Influence Comes from Trusting God

My Story with My Unique Influence

Scripture Connection

2 Chronicles 14:1-15

At a very early age, my Hungarian grandmother repeatedly told me I was born to influence and lead others. She exhorted me to dream big. She loved God and wanted me to love him, too. I fell in love with the idea of God and was enthralled by her devotion to him, but it wasn’t until later that I fully understood.

On my seventh birthday, I decided it was time to dream big. My family didn’t have much compared to everyone else we knew. But I reasoned that if I was born to influence and lead, my ability to redirect the story of my life was within my control. I was on a mission, and there was no turning back. That was the start of a fifteen-year vision quest.

The day after college graduation, I returned home to unpack my bags from school, only to repack the appropriate items for my new career. Fully expecting that my big dreams were unfolding, I could not stop processing what was possible for me when I was entirely in control of my own destiny. But then my thoughts returned to my last forty-five days on campus.

my grandmother REPEATEDLY TOLD ME I WAS BORN TO INFLUENCE AND LEAD OTHERS. . . She loved God and wanted me to love him, too.

After four years of faithfully attending 7:30 a.m. Mass on campus, I slept in. Feeling guilty, I was compelled to go to church during the off hours. I imagined I could go in and talk with God about what was ahead for me—not seeking his permission but perhaps receiving a divine thumbs up regarding my big plans.

The church was empty, dark, and quiet. I felt painfully alone. 

I left the church after an hour and went to the campus bookstore. I purchased a Bible. It was an unexpected and uncomfortable transaction, because to me Bibles were just the book where you store all the family dates that you might have difficulty remembering later in life. Then, I walked to the library stacks and settled in for a long read. This practice consumed me during my last days forty-five days on campus.

Fully present again to my unpacking and packing task, I felt an unexpected rush of new emotions derailing my productivity and disrupting my focus on the future. I felt an urgent need to speak to my brother. So, I found him in the garage where he was searching for a pair of needle-nosed pliers.

My brother had had a radical encounter with Jesus, and I was confident that he might be the one person who would get what was going on inside me.

Standing at the door, I announced, “I have just now decided I don’t want to spend another day of my life without Jesus Christ in control. And I am not even sure what that means.” My brother rushed me to his car without hesitation, and we were off to his pastor’s house. He was abnormally giddy, and all he could say was, “Get ready, Sis. When you decide to follow Jesus and give him control, your life will be full of romance, thrills, and adventure.”

That day I met my Savior. He showed up to rewrite the story of my life.

As I surrendered all the blank pages of my future to him, he began to reveal the plans the Father had prepared for me. With the joy of salvation and the awakening of my first love fire, my greatest ambition immediately became his purpose, not mine.

In God alone I trust, and it is his influence that flows through me.

I canceled all my dreams that day. I made all the hard calls, and soon I was without a job, a place to live, and any idea of what would come next. My journey of faith had begun. I was on a mission to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles (Hebrews 12:1).

When I think of King Asa, I think of this kind of resolve, too. King Asa came to the throne with extraordinary resolve to lead the people in rejecting idols and worshiping the Lord. His influence, leadership, and trust in the one true God ushered in a season of flourishing. Under his early reign, Judah was transformed into a place of peace.

Asa used his influence to clean up Judah. His ambition was centered on purging whatever was evil in the sight of a holy God. Judah entered a peaceful decade as the kingdom experienced a transformation from the inside out.

Asa initiated a massive demolition rampage. He removed all foreign altars, smashed up sacred stones, and removed the Asherah poles erected for worshiping false gods. He was on a mission to govern based on truth and the practices of spiritual disciplines. He encouraged the people to seek the Lord, by reviewing and following the law of Moses. He did all he could to fortify the city. Because he focused on doing what was right in the eyes of God, the people experienced peace and prosperity. Within the walls of Judah, they thrived.

And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.
Ephesians 3:18, NLT

Because of Asa, Judah was ready for whatever battles might come their way, including the day Zerah the Ethiopian marched against them. Zerah’s massive army held no threat for Judah. Asa was grounded in the things of God and knew that no army could overcome them. He wholeheartedly trusted God, and God fought the war and received full credit for the outcomes.

In the early days of my salvation, my brother and I camped together in the Word. Like Asa, my brother cultivated my desire to stay centered on God’s will. And yes, the enemy declared war on numerous occasions. The battles arrived fast and unexpectedly. I learned how to claim victory as I watched God overcome all the temptations that could have easily destroyed me.

Over the past four decades of following Jesus, I have learned what it is to be consumed in the breadth, width, and depth of his love (Ephesians 3:18). I know the thrills of experiencing his holy presence and power every day. And finally, I know what adventures await when I say yes to God before I know what will be required. In God alone I trust, and it is his influence that flows through me.


Have you experienced a time when God redirected your life from your path to his path? Where were you headed before? And what changed?

How have you seen God work in your life when you have surrendered your future plans to him?


Perhaps you are in a season now when God is asking you to release control of your own life and surrender your plans to him. Consider whether you are ready to give God the control. While praying, maybe open your hands up to God and offer to him what he’s asking you to give.

Tami heim

is president and CEO of Christian Leadership Alliance and serves on many nonprofit boards. She and her husband lead mission teams to Haiti to love and disciple orphans.

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