Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Jenni Catron’s new book Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence (Thomas Nelson, 2014).
God has designed you to influence the world in a way that no one else can. It’s crucial to discover and unleash your God-given influence – your clout – in order to fulfill God’s purposes for your life.
Although you may not feel like what you do matters much when you’re working on mundane tasks, the truth is that everything you do can have a significant impact on others if you’re intentional about how you live. Here’s how:
Replace your fears with truth. Your clout begins to emerge when you start to confront your fears and replace them with biblical truth, which reveals God’s unlimited power and love for you. Fear challenges your clout by taunting you with the question “Am I enough?” But God assures you in his Word that you are enough, and that you can count on him to empower you to do whatever he calls you to do. Make a habit of reading, studying, and reflecting on the Bible frequently so its truths will sink into your soul and you can apply its wisdom to your life well. Often, you must face fear at the threshold of a God-given opportunity to make an impact. Whenever that happens, ask God to give you the faith you need to see beyond the fear and move forward with the confidence that God is with you and will help you. Keep in mind that every hurdle of fear you encounter is an opportunity for your faith to grow.
Overcome comparison. If you fear that you are not measuring up to other people, you will wrestle with comparison. But God says not to compare yourself with others, because he has made you a unique person with a distinctive purpose in life. Realize that the temptation to compare yourself with others distracts you from being who God has called you to be. The only thing you should be comparing yourself to is to your own God-given potential. Start measuring your influence against the gifts, talents, experiences, and opportunities that God has given you instead of against what God has given other people. Focus on what you do have rather than what you don’t have – and especially on the good that God is doing through your life.
Overcome jealousy and envy. If you’re afraid that your life’s circumstances aren’t as good as those of other people, you will struggle with jealousy and envy. Jealousy is the fear that you might lose something or someone, while envy is a painful longing for what you don’t have. But God gives you what’s best for you during every season of your life. Pray for an accurate perspective on your circumstances so you can see that God has blessed you with everything you really need. When you’re jealous of someone, make a point of affirming and celebrating their strengths to encourage them. When you’re envious for something you want, intentionally thank God for what he has already given you and choose to trust him to decide whether or not what you want is truly best for you. As you make those choices, positive thoughts will replace negative thoughts in your mind, freeing you to enjoy your life as it is and inspire others in the process.
Overcome scarcity. If you fear not having enough of what you need, you’ll live out of scarcity, which turns your focus inward and leads to selfishness when God calls you to focus outward to serve others. But God promises that he will provide for all of your needs whenever you place your trust in him to do so. So you never need to hoard and protect your words, time, or opportunities, withholding them from others who need them. Pray for the faith you need to generously give to others whom you sense God urging you to influence for good. When you do, your clout will grow.
Overcome insecurity. If you’re afraid of not being good enough, you will struggle with insecurity. But God says that, in Christ, you are good enough. God loves you completely and will empower you to do whatever he calls you to do. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see beyond your weaknesses to how God’s strength compensates for them and helps you reach your fullest potential. Pray about every situation in which you feel insecure, and look for opportunities to encourage others in those situations, trusting that as you do you’ll see God at work through you.
Overcome pride. If you fear not being strong enough, you will try to cover it up with pride. But God declares that you’re valuable simply for who you are – one of his beloved children – regardless of what you do. Pray for the Holy Spirit to help you grow to become a humble person who relies on God rather than just yourself. Be honest about how pride has interfered with your ability to influence other people whom God wants you to help, and choose to make yourself accountable to a community of other people from now on so you can grow in humility.
Overcome control. If you’re afraid of chaos, you will grapple for control. But in reality, you can’t control either the outcomes of situations or the decisions of other people. God, who is ultimately in control of everything, promises to take charge of whatever you entrust to him in prayer. Recognize that God is able to do much more than you could ever do on your own. Accept your limitations, acknowledge your dependence on God, and embrace the opportunities he gives you to work with others.
Discover your identity. Ask God to show you who he created you to be so you can lead others from the core of your personhood. Seek to understand more about your God-given spiritual gifts, talents, experiences, and opportunities and how you can use them most wisely.
Develop your confidence. The more you get to know your Creator, the more you’ll be inspired to trust him as the source of your confidence in any situation. Think about how you most naturally connect with God (such as through nature, worship, reading, or contemplation) and then incorporate those activities into your life regularly. As you do, you’ll learn to recognize God’s voice guiding you, which will boost your confidence and clout.
Define your mission and vision. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand the work that God has prepared especially for you to do during your lifetime on Earth. Keep in mind that it encompasses much more than just your paid jobs or volunteer work; it involves all the contributions you make to the world in any way, such as through your relationships. Articulate that in a written statement, and set goals to live it out those principles every day.
Adapted from Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence, copyright 2014 by Jenni Catron. Published by Nelson Books, an imprint of Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tn., www.ThomasNelson.com.
This article was used with permission from Crosswalk.com.