Are You a Negative Influence?

What influence do you have over others? Do you notice others watching you, trying to follow what you do? Or, are there those people who see what you do and think that’s the way they should act, speak, walk?

As the mom of four, I’m constantly reminded of my bad choices. Just this weekend, my husband and I were talking about how much our children listen to us and how we need to be more cautious about what we say around them. Though our children’s ages span from teen down to three, they each listen and pick up those ideas and attitudes we wish they wouldn’t.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts, that I have a problem being negative which is why I’m embracing the theme “Love” for this year. I’m not doing the best job at it at the moment; it is hard when junk is constantly thrown at me, whether directly or indirectly.

The main problem for me is, I struggle with just letting it go or seeing it for what it truly is. Sometimes I make too much of a big deal over a small thing. I have foresight into a situation, but do I really know exactly how it will play out? Not really.

My church is going through some changes which at first I welcomed, even prayed for. Be careful what you pray for, right? With the introduction of a new associate pastor who may very well one day soon take on the senior pastor position, we are experiencing friction. It’s not the type that the congregation would really notice, but I see it because I’m caught up in it. It’s the “behind the scenes look” into the world of change.

And it’s not a slow, “let’s see how we should do this,” change. It’s a quick, bull in a china shop change. At least, according to me.

Photo: chuttersnap

The biggest problem for me right now is that it doesn’t affect me directly; it affects my husband. I’m the type of person who will go on a crusade for another before I fight for myself. So, when my husband stresses over something I feel should not be a stressor, I get upset. What’s worse, is that when my husband is stressed, my entire family feels it.

This post is not about what these changes are or a complaint about what is going on, but rather I want to show what I’m doing. And what I’m doing is not right.

Yes, I’m Christian. We all know what that makes us, right? It makes us nothing more than humans who have realized that we have a God who created us, a God who is bigger than anything we have to deal with, a God who is always right.

Therefore, I am still human. And that means I make mistakes.

My biggest mistake right now is allowing the enemy to come in and whisper words of dissension into my ear. I know he’s doing it, but instead of fighting him, I’m embracing the words and putting up my defenses against what could be true and good.

I’m ever grateful, though, for the other words that I can hear whispered into my ear. Words that are good, words that say, “Abigail, this isn’t right. You want to love, this is your chance.”

God is good, isn’t He?

Photo: stefu

Yet all of this brings an internal conflict that starts to rear its ugly head in conversations. And when these conversations happen, there are ears close by picking up the content and the attitude.

My kids. They now have an opinion about what is going on in the church. Honestly, they shouldn’t even know what’s happening at this moment, at least not as much as they do.

As adults, we can backtrack and think about what we’ve been saying and realize we’re not glorifying God with our speech. We can decide to look at the situation with fresh eyes and see how God will work in it even if we are unsure of the outcome. But our kids? Changing their minds once they’ve been made up is extremely difficult. After all, have you tried to convince a child that they might actually like the meal you set before them? It’s not easy, next to impossible.

I don’t want to be a stumbling block for my children, but with my recent words and actions, that’s precisely what am.

And it’s not just children who can be affected by this. I believe that following Christ is a group effort, so when I start to complain to others about what is going on, I inadvertently act as their stumbling block.

Yes, they may agree with me. They may even bring up their frustrations first. All this leads to a confident feeling that I am right.

But I’m not.

Photo: Tumisu

Instead of commiserating with them, I have the responsibility to show them how God can work through this, and how perhaps He may have something better in mind than we could ever imagine (imagine that!).

So now what do I do? I know that I need to listen to God far more than I do. He is Truth, and doesn’t the Bible say that the Truth will set us free? (verse) Right now I need that freedom. Listening to the enemy has put me in a bondage of my own making. God has brought this freedom to me, bought it with the life of His Son, Jesus Christ. Who am I to discredit it, to go against it?

And God is Love. A love that is eternal, unconditional. I will stand with God and stare down the enemy. No longer will I allow negativity to take hold of me. My God is bigger. My God is greater. If I want to walk His path, this is the choice I must make.

What choice will you make? Are you standing with God or with the enemy? Do you know?

Let your words and actions be glorifying to Him. Stand with Him. Be the influence that others need. Don’t let your feelings get in the way of what is right.

Lord, heavenly Father, I ask for forgiveness today as I realize how much I’ve been listening to the enemy. Lord God, I thank you for standing firm, never changing, and waiting for me to return to you. You, oh Lord, are the One in whom I can place my trust. You are the One who has led me out of bondage, out of darkness, and into the light of freedom. Help me to never forget. Let my words and actions be glorifying only to You, Lord, and let others see me not as a stumbling block, but as one who loves, one who honors You. Thank You, Lord. In the Name of Jesus Christ, I pray, Amen.

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