In the midst of what is happening in the world around me, I find myself in two camps.  I either want to hide my head, go into hibernation and wake up when things return to “normal” or I am wringing my hands, sick to my stomach, anxious over the world’s state of affairs, wondering how do I reach out?  Do you relate?

In a reading lately, from Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling, a phrase stood out to me.

Stop trying to monitor My (God’s) responsibilities – things that are beyond your control.  Find freedom by accepting the boundaries of your domain.

Wow!  Accepting the boundaries of my domain. What is in my circle of influence, my domain? I am not responsible for the people in Florida, Texas, Arizona in the upswing of Covid right now because I don’t live there, although I can certainly pray or send money to help organizations that are helping people hardest hit by the pandemic.

I am not responsible for marching in every protest against racism.  However, my church has started conversations around reconciliation, restoration and I can join in that conversation.  My church includes my circle of influence.  I am free and responsible to be active in my church to bring about change.

Circles of Influence – Reaching for the Next Right Thing

To know how to reach out within your circle of influence (those people and places closest to you) accept the boundaries of your domain and reach for the next right thing, ask God to help you identify what circles you could work within.

Start first with yourself

What kind of shape is your own soul in?  Spend time – as long as it takes, with God, asking

“Lord, what do I need from you to be ready to distribute your love and light to others in my circle of influence?”

For example, do you have God’s word filling your heart so you can see the world from His perspective? What thoughts, impressions, noticings become impressions upon your heart when you are praying?

“You cannot give out of an empty cup”, so the saying goes.  In order to distribute light and love, your soul needs to be filled, not angry, empty nor needy.  Take care of what you need from God first.

Consider those six feet away from you

What kinds of influence do you have with your family?  Make a list: spouse, significant other, children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, parents.  What do they need and what can you give them?  Ask God to help you become aware of how you need to reach out. You are not there to fix anything, only to show love and care.  Consider the difference between fixing and loving.

In another example, I realized my younger 62-year-old brother, who lives alone, needed face to face contact.  He has health issues and zoom calls were not enough.  We now have weekly face to face visits, with social distancing, to talk about our past week, remembrances from our growing up years, and any health-related issues he needs to discuss.  What a difference our visits have made in his outlook and my worry about him.  Freedom for sure!

Now look down the road or across the hall from you

This may be a harder circle of influence for you to determine how to bridge.  What neighbors do you know?  How can you share love and light with them?  And if you don’t know their names, what baby steps can you begin to take?

An example of sharing with others in your circle of influence includes sharing first-person stories. A  friend of mine shared an incident of racial discrimination with her older parents.  As white older parents, they couldn’t imagine how a young black mother could be questioned by police when crossing her own yard, on the way to the neighbor’s to get help for her own young son who was dying.   Challenging incident to consider? Yes.  Important in the beginning of a change of perspective?  Absolutely.

Circles of Influence continue to ripple out

Depending on your own interests and even age level, your circles of influence will continue to ripple out into God’s world, like ripples on a pond when a rock is thrown in.  Social media, your work, your organizations, your church, your community. Make your own list and ask God His intentions for you.

One of my circles includes my facebook friends.  I have been touching base with both my black and white friends, past and present, in order to find out how I can be praying for them during such trying times.  It’s a small thing yet God can multiple kindnesses and prayers as it is He who provides light to shine on dark times.  Who does God bring to mind that you can be praying for and with?

Questions for your consideration

What is God’s responsibility and what is He asking you to do?

Who and what are within your circles of influence – your domain?

What joy and laughter can you also bring as you distribute love and light?

 

May I pray for you?

Lord Jesus,

You tell us that your wrap-around presence always protects us. You alone are our safe place. You are our Savior, our hero, our life-giving strength. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear where we can join you. As we reach out to distribute Your light and love in our circles of influence.Thank you that lead us down the right paths and we can trust in You.

In Your name, we pray

Amen

Hit reply and let me know how I can be praying for you.  My hope for you is that you have seen, felt and realized how prayer makes a difference in your life and the lives of others. He waits for you to reach out.

Nancy Booth wants to create safe spaces for you, helping you find ways to have two-way conversations with God.  She loves encouraging you to look for ways He is at work. Nancy is a spiritual director and writer.  She would love to accompany you on your journey of discovery to hear and see more of the God who delights in you.  Peace, hope and freedom could be yours Contact her today..


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