then others.
So I wrote 4 (maybe5) letters very specifically thanking the families or individuals for their godly influence in my life. And all of them wrote back. They didn’t have to. I just wanted to let them know that they were seen and appreciated and that their influence didn’t go unnoticed and unappreciated.. I saw the investment and hard work they had invested into my life.
So now it’s your turn!
This is your final challenge here in the Influence subject. I want you to pray and ask God to show you who has impacted your life for the better. Ask him to show you those people who chose the harder path to live like Jesus and be the hands, feet and mouth of Him in your life. And then write to them. Sharing with them how they ministered to you and changed your life. And know that your gratitude is influencing them as well!
Well it’s been a blast!
My prayer for you is that you aren’t just satisfied with being a positive influence but that you would seek to be a godly influence. Seeking to grow In the fruit of the spirit and choosing to love like Jesus! I also pray that you would accept this challenge and fully embrace it!
Thank you for joining me on this journey!
Feel free to check out the links below and we will see you tomorrow as we resume our regular blogging schedule for the next 23 days.
And let me know what you learned during this series that you never really thought of before. And please introduce yourself in the comments below. Write 31 Days 2018 Influence Posts
Children, they have no filters. The open their mouths and usually wisdom comes falling out- usually with a tinge of harshness-or-a whole lot of harshness. Sometimes it’s a well placed question. Sometimes it’s a passing comment.
It catches us off guard and it can sting a lot- or it can make us laugh until we catch the brevity of it later.
A few examples
We have watched our 3 year old boldly proclaim that the nice stranger in the Chinese restaurant needed to know Jesus and invited him to come hear his daddy preach (talk about no inhibitions)
We have had to answer hard questions after someone was harsh with a child of “why doesn’t so in so love me?” (See even the smallest of child gets that harshness isn’t a loving thing to do).
We have had to explain why bad things happen to good people.
We have had t listen to teenagers vent and struggle through mistreatment and misunderstanding of them and their peers. (They get it). They dropped some truth bomb about people they knew their whole lives that left hubby and I with our mouths hanging open completely speechless.
I had a child (after witnessing some mistreatment of a sibling walk right up to the culprit (an older man) and ask him straight out why he didn’t like our family. (I had to pick up my chin off the floor). He wasn’t being mean or rude. He just wanted to know why.
This was a hard day
I mentioned a few blog posts ago that one teenager that lives in our home made the connection that people can talk a good talk but when their actions don’t line up with those words they aren’t the believers they claim themselves to be.
We were able to use these insights to help build character with our children and flip it so they could learn what not to do.
Children are able to tease out truths that adults have let the world cloud over in their own minds and hearts. It’s funny because it is so plain to children sometimes. They are left saying- but this just makes sense.
Faith like a Child
And Children’s faith- there is a reason Jesus used them as an example. We as adults want to be “realistic and not get our hopes up.” While Child #1 stands out front of our house waiting for the bus one morning hearing me tell him about an early season snowstorm. To which he bursts into prayer asking God for 18 inches of snow. Me in my realistic mindset says “oh honey it’s too early for that kind of snow”.
Twenty-four inches of snow and a snow day later I was eating my words. The lesson I learned from my 10 year old son Pray and believe that God is going to do what you prayed for. BOLD faith taught to a parent who has been a Christian for over 20 years schooled in faith by a 10 year old.
Or how about the words of wisdom spoken by a 15, 14, 13, and 10 year old as we shared with them God’s prompting to move from the only church they had known for the last 12 years. I wish I could go into the wisdom and insight that our kids showed during this time. It was such a godly influence on Hubby and I. It seemed like every morning was a new perspective one of them had gleaned.
Unintentional to the core
And in all of these anecdotes (and trust me there are countless more) never once did our kids wake up and day “Today I am going to influence my parents”.
They live their lives in honesty, speaking truth albeit sometimes not is a loving way. (That takes time and training). Kids are naturally genuine- we teach them not to be for fear of how we will look (GULP).
