Ask the question – Who influences me? Many articles and essays have been written on the importance of influence and also the double edged sword of the same. But are we as self-aware of our influences as we need to be? When a stallion is in a field of bovines it may seem quite natural to circum to the actions and characteristics of the "bovines" and subsequently forget the ability he, the stallion, possesses.
This same risk applies to individuals: have you checked your influences lately? Have you circum to "bovine mediocracy" or do you continue to search out your God-given greatness? Have you challenged the status quo? Or have you settled your life-goals to a path of least resistance.
Talking about bovines - there was a milk campaign back awhile ago and even though I despised the corniness of the campaign I couldn't argue with the philosophy – always grow, grow always.
Individuals who hinder your personal growth or who are intimidated by it are not friends but rather insecure relations which are trying to not loose hold of a co-dependant relationship (i.e. your dependency on them brings them a sense of significance). The friends and influencers that you need are individuals who care for you enough to never allow you to sink into mediocracy – but rather individuals who will always lovingly "provoke" you to a higher level in your life. (Hebrews 10:24)
Up to this point of the article I have been writing from a receivership position – but the question must also be asked personally: Am I a person of valuable influence to my friends, family, and relations? Have you so circum to personal insecurity that you cling on to your friends and family tightly to keep them from advancing so that you are not possibly abandoned or "left alone?" A motivational speaker once stated that in order to be successful you must help enough individuals become successful themselves. This is a universal law of reciprocity and one which God set into motion long, long ago. Love your neighbor as yourself; it is more blessed to give then to receive, etc. True significance only arrives from the giving of ourselves to a greater cause then our own contentment, happiness, or security. (Matthew 22:37-39)
But back to our original subject – The challenge still remains for you to "know yourself." And unless we take time to analyze the "influencers" in our lives we can easily circum to "bovine mediocracy" and quickly loose sight of the inward potential God has placed within us. With this in mind, how much more important our relationship with God becomes, since we are given the incredible opportunity to be influenced by an all-knowing, all-wise, all-loving father. This week please ask yourself four simple questions:
1. Who is my influence?
2. Is this influence helping me grow beneficially?
3. Who do I influence?
4. And have I helped them grow beneficially?
P.S. I do not hold any specific grudges against bovines – actually they hold many intrinsically "tasty" characteristics – but I wouldn't follow their lifestyles.