Designed to be a Powerful Influence

Looking back now, I don’t know how this young woman had the nerve to approach me, because back in the day, I was one intimidating fierce woman. Her voice was shaking as she timidly ventured an attempt at confronting my cold and businesslike demeanor, “You just don’t seem to care about people . . . You seem so hard and matter of fact. I mean, for instance . . . I’ve never even seen you cry . . .”

I was in my mid-twenties. My husband was the senior pastor of a growing church in the Midwest and we were BUSY. I loved ministry and I thought I loved people. I mean, isn’t that what “ministry” is all about: loving God and loving others? But in the midst of all my good “kingdom work” I was stopped short when I was confronted by this staff member’s wife.

Conflicts with people had become a regular part of my life, and this was one of the first conversations that caused me to pause and consider that I might need to evaluate my treatment of others.

Can you relate at all?

As women, we’ve been designed as life-givers and created to influence others—to be “iron-sharpening-iron” friends, mentors, wives, moms, and coworkers. We are designed as influencers! How’s that working out for you?

Are you impacting and influencing those around you?

The Hebrew word for our design is translated into the wimpy sounding English word: Helper. I don’t know about you, but when I first read that word as a teen, my heart sank. “A helper . . . that’s all I am to God, that’s my only contribution to society, and my only hope for changing the world is through being a . . . (sigh) ‘helper’?!”

“Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Genesis 3:18).

God formed the woman and designed her as a helper, and although Eve was formed as the completion to man, whether you are married or single, as a woman you are designed as a “helper.”

But ours is not a wimpy mission, ladies, in fact, this is the same word God used in reference to Himself as a “helper” to His people (Exodus 18:4; Deuteronomy 33:7)!

The helper activity includes: influencing and empowering others, inviting others to experience God’s activity, partnering with others, caring for and nurturing others in order for them to flourish, training and equipping others for service, and assisting others in the advancement of a common goal. (Do you notice how “others-focused” this design is?)

For strong women, we can get tripped up when we see the “helper” function as something less than what God intends. We also can miss out on fulfilling that assignment if we are operating as a destructive force rather than as an encouraging inspiration.

That was my problem. I had a vision to see others live for God, I loved His Word, I loved His truth . . . I even loved Him—but I was not truly loving others. I said I loved God, but when it came to how I treated those God had called me to serve, I was a stinker!

I let my drive for accomplishing my “agenda” (spiritually impacting others), blind me to the destructive mode I was operating in as a means to getting that agenda accomplished. I was failing at my life’s purpose.

Tomorrow, I’ll share with you my thoughts on: How to Fail as a Woman of Influence, and hope that viewing the steps to failure will shed some light on how to succeed in your calling! If you’re interested in this topic, I hope you’ll consider joining us at the “Woman of Influence” Conference this summer. See yesterday’s blog post or click here for the link to check out information on this event.

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  • Kathryn

    Thank you Kimberly for this post. I needed to read this today and have been convicted and realize repentence is needed as well as a big washing in God’s grace. May God bless you.

  • Julie Musil

    You know, I definitely think of this subject in a “before” and “after” sort of way. Perhaps I’ve always had an influence, but it wasn’t the kind of influence I wanted. Know what I mean? Before God got ahold of me and worked a radical change in me, I was negative and self-centered. I’m still battling those things “after” but now I’m steeped in God’s Word, looking to Him. This change in me is having an effect on those around me in a way that I never imagined. Now I’m encouraged because I know I can trust Him. One evening my son (16) and I were having a conversation about trusting God that blew me away. He had become the teacher, and I the student. Sometimes I’m the teacher and he’s the student. Anyway, people are watching me through a difficult time, and I recognize that it’s not “all about me.” It’s much, much bigger than that.

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Kathryn ~

    Thank you for your transparency and humility. I’m so grateful that God used this to speak to you. He is so good to provide gracious conviction. He delights in conforming us into His image, and oh, what a privilege that is!

    God bless you, friend ~

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Yes, Julie, I know exactly what you mean! Definitely relate to the “before” and “after!”

    I’m so thrilled to know that God has made a significant change in you and love that your 16 year-old is growing in his understanding of trusting God to such an extent that he’s able to serve as an encouragement to you!

    Praising the Lord that, as you walk through this difficult season, others can see that you are trusting a faithful Father who does not forsake His own! You have an incredible opportunity right now to glorify Him in ways you couldn’t if everything was easy.

    May you continue to glorify God and be used to influence others to trust Him!