Sometimes we get angry with them because they drop a truth bomb right between the eyes. Yes it’s hard but sometimes it’s exactly what we need to hear. Yes they need to be taught about gentleness, kindness and love. BUT LISTEN. Not just assume you know their heart. But listen to how they feel and what they see. I have been amazed each time I remember to really pay attention. Their insights will amaze you, even though it may sting .
It’s important though that we teach our children to use their influence with the godly influence traits found in Galatians 5 (aka The Fruit of the Spirit) and train them to see the warning lights of the Negative influence traits (the opposites of the fruit of the spirit.)
Our role in the faith and influence
Finally we need to be extremely careful (and gentle) when in these training moments with our kiddos. As they are learning and growing in their faith and learning how to be a godly influence they need tender cultivating.
When we choose to jump to conclusions and be harsh, unloving, and have a complaining spirit we are damaging other people and especially kids. I have seen it time and again that teens will walk away from church and their faith because someone said one thing and did something completely different. Their walk didn’t match their talk. We commonly call this hypocrisy.And is damaging to everyone
A mini Challenge.
I want to challenges to be people of our word – to follow it through with our actions. To listen and be slow to anger (and slow to jump to conclusions). I need to get better at this too! Sometimes we are so quick to demand our respect that we lose sight of our testimony and who we represent (PSSST- It’s Jesus). Remember it is our goal to be the hands and feet (And mouths) of Jesus!
Thanks for joing me today for our second to last day of our #31days2021 writing challenge. I don’t know about you but I have grown leaps and bounds through this journey!
I would love for you to check out some of the links below and don’t forget to introduce yourself in the comments below!
Tomorrow we will wrap up the Power of Your Influence with a very special challenge. Stay tuned.
Breaking Generational bonds- I don’t know if I have just coined a new phrase or not. But as I work with and care for various different age groups I have witnessed something that breaks my heart. And that is generational bonds. Now don’t think for a minute that I am going to stand (ummm sit ) here and point the finger at some generation telling you it’s all their fault.
It’s no one’s fault in particular- but it’s all the same problem.
Safety- we love to feel safe. And we feel most safe when we are in groups of like-minded people. We don’t feel judged (or at least not to the same degree), we feel accepted and comfortable. We build walls around our age groups and then we ostracize those we don’t belong to.
This doesn’t just have to do with generations, I know that. It can be all sorts of things. It can be as ridiculous as sports teams, but I do NOT have time for that nonsense. The short version of this is if you are building walls to make yourself comfortable and feel “safe” than you aren’t being a godly influence, you are a negative influence!
I want to be EXTREMELY clear on this- there is a very very fine line between condoning sin and loving people despite of their sin. THAT is the line of influence Jesus walked. He loved people as they were but he loved them so much he couldn’t let them stay in their sin. He was gentle and kind and loving. Just because we disagree with someone does’t mean we have the right to be mean. We are COMMANDED to LOVE our neighbor as ourselves and then we ask who is our neighbor?
EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. Whether you like them or not.
How do I know this? The Good Samaritan!
We read the account in Luke 10-
Basically a Jewish man was nearly beaten to death. He needed help. He laid on the side of the road battered and Bruised AND NAKED! He needed help. Now two people walked by him. actually one person a Jewish priest crossed the other side of the road as not to even be close to him (He was worried about his religious standing). He could not risk being made unclean by the man (Blood).
Let’s come to a screeching halt right here
Now before we get all high and mighty on this priest I KNOW this is still a practiced within many churches today! I have seen it happen with my own eyes. Ever since I was little.
People come to church and they look different or they act different They don’t look like us and that makes us uncomfortable and we walk right by. We might even give them a sideways glance We refuse to help them because they have made wrong choices or they have no money (they must have surely caused that themselves). We deem them not worthy of our time and they might “stain our reputation”. Don’t say we aren’t all guilty of this at some point or another. WE ARE!
The temple assistant
This one gets me- he walks up to the Jewish man and he studies the situation. I often times wonder what was running through his head. I mean the priest it’s kinda obvious if you know Jewish law (AKA the Old Tesament)
But the temple assistant? He could have easily had the same reaction as the priest- afraid of becoming unclean and being judged. BUT that wasn’t his concern. His concern seems like he was assessing the reward vs. the risk. Like he was asking “how much was this going to cost me?”
