Influencing your world in 2018
If I go unchecked, I will internet shop all day. It’s the thrill of the hunt really. I do it online because the world is my department store and I have kids now. I used to love to thrift shop and clearance shop. Maybe it’s the feminine gatherer instinct in me.
I can’t say usually, but sometimes, my reason overrides my impulse, and I look at what is in my hands instead of just what I can grasp for.
What can I create? Who can I influence?
First off, my kids see everything I do. I didn’t quit my job to shop online, but rather to raise them intentionally. I decided to do things with them that we both would remember. That decision snowballed into a book that you can buy for your child on Amazon — actually several. It all started with cuddle time on the porch swing. Swinging turned to stories…stories we wrote down, colored pages for. Those got worn out, so then we made collages out of natural materials that we gathered from outside and from a ‘photo shoot’ we held with my son as the star character of the book. I learned how to self-publish, and now we spend time promoting our book by making ads online. That led me to find the magazine that I contribute to regularly.
Writing a children’s book (and then a few more) gave me the fuel to write an adult Christian self-help book. I have learned so much this year after deciding to work to use what I have in my hands for the glory of God and the benefit of others. God has truly opened doors for me that I didn’t see before.
Looking at what is in my hands is a lesson I learned from one of the hardest times of failure in my life. I failed halfway through a dental hygiene program. I needed a 75 in a certain class, and I only earned a 72 or 73 (I don’t remember). The headmaster was a difficult person to learn from or work with. I remember when I first signed up for the program, the student activities directer said, “Oh no, your going to be working under the Hygiene Nazi”. Her reputation preceded her. What I did learn from her was that not everyone is going to like you ‘just because’, and that you should always use your resources. We were to come to her LAST and use our resources to figure out or own questions before approaching her. Otherwise, she would make you look stupid one on one or front of the whole class. You didn’t consult her first unless you didn’t mind the ridicule.
Years after I failed her class (and program), I let only her words that offered growth to ring in my ears (instead of the ridicule I received from her; she loved to fit you into your dunce hat). “Use your resources!”
I had an idea, the willingness to try and learn, and a phone/internet. Now there is something online you can purchase and share with your children because of that. My dream of being a published author has come true because of that catalyst to growth and to my confidence.
So what do you have in your hands, or house? You can go out and buy fast food, or you can get creative with your pantry, eating healthier, spending less, and making memories cooking as you do so.
You could even take it a step further and make enough to take over to a neighbor in need.
Yesterday a friend of mine got the inkling to clean out her linen closet and get rid of unused sheets and blankets. When the temperatures dropped, she got the inspiration from a nudge to her spirit to drive some boxes of blankets to the parks where homeless people linger and sleep. Her husband liked the idea so much, he bought some blankets and gave them to a police officer he found on night shift, and instructed him to give them out to the homeless if he saw someone in need. The officer was happy to oblige.
What do you have in your closets? What has God placed on your heart? He won’t put a desire to bless inside of your soul without giving you the tools to carry out that blessing. That friend had just said to me the other day how she couldn’t stand the thought of people freezing and being homeless. She can’t help the whole city on her own, but I bet a couple people are warmer than they would have been because she used what she had, and inspired someone else to do the same.
How can you influence the world, instead of simply consuming entertainment and things for most of your time?
The people who can multiply and pass on their blessings, or create instead of consume are the world’s influencers. Never be afraid to pour yourself into a skill or hobby you enjoy — when you create there are always other people who benefit from beholding your art.
If you fall into the rut of consuming more than creating or giving, here is a start up list of things you can do to begin contributing more than you take:
- Explore what you can offer your local nursing home. You can befriend one person and visit him/her regularly, or you can offer entertainment to all the residents by leading them in music, reading to them, passing out an item — like a silk flower, leading bingo, or painting the lady’s nails. Toady my son and I visited a lady we have befriended. We brought a small Christmas tree and a few ornaments and decorated it with her to keep in her room. We only stayed 30 minutes, but she was so happy! When I do this with my kids I do two things — bless her with time and a gift, and make an example of kindness for my sons.
- Start a blog or website to showcase your talent.
- Find people who would benefit from a craft you can make and donate.
- Cook at home.
- Read; you can share the information you learn with others.
- Play games with your family. Your time and attention are priceless gifts.
- Take or offer a class covering a subject or skill that interests you.
- Join a church where there are new opportunities to serve others. I have an awesome friend who is a teacher. She saw the need in our community for a church based preschool. She had the church she is a member of, the idea, the degree and experience, so she got the church support and heads it as a new outreach ministry. Now our family and many families in the community benefit by her using her resources and gifts to impact others. Churches are community hubs that are full of opportunity, preexisting and not yet born, to serve your home city.
- Adopt a pet and take time caring for it (walking, bathing, socializing).
This year, take a look at your inventory. How can you multiply and grow what you already have? If you took the energy that you pour into entertainment and rerouted it toward blessing others with your resources or your art, there is no telling what your life will look like next year.
May God bless your 2018!