What’s the Point of Influence?

Have you ever wondered how trends start? Who first came up with skinny jeans or scrunchies? Or who was the first one to rock a man bun? Fads come and go and come back again (I don’t know about you, but I am not ready for the 1990’s to make a comeback). But these trends, whether good or bad, each began the same way: by a person of influence.

We all have a certain level of influence, whether this is a characteristic that is endowed upon us or amassed through experience or skills or a combination of both, you can’t argue that we all have influence to some degree. The three year old pitching a fit in Target has much less influence on the entire world than the CEO of the company. However, in that moment, the mother and the rest of the store patrons are much more concerned with the temper tantrum on aisle 3 than the decisions made by the executive whose name they don’t even know.

How are you using your influence?

I asked myself that very question this evening as I was driving home and can honestly say that I didn’t like my response. I’ve fallen short; I’ve missed the mark.

Tonight I was talking with a dear friend about a topic she’s passionate about: homelessness. It’s an epidemic in the city of Dallas, one of the most affluent cities in the nation. This breaks my heart. There are people walking and driving around the city who have no idea about what’s really going on in the place they’ve chosen to call their home.

What’s even worse is my realization that I have no idea what’s going on in my city. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve researched the city, I’ve looked up stats on homelessness before, yet, I’ve managed to bury my head in less important matters such as my latest binge show on Netflix or where I want to go out to eat for dinner.

How am I using my influence?

While I do believe that I am impacting the people around me positively, my focus has been poorly placed on things that, in the grand scheme of things, really don’t matter all that much. I feel like my generation has made incredible strides in the realm of technology, yet we have somehow lost our humanity along the way. This is heart wrenching because people are why Jesus came to die. It’s that simple. It was His love for you, for me, for that neighbor you don’t like, and that homeless man under the bridge, that drove Him to action. Yet our love for things or our love for self is what typically drives us to action today. I’m looping myself in here; I’m begging for forgiveness myself. I have missed the mark.

Do I have a clear picture of how I should better use my influence? Honestly, no, I’m still processing. I’m still working out a plan, but I can tell you this: I am going to make some changes. For me, this looks like evaluating how I’m using my resources such as my money and my time. What if I took the money that I typically spend in a month on Starbucks and put it toward buying groceries for a family in need or taking a friend who’s going through a tough time out to lunch? What if, instead of watching that extra episode of that one show, I had a real conversation with another human being or took some time to volunteer at a low income school?

I believe if we used our influence to help even one other person, our world could look drastically different. While I’m not advocating for everyone to go out and hang out with the homeless, I would ask each of us to really examine how we’re using our resources. It all begins with asking yourself some questions.

What group of people are you passionate about?
Is there an injustice in the world that, when mentioned, pains you or makes you sick?

Now, here’s a tough one: Is your influence going toward helping that group of people? Are your resources going toward that cause you are so passionate about? If not, why don’t you start?

Even if your influence can’t reach the whole world, it can rock one person’s world, and sometimes that can make all the difference.

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