And apparently we get the answer- The reward didn’t outweigh the risk.
I have see this so often too. It was taught to me not all that long ago via a book. We are faced with these opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus but we are taught to run these opportunities through a mental checklst….Do I have the mental and emotional capacity to handle this? Do I have the financial means to handle this? Do I have the physical ability to handle this….BLAH BLAH BLAH. I am not telling you to go out and donate a million dollars to some charity. I am telling you that sometimes like Amy Carmicheal or Hudson Taylor OR Corrie ten Boom that we need to step outside what we can afford, or what is safe and help the people God has placed on our path despite what the outcome might be.
Enter The Good Samaritan
Now this man was despised by the Jewish people. Because the Samaritans were of mixed race- part Jew and part Assyrian- but it wasn’t just that (though that was huge) they also worshipped differently (but we aren’t diving into that!!!)
The Jewish people HATED them. They ostracized them. And this Samartitan KNEW that and STILL had mercy on this man. He didn’t see a Jew, he saw a man in desperate need of help. So he set aside the cultural boundaries He nursed the wounds, put the man on his own donkey, and he took him to an inn and spent his OWN money and told the innkeeper he would pay whatever else was spent when he retuned He didn’t even consider the cost).
He didn’t check ANY boxes…NOT ONE. He didn’t seek out to find out if the man deserved his help. He didn’t take into account his own comfort. He saw a need and met it.
The point of this story
This story is one of the many parables Jesus told to make a powerful point. A Jewish lawyer’s quizzing Jesus to catch him in something he might say that went against God’s word.
He asked Jesus who was his neighbor. And Jesus told this parable to make a point. In the end Jesus answers this man’s question with a question. “in this story who is the man’s neighbor?” The Jewish Lawyer answers “the one who showed the man mercy.” Jesus’ simple reply “Go and do likewise.”
There were no specifications….No guidelines…no boundaries.
That means NO walls. That means BRIDGES. MERCY is the bridge.
Back to Generational Bonds
When we build walls we are imprisoning ourselves. We think we are keeping ourselves safe BUT what we are really doing is creating our own little prisons.
Think about an island in the middle of a raging river. You have no boat. You have no way across this treacherous river. You could attempt to swim it in your own stregthit but everyone who has ever tried drowned after only entering the river a few feet from shore.
If you don’t leave the island you are going to die of starvation. You have sucked the life out of the island because you have consumed all the usable food sources. The only other nourishment is on the mainland. But that is scary, uncomfortable and unknown.
You can choose to whither away or to take a step of faith and build a bridge. That bridge is going to take a lot of work. It’s not going to be easy. But in the end it will be worth it. You have a decision to make.
The proverbial island in real life
Just like that decision we have a choice to build bridges between generations. We can tear down the walls we have built around the generations in church and start building bridges between the generations. We need to tear down the walls of our preferences…music, dress, socio-economic status, position, and so on. And we need to start building bridges of mercy and love.
A HUGE Step
We need to stop posting degrading things on the internet about millennials, and Gen-Zer;s. We even need to stop posting things about Karens and snowflakes. Hubby and I are odd one’s out. we are born in the awkward years where we just plain don’t fit. So then we have to take a long look at the actual list of traits of the two generations (the actual traits not some opinions imposed) and see where we fall (I’ll let you in on a secret- we both are millennials). And there isn’t anything wrong with that. Though facebook posts might tell us otherwise.
But when we take and post degrading things about other people- DONT really care who it is we are building walls not bridges. We are choosing harshness over gentleness. You can go right down the list of Negative influence traits we talked about last week and check them all off.
And when you seek to build bridges and then because something strikes you as funny we click the share button….and with one little click we burn that bridge. Our testimony and our godly influence falls right into the river and is washed away. Choosing t be devisive is Not a godly influence trait NO MATTER the topic!
One little overheard gossip
A snarky comment.
One opinion given off the cuff
One moment of selfish ambition
One off color joke about someone or some circumstance.
