5 Lies We Believe About Influence
When you think about influence, what comes to mind? Fame? Power? Opportunity? Success?Influence is something a lot of us strive for, but why? Not in a 'why would you want that?' way, because, yes, it's an appealing thing. But 'why?' as in- is it truly for the right reasons, or is it for selfish reasons? Is it to gain qualities to boast about? Many have bought into lies about influence that only lead to disappointment. Not everything is what it seems....this is something we have to remind ourselves of when we think about the factors that are on the surface of influence. What is viewed as 'perfection' does, in fact, have flaws. Many are far too fooled by lies when they see or think of what it means to be influential.
Below are 5 lies that are too often believed:
1. Influence Makes You Valuable
This couldn't be further from the truth. It’s a lie that many of us believe. We frame our lives up in such a way that influence becomes the end goal or the final destination, and we think that when we get there, we will finally feel valuable.
We all want to be loved, we all want to be valued. It makes us feel like we mean something to people, and at the end of the day, that’s what we all want. In todays world we can create the appearance of influence with the hopes of feeling valuable. Like, if we get all of the check boxes to appear influential filled, we will suddenly feel overwhelmed with value. The reality of it is simple. Influence is not value. Influence just means we are influential, which is not a bad thing, it’s just not a value thing. Knowing the difference is important. All throughout the bible we see God using influential people, but that has never changed how valuable humanity is to God. Remember that story where Jesus spoke with the lady at the well? Think about David, you know him as a giant slayer and a king but God was the one who found him out in the field. In Matthew, eight Jesus heals a man with Leprosy, someone who had no influence and was a complete outcast. Always remember your value has nothing to do with influence, influence is just the platform that your character gets displayed on. Understanding the difference can save you a lot of pain and confusion. You are always valuable, your value cannot be altered or shaken by your amount of influence.
2. Influence Gives You Better Friends
Finding people that you can trust can be exhausting, even painful at times. People are always more apt to show you their good side when they know you have something good to offer them. Influence can draw more people to you, but it’s often for reasons that are less about you and more about what you can do for them. Influence is special because it leverages you to empower others in a unique way, but it can also be a lonely place if arrived at with the wrong motives. Surround yourself with a group of people you trust. Confide in those people, be honest with those people, and be courageous enough to let your guard down. Keep those friendships healthy and stop trying to put your identity in what everyone else says and thinks about you. When your identity is in who is following you, who is watching you, and who is wanting your attention, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Influence is not better friendships, it’s just influence.
3. Influence Will Give You Purpose
The majority of people that I talk to seem to believe that if you’re able to garner enough influence, then you will have found your purpose. The problem with that assumption is that purpose is being placed in something rather than someone. We all have the same purpose, but the way we go about it is different. As followers of Jesus our purpose is to glorify God (Psalm 139: 13-16, 1 Corinthians 10:31), and some of us do that working the night shift at a hospital, others do it teaching children, walking down the halls at school, on your campus, or wherever God has placed you, but wherever you’ve been placed, that is where you’re called to shine (Matthew 5:15).
You can accumulate all the influence in the world and do nothing with it. Your purpose is to leverage the influence you have for the name of Jesus. Influence is not your purpose, it’s a platform to communicate your purpose. Your purpose isn't contingent upon the amount of influence you have, it is solidified in proclaiming the finished work of Jesus for God’s glory to those that are in your sphere of influence right now. Don't wish away the influence that you have in your specific season.
4. Influence Will Stop The Pain
This may be the single greatest lie about influence. We tell ourselves that once we’ve achieved a certain level of influence, then everything will be fine. Like the number of people seeing us fills the void that our pain creates. Influence is more often a catalyst for pain than a remedy for healing. We think that the pain from broken relationships, rejection, and disappointment will get swept under the rug of our own recognition. We think that the approval of many will mend the lack of approval from people who matter in our lives, or the approval from ourselves. This isn't true, we cannot fix our pain with admiration from strangers. Influence becomes the pedestal that lifts our pain high for others to see. It isn’t swept away, it’s put under a microscope.
When you read through the Gospels, it is incontrovertible that Jesus’ popularity, His influence was one of the primary reasons He was crucified. As His influence increased, so did the opposition that He faced from the Pharisees. Don’t let that deter you, let it captivate you. For the joy set before Him, it was through the agony of enduring the cross that Jesus achieved salvation for sinners and the glory of Heaven (Hebrews 12:2). Influence won’t stop the pain, it will probably bring even more, but place it in God’s hands and He’ll make something more beautiful than you ever dreamed.
5. Influence Is Just A “Popularity” Thing
Influence has nothing to do with popularity. I have never understood why people look down on influence like it’s a bad thing, because it’s not. Influence is not a sin, pride is. Influence has nothing to do with “how many”. My mother has influenced anyone that I have ever encouraged. How? You’ve never met my mom? She doesn’t have a twitter and she couldn’t post a picture on Instagram if her life depended on it. It’s because of the impact she had on my life, I am now able to influence others because of the influence she had on me. She taught me, cared for me, sacrificed for me, that’s real influence. You see, influence is more about the impact than it is the numbers. In fact, we are all influencers. We all have people watching, even though we are often so focused on what’s next, it’s important we make the most of what we have because our mundane is someone else’s dream, and God wants to trust us with the little before he gives us more. Why would God give you more impact with more people if you haven’t done anything with what He has given you now? We all have influence, stop belittling it by comparing it to others. Influence isn’t based on popularity, it’s based on impact.
aAt the end of the day influence is only influence. It’s not who you are and it doesn't determine how valuable you are to others, or to God. Influence is powerful, yet over rated and often misunderstood. Influence isn’t bad, wasting it is. We all have influence. Leverage it because it’s what we do with it that really determines who we are.
Co-Authored, Luke Lezon, Caleb Stanley