The Challenges of Navigating Influence

I miss writing in my blog so much. I know that people aren’t reading long articles like they used to, which is one of the reasons why I opted to do more “micro-blogging” on my Instagram and Facebook accounts. However, I often feel constrained by the amount of words I can use on those formats. There’s also something dangerously addicting about these online platforms, because I start to pay a lot of attention to the number of likes, shares, and responses from people who are following me. I get a kind of high when I know that what I share is well-received and appreciated, and I find this feeling of excitement spiritually terrifying.

Because it is easy to get sucked into the vortex of seeking significance from others, I have to be very mindful of my motivations for using these platforms. I have to treat this privilege of influence as a stewardship that I’m accountable to the Lord for. Otherwise, it starts to become about me and what people think about what I write rather than genuinely using these mediums to connect people to the Lord. Although my intentions are to make Christ known through the thoughts, principles, and ideas I post about, and to keep putting out positive messages that celebrate marriage, parenting, and family as God designed these to be, there’s that continual struggle within to fight off self-centered, self-seeking desires.

What’s so tricky about using social media for the Lord is that there’s an amount of fame that becomes attached to the person who is creating posts and content. While I am nowhere near the popularity of better-known bloggers, vloggers, and influencers, I have to do a heart-check every single day.

Honestly, it’s exhausting. A part of me never wants it to be about me. And that carnal side does. During conversations with Edric about how to navigate this space with wisdom, I mentioned to him that there are times when I want to stop altogether. I want to leave the online space and return to obscurity. I’m not saying this because I’m so popular that I can’t deal with the stress of fame. (I think that’s a whole different level of stewardship which God elects for certain persons to have, and may He give them the grace to steward this well.) What I am saying is that it can be wearying, spiritually and emotionally.

The only way to survive and remain impactful for the Lord is to remember that everything I have, and everything that I am is by his grace. It’s also necessary to be accountable to others. I am surrounded by people in my life who can and will tell me to my face if I am on the wrong trajectory, if I am not listening to the Holy Spirit by posting or sharing content that is insensitive to others, inappropriate, or self-glorifying.

My husband is one of them. I remember a time when I asked him if I could show a photo of myself with puckered lips, to highlight a lippie that someone gave to me, and he cautioned me against doing so. He advised against posting anything that projected me as sensual, sexy, or sexual. I wholeheartedly agreed with the sensual, sexy, and sexual, but for me, the puckered lips weren’t a big deal. (I mean, he’s totally okay with our kissing photos!) At first, I thought it was a little extreme, but since I felt reactive inside I knew that God was using him to help me create boundaries when it comes to the online space.

“Others may, but I cannot.” This is a standard I’ve had to abide by. In 1 Corinthians 10:23 it reads, “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.”

I am not judging people who show off their bodies in bikinis or those who pose half-naked. It is a personal conviction of mine not to use platforms like Instagram or Facebook to promote myself in this manner, not because I am a legalist, but because I want to share content that ministers to people, that glorifies God.

Whatever you do, do all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

This is what Paul encouraged the believers to do. Everything must submit to the right purpose — glorify God. When the purpose is clear, the priorities, principles, and pursuits follow accordingly.

Very recently, during a conference I attended called Intentional Discipleship Conference or IDC, speaker, writer, and apologist, Ravi Zacharias stated, “The devastation of popularity is that we become less than what God made us to become.” He also added, “The means we use to talk about truth in the world today must be in keeping with the message of Christ. Christ’s image is not a manufactured image. What we are in Christ on the inside should be what we are on the outside.”

It’s so easy to sink by small degrees as Warren Wiersbe noted. When we lose sight of the right purpose, why God created us, why he gave us the resources and opportunities he has, we start to compromise in order to gain followers (popularity) instead of making people followers of Christ by our means and message. As a follower of Christ, there’s a stewardship involved. I ought to live like I am HIS follower in every sphere of my life — at home, in public, offline, and online.

At the same time, I have to be relevant, relatable, and authentic to connect with the hearts of people, so the challenge is real!

For anyone in this online space with a platform, this stewardship of influence is something that must be navigated with the ores of humility and wisdom, as well as frequent revisitation of motivation and purpose, accountability to those who speak truth, and daily intimacy with the Lord.

