Let’s try an experiment. Google a topic. Then read the top five articles. How many differing opinions do you find?
- Drink 8-10 glasses of water a day.
- You don’t have to drink water. It doesn’t matter what the fluid is as long as you get half your body weight in fluid each day.
- Juice is better than soda.
- Juice is no different than soda.
- Exercise at least 30 minutes a day.
- Exercise no more than four days a week.
- Pornography addiction is a real thing.
- Pornography addiction is not a true addiction.
Contradictions. Which ones are right? Which facts do you believe?
What you believe about any topic, activity, or choice comes from your life influencers.
Over the last month, I’ve studied and shared various influencers in our lives:
Why does influence matter? And if it was a long-ago influence isn’t that even less important? How can you change direction?
We pursue what is important to us.
Growing up, my dad taught me that we have time to accomplish whatever we decide to do. If it matters, we make time for it. Quite a simple concept really. But, not many of us believe it enough to act on it and change direction. When you decide what is important, then you create space, resources, and time for it.
For most of my life, I wanted to be trim and healthy. However, I believed I was destined to be overweight and struggle with health issues because my life started out with health issues. About five years ago, I prayed an audacious (for me) prayer. I asked God to change my health and heal me. Unknown to me, my children and husband were praying the same prayer over a period of days and weeks. God answered that prayer miraculously, in part, and then daily as I choose to pursue health.
When you choose to change direction from your current one, you cut off some past behaviors, relationships, habits, and preferences. If you don’t, you’ll continue along the same path because you automatically follow the usual influencers.
We act on our beliefs.
And our influences shape our beliefs. Whatever we allow to influence our lives, we act on. If you want to change direction from where you are today, you surround yourself with people who teach, challenge, and encourage you to pursue that dream. That’s using influence positively. However, the converse is also true. If you fill your days with negative news, people who’ve lost their ability to dream beyond what they can see, or busy activities instead of meaningful ones, your influences tend toward more negativity. Therefore, if you say you believe one thing but your actions don’t bear it out, look at your influences.
We become like our influences.
Remember the Jim Rohn quote? As you evaluate where you are today, are you satisfied? If not, there is great news! You can change. It’s not as hard as you think. Take time to evaluate your influences. What do you need to restrict, eliminate, or pursue? Here’s a simple exercise to help you:
- On a piece of paper, make a column titled “Current Influences.”
- Write down everything and everyone that influences your life.
- Next to each item put restrict, eliminate, or pursue.
- Title the second column “Desired Influences.”
- List the influences you believe you need to add to your life to help you achieve your desired result.
Let’s take a deeper dive into the impact of these influencers.
What next step can you take today to change direction or manage the people who influence you? It’s not enough to identify the changes, we need to act.
Look at those you marked “eliminate.”
Is this realistic? Why or why not? If you can’t eliminate that influencer, can you at least restrict it? How will you do that? Write down your ideas next to that influencer.
What about those you marked “restrict”?
Look at those influencers again. Is there one, two, or more that need to be eliminated, not just restricted? If so, cross through those influencers. Now, review those marked restricted. Jot an idea next to each name about how you will do that. If it’s a person you have lunch with each week, change your standing appointment to every two, three, or even four weeks. If it’s a favorite food treat you know isn’t good for you, change your intake of that food to one of a special indulgence, like two to four times a year. Too drastic? How about starting with once a week for now? You can work up to the other. 🙂
Finally, let’s look at those influencers you marked “pursue.”
Yay. This is the fun list! At least, I hope it is. Why did you put that influencer on your pursue list? Be specific. If you look at one name or activity now and realize it’s in the wrong spot, change it to one of the other lists. This is your life; you decide. How will you pursue that influencer? If it’s a person you don’t personally know yet, do they have a social media account you can follow? Have they written any books? Buy them, read them, then post a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads (for print books), and Audible, or iTunes (if audiobooks). Comment on their blogs. Share their work with your friends. Are they speaking at a conference? Make plans to attend the conference. If they lead a breakout session, take advantage of that opportunity. Be prepared to tell that influencer how they’ve impacted your life.
Is there a written source of positive influence, not a person, then get your hands on that resource!
Learn all you can from that resource and apply it to your life. Knowledge just gives you a big head if all you do is brag that you’ve read it; it’s the action that brings change. Sure, you can hold an intelligent conversation with others about that resource, but if it didn’t change your life because you acted on what you learned, so what? In the Greek language, they define knowledge as “I read it or heard it,” but the Hebrew meaning for “know” involves putting that knowledge into daily life. It is intimate and life-altering.
When we struggle with addiction or pain in our marriages, it’s critical to evaluate every influence on you and your marriage. If an influence or influencer causes harm, it’s time to change direction.
If your problem isn’t too many bad influences, but not much outside influence at all you may experience isolation. Do you feel isolated? That’s a big warning sign that you need to pursue healthy influencers.
After my husband confessed his addiction to pornography and I was diagnosed with depression, we began to take stock of our influencers. At first, it was painful. However, making the decision to change direction in our personal and marital lives opened the door for healing.
For years I wondered why God allowed this horrible pain in my life. But I don’t wonder anymore. I believe God allowed this pain in my marriage to draw me closer to Him and to care for other women whose husbands are addicted to pornography. With free resources, a tender heart, and one-on-one conversation, you discover and pursue ways to heal whether he decides to change or not. You don’t have to live with that pain. I can help.