March 4, 2013

Influence

There are times when I am in awe of what my husband does as the lead pastor of our church. He's a strong leader, he cares for people well, he preaches truth, and he genuinely tries to balance ministry and family life in a God-honoring way.

But from our private conversations and our day-to-day life, I am fully aware that he also gets weary and needs pastoring himself. In those moments, he needs encouragement, rest, and faith spoken into him. And I know I am the primary person who can do that, sometimes the only person who is doing it regularly. I am the one who can pastor him, the one who can champion and celebrate his strengths, as well as the one who can gently bring blind spots into view.
I influence the influencer. My words carry weight, especially in regards to his decisions. My perspectives on other people affect how he views and relates with them. My attitude toward his job shapes his own attitude toward his job.

My influence can be positive or negative; I help or I hinder.

I know what it is to hinder my husband. I've spoken bitterness into him concerning people in our ministry who have offended me. I have manipulated him in my discontentedness. I have been emotionally unrestrained. I have too confidently trusted my own wisdom and discernment and pushed it on my husband. I have failed to recognize his need for encouragement and support. I have harshly spoken my resentments at what his job has required of me.

I've received many gifts through church planting and one of them is this: I now fully recognize just how much influence I have on my husband, and I also recognize how much this influence indirectly affects our church. I really, really want to be wise with this influence that I've been entrusted with by God.

I've learned a thing or two about myself, using my influence wisely, and helping my husband. I try to celebrate the victories, no matter how small. After church on Sunday, I give him specific positive feedback about his sermon without him having to ask for it, but I only give him constructive criticism when he asks for it. I speak highly of the elders and staff that he serves with. I pray for him and tell him I am doing so. I tell him I'm proud to be his wife. I walk with the Lord and let Him help me sort out my emotions before going to my husband with them. I verbally celebrate his strong character and integrity. And, most importantly, I constantly work at joyfully embracing this calling on my husband's life and what it means for me.

You are an extremely influential person, too.

At least that's what your husband would say if I asked him who most affects his attitude, his spiritual growth, his leadership, his courage, and his decisions both inside and outside the home. You have powerful influence in the life of a man who influences a whole host of people through preaching, leading, counseling, and decision-making.

You influence the influencer. Are you helping him or are you hindering him?

Readers, how do you practice helpful influence in your marriage?

This post was inspired by a talk Kathy Litton gave at the Velocity Conference I recently attended. Kathy is a pastor's wife and heads up Flourish.me, a place of encouragement for ministry wives. She has been a source of blessing and encouragement to me personally. I hope you'll jump on over to Flourish and find the same wisdom and refreshment that I've received from her. If you'd like to grow in this area, I also highly recommend the book Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas. And of course I wrote about helping our husbands in my book.

8 comments:

Christine said...

Thank you so very much for this very transparent read Christine! My husband began the journey as a church planter last year and we are preparing to launch this coming July. Your nuggets of biblical wisdom have been very instrumental in this season of my life. Your brutal honesty gives me the wisdom to learn from your mistakes and mimic those things that attribute to your successes. You are more of a blessing than you know. This read was very necessary and timely. I will help my husband and not be a hindrance. God Bless You!

Christine said...

I'm so thankful God is using something as simple as words and a blog to encourage you to grow into your role as a church planting wife! Blessings to you as you prepare to launch...it's a crazy time :)

Christine said...

Thank you very much for sharing these words of wisdom. I REALLY needed to read this post. My husband and I helped plant a church last year - he is the community pastor and I am the children's ministry director. We have some stuff going on right now in our marriage that is making things tougher for us and we just had our third child too. I think I have been doing much more hindering than helping lately. Thank you for the reminder that I am an extremely influential person in my husband's life...I am very humbled right now.

Christine said...

Also, can you give me an example of what you mean by this statement - "I walk with the Lord and let Him help me sort out my emotions before going to my husband with them." Thanks!

Christine said...

Sure, Amy.
I think when I am emotional over a period of days, I have to be really careful with that. I've found that if I take time to reflect on the root of what I'm really feeling and allow the Lord to speak to that, I am not spewing emotional stuff all over my husband. When I'm spewing, I sometimes am processing out loud what I'm feeling as it comes. I think this is a lack of self-control and it leads to arguments and hurts. But if I can prayerfully figure out what's really bothering me (it's usually that I'm needing my husband's time or reassurance), I can go to my husband with specific feelings, needs, and requests of him. And that doesn't usually turn into a fight....just a discussion about what's going on with me. Does that make sense?

Hannah said...

Love this! I think this has been the biggest lesson God has taught me over our years of ministry. I get overwhelmed at times just thinking about that sentence, "I influence the influencer." wow! What an awesome responsibility. I know that there have been many times over the years that I have not handled this position well. Its only through God's strength and His power that I can change my attitude and use my influence for good. Thanks for the encouragement!!

Christine said...

Yes it does! Thanks for clarifying! I need to work on that.

Christine said...

Great post! We can either build up or tear down. I hope that I've built more than I've torn!

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