And, to all those who send me messages of encouragement, who write me to seek out answers to difficult questions, who look to me for help to process trying circumstances, I want to thank you for reaching out to me. Your messages remind me that it’s possible to make a positive difference in the online world. However, I want you to know that whatever it is that you see in me or my family that is worthy of attention or acknowledgement, or whatever wisdom you hope to receive, it’s ALL because of Christ and it’s ALL from him. He deserves all the glory for anything good that you attribute to me, and to my family!

 

 

 

18 thoughts on “The Challenges of Navigating Influence

  1. I miss reading your long posts! I am always encouraged by your writing. I am reminded to be more selfless, to my husband and to my kids. When you write about your struggles, I feel that I am not alone. Please continue, because the online world needs more stories of struggles and triumphs. I am tired of always seeing posts about vacations and expensive purchases. We need to post more about real life, because that’s what I want my daughters to see. Imperfect pictures, not carefully curated items. Imperfect women who can be happy and strong. We need imperfect role models with good morals, and not the Kardashians and the ironed and Photoshopped images that every celebrity likes to post.

  2. Hi Ms. Joy! I missed reading your blog posts too. I love the IG and FB updates, but there’s just something special with the depth of wisdom shared about the Lord in posts like these. I really appreciate that you posted about this topic too. It’s seldom talked about, but affects all influencers very much.

  3. Thank you, Joy for the beautiful message. May our Dear God, bless you more and your family and expand your borders for the glory of His kingdom.

  4. I totally totally agree with Jen and Sophia, don’t stop… been blessed also. Unless God clearly leads you to do otherwise.

  5. In chorus, we agree that your long blogging is helpful. At the end part of this write-up, (and i apologze for this unsolicited advice)- when people ask you for advice with their dilemmas, after sharing your wise thoughts and attributing it all for God’s glory, after these.. it will be fitting to challenge and teach these people to search the wisdom themselves in the BIBLE. This way, you will not create a culture of dependence. And this will be helpful for your daily heartcheck. Because everytime you teach and tell a person to search for biblical guidance themselves, you may lose that potential patronage, a safeguard to fame. You will not want people to always return to your blog for “milk”, but to God’s word for “solid food”, because 1,000words in a blog is several chapters in the book of Proverbs. God bless, Ms Joy!

  6. Awww I missed this!!!! You should continue to post here more often!!! I don’t like social media that much and I think resorting to blogging can be a good idea if you like sharing your thoughts! Anyway I hope you have wonderful days to come and God Bless! ♥️

  7. You’re an inspiration, Ms. Joy! I’m a newlywed and from a different Christian denomination, but your posts still resonate with me as a fellow child of God. Even before getting married, I treated your posts as part of “marriage prep” because you write honestly about your trials and triumphs, all for God’s glory! So keep writing and blessing others through your gift of words. 🙂

  8. Ms. Joy, thank you for this, nakarelate ako, though i’m not famous as you, but I’m doing blog about the Lord’s working in my life.
    I have in my heart the same motives as you, but even if it is to share God’s work, goodness, faithfulness… nattwist pa din ni enemy yung feeling, some thoughts can linger behind my mind and it is distracting.
    I’m really encouraged with this knowing that there’s someone experiencing the same feeling like mine.

  9. I can absolutely relate with you in more ways than you know though I’m not a famous blogger. It is a relief to know there are a lot who also experience the same thing. Thanks for sharing your reflection and may God always guide you with His Wisdom.

  10. “Others may, I cannot.” The Lord is very personal and there is a higher calling that comes with what the Lord has blessed you with. 🙂 so blessed by what you shared. Often, the Lord asks us to die to self and surrender seemingly innocent pursuits or interests. GD Watson puts it best…

    “Settle it forever, then, that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, and that He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue, or chaining your hand, or closing your eyes, in ways that He does not seem to use with others. Now when you are so possessed with the loving God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of Heaven.”

  11. Beautiful reflections! I miss this a lot! In fact, I always check here if you have a new post ☺️ I have been a follower for a few years now. Your sharings helps me a lot especially now that I am married and establishing a family (we’ll celebrate our first anniv next month, oh one of our Ninangs is your amazing mom-in-law 😍), so can’t wait for the next one! God bless you and your family a hundredfold! 😘🙏

  12. You write so well. It’s nice to see you blogging again. Blogs are a way to record your life at that certain point in time. Even as years go on, you can always go back and see what you’ve written, and experience again that moment. As always, you are insightful, humble and positive. Keep it up!

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