We all love to demand respect because we deserve it. Respect is a two way street. Treat others how you want to be treated
In light oof this….
Tomorrow we are going to discuss the Powerful influence of our children. And how as parents and grandparents and spiritual parents and grandparents we can be impacted by our “kids” and their influence. AND how if we aren’t careful we can destroy their faith by the negative influence of our words- When our walk doesn’t match our talk.
A Big thank You
Thank you so much for joining me today. This subject as been a point of passion since I was in Bible College and I heard one of my professors preach on bridging the generation gap. It’s time we break these generational bonds that hold us captive in our own personal prisons. Let’s tear downs these walls and start building bridges- It will save the life of our dying churches and families!
If you are new WELCOME! Feel free to poke around and check out the rest of the blog!
Check out these links below to get caught up.And introduce yourself in the comments below!! I would love to connect with you there!
Even if My world falls apart……..Have you ever had moments when you couldn’t see the promise of a better tomorrow? EVERY little thing was going wrong? Have you ever witness other people going through endless barrages of horrible things?
The responses can be so varied. And I am not talking about unbelievers. Unbelievers don’t know the hope of Jesus. I am specifically talking about those who call themselves Christians.
When Christians become victims
There are Christians who act as though they have no hope at all. Their hope is rooted in their circumstances nd because their circumstances are bleak they have no hope.
And then there are those believers whose hope are rooted in people. Their faith is carried on by their friends and/or family They rely on them to carry their spirituality . And when they are let down they can’t believe their friends or family deserted them like this. And their hope is gone. (The hard part is those friends or family more than likely didn’t give up on them but are going through their own hard stuff. They do what they can but they can’t always carry so much- nor should they).
Then there are Christians where the grass is always greener somewhere else. They always want more of what somebody else has. They don’t want to do the hard work to get there. They lament (aka whine) that they will never have what so and so has (these believers will generally compromise their standards to get what they think other people have).
The light in the dark
Then there’s another group- and this other group stands out above the others. This groups has fortitude. They choose to stand firm no matter what their circumstances are and choose NOT to be defined by them.
I love how MercyMe puts it in their song Grace Got You
Have you ever met those who Keep hummin’ when the song’s through? It’s like they’re living life to a whole different tune And have you ever met those that Keep hoping when it’s hopeless? It’s like they figured out what the rest haven’t yetThe second you realize what you have inside It’s only just a matter of time…’Til you sing, so the back row hears you Glide ’cause walkin’ just won’t do Dance, you don’t have to know how to Ever since, ever since Grace got you Laugh, ’til your whole side’s hurtin’ Smile like you just got away with somethin’, why? ‘Cause you just got away with somethin’ Ever since, ever since Grace got youSo when you’re standin’ in the rain again You might as well be dancin’, why? ‘Cause there ain’t no storm that can change how this ends So next time when you feel blue Don’t let that smile leave you, why? ‘Cause you have every reason just toSing, so the back row hears you Glide, ’cause walkin’ just won’t do Dance, you don’t have to know how to Ever since, ever since Grace got you Laugh, ’til your whole side’s hurtin’ Smile like you just got away with somethin’, why? ‘Cause you just got away with somethin’ Ever since, ever since Grace got you Ever since, ever since Grace got you Grace got youGot away with somethin’, bubblin’ inside of you Spillin’ over ’cause your life is full, how incredible Undeniable, monumental like the Eiffel Uncontrollable, let the joy flow through – haha Giddy, over pretty, pretty please Let me see your hands in the air with you out your seats Warm it up, let go, shout it out, celebrate When you can’t articulate just say, “Amazing grace”The second you realize what you have inside It’s only just a matter of (only just a matter of) It’s only just a matter of time (just a matter of time)’Til you sing, so the back row hears you Glide ’cause walkin’ just won’t do Dance, you don’t have to know how to Ever since, ever since Grace got you Laugh, ’til your whole side’s hurtin’ Smile like you just got away with somethin’, why? ‘Cause you just got away with somethin’ Ever since, ever since Grace got you Yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah Ever since, ever since Grace got you Yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah Grace got you Yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah Ever since, ever since Grace got you Yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah Grace got you Yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah Yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah Yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah
Grace got you
I Want to Be that Person
I want to keep hummin’ when the songs through and I want to keep on hopin’ when it’s hopeless . But sometimes I’m not . Sometimes I take on the victim mentality.
