Posted by: deerharas | September 30, 2007

Influence, Imitation, Impact (Yes, alliteration is my favorite rhetorical device.)

Growing up, I always looked up to the “big girls.”  With no big sister of my own to emulate, I was constantly aware of the older girls around me.  There were neighborhood friends, older girls at church, babysitters, cousins and older sisters of my friends.  As a young girl and then as a teenager, these girls all had incredible potential to influence me in terms of clothing choices, musical tastes, decisions, etc.  What’s funny is that I’m pretty sure I haven’t outgrown this potential to be influenced.  Take my “currently listening” for example.  I have avoided the Sufjan Stevens bandwagon for a few years now, dismissing him as too trendy (with the small exception of getting his Christmas album this past year for his version of O Come, O Come Emmanuel).  However, this past week after reading a blog by an artist I particularly admire, and noticing that in her currently listening slot sat an SS album, I totally gave in and bought Illinois the next day.  And, as is usually the case when imitating those I most admire, I have not been disappointed.  Love Casimir Pulaski Day.


A couple weeks ago a resident in my building approached me in the laundry room to introduce herself to me.  She sat behind me the night before at a campus ministry meeting, and she just wanted to say “hi.”  She also mentioned how much she appreciated the song I played at our first building meeting at the beginning of this semester.  (On a side note – I’m a complete sucker for lyrics.  If I’m ever speaking at anything and there’s a song that fits the situation, you can be sure I’ll play it.  I played “Faith My Eyes” for all my sweet incoming freshman girls this year.  “Keep ‘em coming, these lines on the road.  And keep me responsible, be it a light or heavy load.  Keep me guessing with these blessings in disguise, and I’ll walk with grace my feet and faith my eyes.”)  She told me that she downloaded the song and now listens to it every day. 


I suppose I’ve thought a lot more about the influence others have on me rather than the influence that I have on others.  I’m not sure that anyone really realizes the ability they have at any given moment to impact others for good or bad.  I’m not even talking about laundry girl, really.  I realize that my influence on her is probably pretty insignificant.  In talking with her, however, I began to think about how in my role as a hall director, I am watched constantly.  There are 300+ girls in my building, many of whom I’ve never met yet know who I am.  I remember my two hall directors from my freshman year, and while I didn’t know them well enough to want to pattern my life after, I did take notice of them.  I noticed if they were friendly, if they were genuine. 


Most of the people I have looked up to, those I did want to pattern my life after, probably never knew the level of impact they had on me.  Kara Frazier wrote me a note at youth camp in high school that I still have to this day.  Her encouragement and sharing of scripture has had lasting significance.  Jennifer Mitroff’s investment in me one summer set the course of my college career.  Amy Brown’s wise words and modeling of a godly dating relationship planted desires and convictions within me that remain to this day.  John and Sarah Green’s passion for God’s word nurtured a similar love in my own life.  I doubt any of these people realize the impact their words and actions had on me.  They were simply being faithful to the lives that God had for them, and the natural outpouring of that was impact for the kingdom.


I want to be a person of influence.  I want to lead a life worthy of imitation.  I want to be able to say like Paul, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.”  I want to be a true disciple, and I want to be a disciple maker.  Not perfect, but persevering.  Learning.  To quote Emily Saliers, “If the world is night, shine my life like a light.”


So in the vein of light shining, I’ve decided to import my blog into Facebook.  Much like my hesitancy with Sufjan Stevens, Facebook blogging has seemed a little too pervasive.  I don’t think I’ve ever written anything that I’d be ashamed for someone to read, but my approach toward blogging in the past has been a little more private.  I figure if someone wanted to read it, they could follow the link from my Facebook rather than be alerted via mini feed every time I have a new epiphany.  However, I’ve been challenged and encouraged by random strangers’ blogs before, and I would hope that my writing might do the same for others.  So, hello new friends.  We’ll talk again soon.

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