I am convinced that no one goes through life by themselves. Somehow, some way we are all influenced by either a person, a place, or an experience. No one is completely untouched by this life. The influences may be positive, negative, indifferent, but no matter how they manifest they exist.
I wouldn’t be where I am today without influences in my life, and those influences range from people to places to experiences. As I begin the process of Discovering Me, it is important for me to reflect on some of the key influences that have opened the doors for me to discover who I am, and more importantly who I am in Christ.
My first influencer (yes, I know that’s not a word) is Joyce Meyer (and please know I will be writing about my influences in no particular order – they are all important). Perhaps you have heard of Joyce Meyer, best-selling author of Battlefield of the Mind. She is a globally known minister and runs Hand of Hope, a companion ministry that outreaches to those in need in the United States and around the world. I have been following Joyce and her teachings since 2010.
Long before I started listening to Joyce, I heard about Joyce and was encouraged to read her books. I was resistant because I’ve never been a fan of female ministers (ever) and let’s be honest… I was stubborn. I didn’t need any help or input; I was fine on my own (a big yeah right!) I eventually gave in (aka listened to God) and Joyce has been a big part of my life ever since. I know, without a doubt, that God speaks to me through her teachings and books. She is so funny, direct, honest, real. and flawed like the rest of us and isn’t afraid to show those flaws. But then she is quick to point out God’s grace, mercy and love (which we all desperately need).
I won’t go into all the ways that Joyce’s teachings have influenced my life (you’ll just have to wait to read Discovering Me), but I will say it had a lot to do with the power of the mind. How I think, what I think about, what I focus on, how I think about myself, how I think about others, how I think about my work, and so on. The shift in my thinking did not happen overnight, but rather over time, little by little. Consistently listening to Joyce and understanding God’s Word helped to bring about significant change in my outlook on life and especially how I viewed myself. I can easily say I am not the same person I was 5 years ago; in fact, I am not the same person I was a year ago. God can do amazing things in our lives if we are willing to surrender and listen.
Lastly, Joyce started her ministry in her late 30s. God spoke to her one day and she never looked back. She wasn’t who she is today; she spent years studying, learning and growing. Those years are what make her teaching so influential today. What I take away from her journey is:
1) Act when God puts something on your heart to do.
2) Don’t expect things to happen overnight (patience isn’t always my strong suit).
3) Don’t try and guess what God is going to do next, just do what He told you to do today (and that task may stay the same for a day, week, month or years) and leave the rest up to Him (He is all-knowing after all).
4) And it’s never too late to begin and to believe in yourself.
I am in my late 30s and God has called me to write Discovering Me and to be a beacon of encouragement for others. Like Joyce, I don’t know what steps are next but I will be faithful in what He has asked me to do today.
When you reflect on your life, looking back on your journey and where you are today, who are your influencers? What places, people or experiences changed the course of your life? Perhaps you haven’t given it any thought. Maybe you should. You might be surprised how your life has been shaped as a result of influences.