There was a time when I gave up…I tossed in the the towel. I was just trying to survive. I have had so many conversations with women who have told me “I’m not giving up I’m just trying to survive.” I lost sight of what was really important. I wasn’t going to commit suicide or anything like that (though there was a time that I struggled with that as well- but that is a story for another time) but onecan give up on life without taking ones own life.
Giving up looks like indifference. We can be beaten up so much that we just give up caring. Caring about anything. We become numb to the world around us. We ignore our friends and family, we convince ourselves that they too no longer care. We project our struggles and insecurities onto them and assume we know their intentions.
We don’t take care of ourselves;ves. We stop caring for other people. Our relationship with God goes down the drain. Our homes are a wreck. Our mental capacity can’t move past our own problems.
And then we try to convince ourselves that we aren’t giving up. BUT we can mentally and physically give up- we can die inside. Our hearts can tun to stone.
What God Wants
God doesn’t want us to just survive. He wants us to thrive. He wants us to live life to it’s fullest and even when everything is falling apart God wants us to say Eve if things never get better I still will praise and glorify God with everything I’ve got.
What a powerful testimony. That’s something special. THAT”S WHAT FAITH IS.
Trusting God even when things are going horribly. It’s choosing trust in God’s promises even when we think it doesn’t make any sense, when we can’t see how anything can be possible.
When God is glorified and made famous through our struggles, when we choose to say even if, I still will, We are choosing a godly influence, it is the most powerful influence we can have. However when we choose to be the victim and we project our struggles onto other people, when we lose sight of God’s promises we lose that godly influence and we become a negative influence.
Have you ever struggled with this like I have?
It look a lot of heart work where I had to surrender my hurts and pains inflicted by people. I had tried so hard in my own power to move past those hurts but once I learned I couldn’t do it on my own and that I had to really pray through and study these things in the Bible my heart began to soften and I began to change. The problem is I didn’t even realize I was in this place. I spent weeks begging God to show me what was wrong.
God Cares for Me (and you too)
He over time gently revealed my victim mentality. And when I did that I could begin to let him change me. It doesn’t mean that this struggle doesn’t creep in sometimes but I am able to recognize it quickly and deal with it.
I want to continue on this path to continually work on these areas so they cannot take root in my life. I want people toes my hope and faith in Jesus. in the middle of my struggles- not just the struggles. I want them to see my reliance on him even in the midst of whatever chaos is going on in our lives.
Have you ever fell into the victim mentality where you weren’t really living? Have you ever convinced yourself that you weren’t giving up only to realize that you you had really given up whether mentally, spiritually or emotionally?
I hope that through this post you can see that there is a different way of looking at those struggles!
Thanks for hanging out with me today. If you are new here WELCOME we are so glad you joined in.
Feel free to check out the links below to catch up!
Good morning and let me start by saying OOOOPS! WARNING LIGHTS was supposed to happen on Sunday after we finished The Negative Influence Traits BUT SUNDAY! Someday I will tell You all about Sunday! This last week!!! I was a tad distracted to say the least.
I wanted to communicate that when we get to the end of all of those negative influence traits and if we are seeing them pop up we need to realize they are warning lights of spiritual deficiency in our lives. As my husband I have talked about this, we discussed how we tend to blame and react to other people but what we really need todo is rely on Jesus. To focus on our relationship with Him. We need to work through these struggles with HIM. We CANNOT do this on our own!
We need to trust Him to change us and that starts with our own humility. Setting aside our rights, wants and desires. Recognizing this warning lights and then surrendering them to him is a huge step
The Big question
Do you see ANY warning lights that are blinking – indicating that something is causing you to have a negative influence?
Remember that it’s not about how many of these things you have it only takes one of these traits to creep in and begin to ruin you testimony and your influence.