I had a grand plan to blog all of the speaking engagements I did this year, in order. Well, although the Influence Conference falls somewhere in the middle, I must tell you about it today. Right this minute.
Influence is on my heart today. You see, God has given each of us many ways to express our thoughts — blogs, paint brushes, cameras, music and so many more creative tools. The world tells us to use those things to make money and to be popular. To climb the ladder of the American dream that has been laid before us. Now, money is not a bad thing. It can be a powerful blessing when used well for others. We are blessed to be a blessing to others. God has truly given us these gifts to mirror His glory. For His good purposes.
“What does that mean, exactly?” you ask.
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)
It’s that last part… so they will see your good deeds and praise HIM. Not us. We were created to be mirrors, bouncing the praise right back up to the One who truly deserves it. And there is no need to hide our light when it’s His light that is illuminating us. There is no need to hide period. (As an aside, this verse does not mean we should do all of our good deeds to be seen — I won’t veer off to explain that fully, but just had to note that!)
In our blogging and painting and photographing and music-making and wordsmith-ing, we are called to use our influence well so that the world will know the truth about where all of our goodness comes from. It’s not from us. We can’t possibly help or inspire people on our own in the same life-giving ways that only He can.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)
Influence means the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something. I don’t take that lightly. Having an effect on people’s lives and marriages is a huge responsibility. One I fall short of all the time, but He humbles me and helps me grow when I lose my footing. Which is always.
In speaking at the Influence Conference in September, I truly learned more in being there than I think I could ever give to others. Being in a room full of women who love God and are actively using their influence — no matter how big or seemingly small — for Him was truly awe-inspiring. You could feel the potential for greatness in that room. The kind of greatness that literally feeds the poor and comforts the weary. Not the kind that chases after blog comments and social rank. That’s the kind of influence I want in my life, friends. This is the kind of community that makes what matters happen.
A few Instagram snaps from the conference…
Three big things I learned from Influence:
1. You can have a business that makes what matters happen. You can have a business that literally feeds people, employs people who need it desperately and a business that takes the Good News to the nations. I met countless women who are doing just that. To name them all would take this entire blog post, but here is one to start with if you want some powerful inspiration. And another that I posted about on Instagram today : ) OK, one more! This one!
2. Your influence matters, no matter how small you may think it is. If you have “only” ten followers on social media, think about all of those people in one room with you. That’s a lot of people. And those people have hearts. And needs. You can do a lot with what seems like a little. Numbers don’t matter – your influence and quality of relationships matter.
3. Community changes things. I’ve known this for a couple years now in seeing the fruit of being a part of our church community. It’s not a matter of going to a church building often though; it’s truly about sharing your lives with others and living out the gospel. It’s about living the greatest commandment. I want to put this fact on a billboard: I cannot do as much on my own for God as I can in community with others who love Him and are seeking Him too. Influence grew that kind of community for me and I couldn’t be more grateful. I don’t just have new friends. This is family. Sisters connected by the one thing that matters. And friends, don’t for ONE second thing to yourself, “yeah but I am not worthy of that.” Or, “I don’t know how to be a friend like that.” I think those same thoughts all. the. time. and God has been showing me that they are not true. You are capable and worthy and you can have that community in your life. No matter what. I am praying for you right now if you are in that boat of feeling like you can’t. Ask. Seek. Knock.
One of my favorite parts of the Bible ever, and the words I’ve been mulling in my heart all year, words that constantly challenge and encourage me to give more of myself to others:
The Fellowship of the Believers
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47 NIV)
Community matters. Community changes things. Community requires your involvement and yet it gives back 100 fold. Community literally multiplies love and life.
Thank you to the Influence community and to the women who created it – Jessi, Hayley, Ashley and so many more — for taking a leap of faith in inviting me to be a part of this conference and this group of beautiful souls. Thank you to so many dear friends and new friends I met there. Your genuine hugs and encouragement filled my soul to the brim. I had no idea what to expect at Influence and God changed my heart completely in those 48 hours. I can’t wait for next year!
Friends, use your influence today. Whether you have 5 followers or 5000. Whether you think anyone is listening or not. You matter. Your art matters. Your life matters. You never know how you might change someone’s life for the better!
