Monday, April 4, 2011
By Suanne Camfield Live out your influence. This phrase goes through my head a dozen times a day. If it sounds familiar to you-and I'm hoping it does-it's because it's the tagline for FullFill™. When I became the blog manager for the Weekly ReFill a year ago, these four words -live out your influence-were simply a catchy slogan that rattled occasionally in my brain as I sought to drum up bloggers for the Weekly ReFill that lands in your inbox each Monday morning. But over the course of the year, that tagline has morphed into a mantra causing me to rethink my idea of what influence really means. I will confess that, at their worst (or perhaps their best), my musings about influence include my name scrolling at the top of the credits: the writer in me always lands on the bestseller list; the blogger in me with thousands of followers who perpetually "like" me; the speaker in me in sold-out ministry venues. Even the activist in me seems to wind up in an interview with Anderson Cooper. Now one quick distinction: I'm not talking about motivation. I think we can agree that our desire to live out our influence stems from a genuine hunger to use our gifts to impact the world for Christ. And while checking our ego is a frequent and necessary discipline, what I'm referring to here is not narcissism, but a tendency to confuse influence with our culture's warped definition of success, a definition that skews us towards grandeur in the name of Jesus. Not sure? When's the last time you fretted over the number of people attending your ministry gathering or weekend retreat? Or beat yourself up over how many families you're connected with through your neighborhood or school? What about the last time you agonized over the prestige of your job, how many friends you have on Facebook or who follows you on Twitter? In a sincere desire to use our gifts to their maximum potential, we often feel defeated when we're not doing it in a way that seems big enough. When my mind goes careening off this cliff, I fear my idea of influence is more aligned to the results of a reality TV show than rooted in a biblical worldview. And so in a desire for the renewal of my mind, I'm replacing ambitious musings with faces of people who have made a difference in my life and the lives of people I know. I'm turning my eyes outward, actively observing people of influence whose best work goes largely unnoticed. I'm digging into the Word to study once again how Jesus humbly took time to meet people in their brokenness and heal their open wounds. In the process, I'm continually reminded that most times influence is not big and flashy. It's not done in large gulps or in front of the masses, but in small quiet doses over long periods of time. It doesn't take inordinate gifts as much as it takes diligence, patience and faithfulness. It takes a willingness to walk alongside people when we have nothing to gain, to share the parts of us we'd rather hold tight-fisted, to put others' needs above our busy schedules and self-serving agendas. It requires consistently and persistently putting one foot in front of the other as we seek to be an influence in whatever sphere God has for us today. So how about you? How are you living out your influence? Suanne Camfield is a writer, speaker and the blog manager for FullFill™. She lives with her family in Chicago and blogs at www.suannecamfield.wordpress.com.
Posted by FullFill™ Magazine at 9:07 AM