WHAT BURDENS YOU?
Recently, I presented this question to a group of young women. The girls had inquired, “how do you know your purpose?” I responded, “what burdens you?” What issue or concern pushes you to take action? What problem calls to you and drives you to do something more, to step out and make a difference? What has been placed on your heart?
What Burdens Me
I shared with the group what burdens me – young girls lacking confidence and self-esteem. Young women who for whatever reason do not realize their value, and we all have value. We all have a purpose. We were created for a purpose. How we live and act reflects on how we perceive ourselves. It’s actually much deeper than I wish to go into at this time but let’s get real. We can either choose to believe what society imposes and inflicts on us as to who we should be, or we can choose to trust God and His word.
“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.” Jeremiah 17:7 (NLT)
My confidence is in the Lord. I have God-confidence. I pray your hope and your confidence is placed in the Lord as well. His words and promises should impact our lives. We should seek Him and base our beliefs about ourselves on His word and not the word of those around us.
There are many influencers surrounding us with messages of who or what we need in order to be popular or successful. Messages found on our phones, iPads, computers, televisions, or magazines (I think you still read magazines). Pictures and words saturating our minds of what we need to be or do to find happiness and contentment, and this is far from the truth.
Based on a True Story
I’m not saying all influencers have an agenda or hidden motives. But, I am urging you to look into a person (group or community) before allowing them access to your thoughts. Ask yourself, what are their beliefs? Are they credible? Who influences them? What are their qualifications? One thing I know for sure is that with social media and the internet, we can create or be whoever we wish to be…we just need an account, photos, and lots of filtering techniques to create our story.
Occasionally I’ll run across a blog or social media account, and I’d like to add the tagline “based on a true story.” We all have a story to tell, but it’s important to tell the true story when sharing. Let’s build trust, not just followers. You may be following someone you think you know but how well can you really know the person?
Let’s Not Dilute Our StoryWhether you are the influencer or the follower, let’s not dilute the truth. Let’s not dilute our story. Click To Tweet
“But because God was so gracious, so very generous, here I am. And I’m not about to let his grace go to waste. Haven’t I worked hard trying to do more than any of the others? Even then, my work didn’t amount to all that much. It was God giving me the work to do, God giving me the energy to do it. So whether you heard it from me or from those others, it’s all the same: We spoke God’s truth and you entrusted your lives.” 1 Corinthians 15:10-11 (MSG)
When we speak God’s truth, we are a positive influence. To influence is the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself. These are some rather powerful words. Influencers can impact our character, development, and behavior.
Take a moment to reflect on who you are allowing to influence you? Who’s making an impact on your character development or behavior? If you’re not feeling good about yourself, you may want to change your group of friends or influencers. Don’t spend time with anyone who makes you question who you are or your value.
“I shall come again for I like myself when I am with you.” Unknown
This quote was shared by a Sister from Barry University. I was a graduate student and the impact of these words have stayed with me for many years. I use this quote to assess my circumstances. If I’m surrounding myself with people who affirm and believe in me, I will enjoy myself when I am around them. If I leave the company of friends and I doubt myself or I am hesitant to be the real Robin, I need to reconsider the time I spend with them or why I fill my time with them.
As we spend time with influencers, we may start to make comparisons. This type of judgment can damage our self-image in an instant. It doesn’t take long for thoughts to develop and you begin to believe you are less than or not good enough.
Many influencers also known as MEfluencers have a huge impact on young adults. The impact is so astounding that many young adults (also known as followers) follow the influencers and believe that if they dress, speak or act like the influencer, their value and self-worth will improve. Unfortunately, this perception is far from the truth.
When we begin to emulate an influencer in hopes of becoming popular or gaining notoriety, we are no longer living out our purpose. When we alter our life based on someone else’s life, we are no longer true to ourselves. We are diluting our story. What we tend to forget is the person we are following could possibly be altering or filtering their life as much as we are beginning to alter our life!
It’s much like a performance. The stage is set, props are used, and filters manipulate the picture to create what seems like the perfect life. The moment the photo is snapped, the influencer steps back into the real world just like you and me. When we admire the photos and the life of the influencer, we must remember this is all done with the sole purpose of creating a following because followers are big money. The more followers, the more campaigns, and advertisers are willing to pay for their sponsorship of a product. And, guess who is buying the products? You are in hopes of becoming the person you are following. Get the picture? (pun was intended).
In some instances, I can guess who a blogger is following based on their writing style, their IG theme, or their language. Yes, we are that readable when we are not our authentic selves. There’s a lot of talk about authenticity but just how authentic are we being when we begin to change into someone just because we believe we will be liked or popular if we dress or act like A, B, or C?
What burdens me? Seeing amazing young women believe they are not enough. So, before you change who you are, I encourage you to take a moment and celebrate your gifts and your uniqueness. We are all created with individual gifts and distinct qualities. Before deciding you’re not enough, take time to reflect on your specialness. I believe you’ll be surprised at just how much you have to offer and, when you are authentic, you build genuine relationships. It really is true; the truth sets us free. Let’s celebrate our individuality and shine as we were created to shine!
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14