P.S. Amazing timing! I just saw that they released the audio recordings from Influence as I was typing this. You can get mine right here!
Thank you so much for sharing, Lara. I needed this today. <3
YES YES YES! You LIVE this post Lara and its so inspiring to watch. Sending big hugs down to the south for you and Gracie 🙂
This is good stuff, girl! Very encouraging for those of us who wonder if what we are doing helps anyone at all. Your post reminds me of Marianne Williamson’s famous quote about us sharing our light because it does make a difference and gives others permission to live.
I’ve been pouring over plans (really big ones!) for this ministry God has called me to and I keep wondering how I am going to do this. But God…He reminds me that all that I have and am belongs to Him and that He’s got all of it. This truth, if we let it, can be the freedom/permission we seek to go forward from where we are with what we have as is.
Thanks for this post, my friend. May you always be available for God to use and may you be comforted in knowing that He loves and can use you right where you are.
This was exactly what I needed today. Some days I just want to “give up” on my blogging and writing. I worry no one is reading or getting any messages from it. But then I popped on here and remembered that whether 1 person reads or 100 people read it, it’s helping someone somewhere be true to themselves. Thanks for this gentle reminder 🙂
Lara – so fun to not only see my face in your college up there (bottom left!) but to also remember how amazing Influence Conference was. It’s fun to read from your perspective. Please know you are and were such a blessing and be encouraged that the Lord is using you in big ways. Praying you have a week filled with peace and joy straight from the Lord. xoxoxo
oops, *collage (not college) 🙂
I love this so much. As they say in our neck of the woods- Circles are better than rows. Connecting with people matters. Thank you for sharing such challenging words.
Thank you for sharing this today. I love that you said this:
If you have “only” ten followers on social media, think about all of those people in one room with you. That’s a lot of people. And those people have hearts. And needs. You can do a lot with what seems like a little. Numbers don’t matter – your influence and quality of relationships matter.”
I have a lot of friends who blog and I often hear them say, “well I’m going to do this to get more followers” and I always try to remind them of how wonderful they are and not to have a NEED to have followers but a need to LEAD! I love that you share to focus on leading, and influencing, and loving with all your heart. Because then naturally people are attracted to you and the recognition will come. :o)
Well said ;o) xo
It was a JOY to hear you speak at Influence this past year. I went into the conference with a brand new blog and not feeling like I had any “real reason” to be there. God completely wrecked my heart that weekend and reminded me that ALL I NEED IS JESUS. He has me right where I am for a reason. even if that reason is to learn to trust and abide in Him.
Thanks for the reminder to use my influence–no matter how big or small!
Lara, I’m so grateful to have stumbled upon your blog when I did – you always share great words of wisdom and encouragement that I find motivating. I also needed this reminder that it is all about Him, always! When we focus on God, He places us right where we need to be and with the people we can touch and be touched by.
Lara, of course you are the most gracious lady. So completely grateful for you. Go Lara, Go! I know God is going to use you in ways that will be beyond what you ever hoped or expected. 🙂 Ha! What a crazy ride this life is. xoxo.
I feel blessed to have heard you speak at Influence. And it’s so interesting that I was just pondering if I should stop blogging because I feel like no one is reading (commenting) on anything I post.
Keep going! I am cheering you on! : )
Thank you so much for sharing this incredible post! I love how this applies to every single person and we all have such a responsibility to use our gifts and talents to glorify God and draw others to Him.
I’ve shared your blog with so many friends who are now following you. Thank you for being such an amazing leader and inspiration to so many!
So, I just downloaded this and started listening. You refer to a workbook? Is that something you have available somewhere?
The workbook was for attendees only, but the PowerSheets in my shop are much more comprehensive! : ) https://laracaseyshop.com/products/making-things-happen-sheet-set
Yes!!! I was reminded of this last night reading 1 Chron 16:8 “..make known His deeds among the people.” And thinking of this platform that God has given me to reach others and have an INFLUENCE! To share and show God’s love! Thank you for posting this Lara and for being such an encouragement to remind me of the opportunity I have to influence others.
It was SO lovely to meet you at Influence.
Needed this. Thank you <3 <3