Influencing Others

Hello hello hello! Sorry, I know it’s been a while since I posted. I’m going to be repeating stuff said in other blogs as part of today’s blog, so it may sound familiar! Also, pardon any rabbit trails or sentences longer than they need to be. I’m trying to explain not just what this is, but where it came from as well.

In the teen bible study this morning, the leader was trying to figure out why only two out of ten or twelve teens were willing to share their testimony last week (I wasn’t there, I was home for break). While talking about this, one of the things she asked us was something about what happens to some Christians and what we can do to help. The primary item that was brought up was how some Christians hang out with the wrong people. My suggestion for helping? You guessed it, invite them to hang out with us (us being Christians is general)! Okay, that’s the backstory, now for the main part of this post.

I was thinking about this a little later, and it reminded me of my dad! (We’ve talked about him before, right? Yeeeessss). Guess what it reminded me of? Intention. Not the “did you mean not to” intention, but the “I’m doing this for a reason” intention. If you’ve read my previous posts, I believe I’ve talked about how my dad will go out of his way to influence others. If he sees something happening, he will go out of his way to advise someone or ask how they’re doing or whatever is needed. There’s a guy at the church I go to while here at school who does the same thing. They talk to people. They talk to everyone, from little kids to old people. They purposely step out to make bonds with people so that they can influence their life. I’ve grown up watching my dad do this, and I’ve (only) recently noticed my grandfather doing it too (I’m not very observant, hehe). I remember a talk I had with my dad during the fall. I asked him when he started investing into people’s lives like that, because I wanted to be able to do the same when I was older. His response? I started saying hi to people in the hallways during high school. I was kinda like, whaaaaattt!? It seemed impossible for me, Madam Shy. I still don’t plan to do that, at least not right now. However, I did think of something I can do.

My old youth pastor had a story from when he was younger. He used to be the class clown, and he started hanging out with the wrong crowd. He’s always told us how grateful he was/is to the one Christian kid that basically grabbed him and said “You’re hangin’ with us now”. So today, I started thinking – couldn’t I do that? Maybe not something that drastic, no (especially since I’m not part of a group of friends, I have like one here at school). But I can affect someone. I can take someone out to eat or invite them to play volleyball with me whenever spring rolls around. I can get my friends to do it too. Someone who isn’t Christian, or maybe someone who is but is a loner. I would’ve loved input from an older Christian when I was in middle school (hint hint, High Schoolers). Now that I’m in this high school, I’m not really in a position to help middle schoolers, but I can grab a fellow high schooler. Having a strong Christian friend can be more beneficial than having a strong Christian mentor in some situations.  Proverbs has a ton of related verses (27:17, 22:6, 9:9, 13:20, 27:23, 20:11) and obviously there are other verses too. I’m a strong believer in starting work on goals early, so this works for me. But this isn’t just a preference. I think it’s our duty as Christians to help strengthen each other and later, when we’re older, to mentor. We as Christians can’t get away with just living our life getting input, we have to give output too. We are supposed to be looking out for each other – we’re supposed to be our brothers’ keeper. We can’t wait ’til we’re older to take action, or we never will. We have to act right now.

So, here’s my challenge for you: High schoolers and under, find someone  1) to invest in your life (a.k.a a mentor) and 2) someone who you can invest in, be it a stray peer or someone younger. College students and older, find 1) a mentor (no, you aren’t too old, even if you’re 90) and 2) a stray peer or someone to mentor. Also, make sure you have a good group of Christian friends.

And if you want to comment any stories, feel free! I love reading/hearing them (although I don’t know the correct terminology)!