The Life Shaper You Can Become

by Andy Wood on February 7, 2011

in Enlarging Your Capacity, Leadership, Life Currency, LV Cycle

In the previous post, we explored the idea of Life Shapers – the people who help make you more than you naturally would be in specific areas.  Some people influence you to be stronger, wiser, funnier or more committed to excellence.  Others may influence you to be fearful, suspicious, negative, or angry – all by the ways they interact with you.

This may explain why you’re drawn to the friends you have.  Maybe you like them, or maybe you like the person you are when you’re with them.

It may also suggest some people you need to avoid.  What your Mama (and the Bible) told you about bad company rings true in many cases.  But I’m not just talking about party animals or thieves.  If they constantly leave you feeling shamed, rejected, angry or afraid, maybe it’s time to choose a new set of influences.

Quoting from the last post…

You are who you are largely because of the people who believe in you, have you in their hearts, and expect the best (or worst) from you.  This may be a good time to say “thank you” to the ones who are building you up, and “good-bye” to the ones who tear you down.

And for those who still answer when you call or read what you write, maybe it’s time to wise up – and rise up – to the life-shaper you can be.

Bringing Out the Best in Others

Do you realize the potential you have to be a life shaper?  You are just as much a potential influence on others as they are on you.  And while your nonverbal communication is still much stronger, there are some intentional things you can do to bring out the best in others.

1.  See the best in them that they may not see in themselves.

In a song written to his wife, Josh Rosenthal (different Rosenthal, same effect) expresses it beautifully:

I’ve done some things, they don’t make me proud.

But you don’t keep score when I let you down.

If I were you, I’d give up on me,

But you say who I am is not who I will be…

Everybody has untapped potential, and sometimes the only way the world will ever see it is if somebody (like you) mines it for them.  Call them out.  Declare what you see in others that perhaps nobody else sees.  Potential becomes reality only when somebody acts on the vision they see.

2.  Respond to them as if they are already the person they are becoming.

If you want them to be wise, ask them for wisdom.  If you want them to live with expectancy paint them a clear picture of what you are hopeful about in them.  If you want them to be self-confident, respond to them as if they already are self-confident.

I’ve always been intrigued that before Jesus fed the 5,000 he said to the disciples, “You give them something to eat.”  What if He was dead serious?  What if He fully expected that they were capable of that?

3.  Give them time to become on the outside what you see on the inside.

It’s the first quality of first-degree love:  “Love is patient.”  Remember, you aren’t the one actually doing the changing – God is.  So give God time to do His work.

Somebody, somewhere, has been extraordinarily patient with you in helping you become the person you are.  Want to pay them back?  Then pay them forward by being patient with a late bloomer or two in your own world.

4.  Be amazing in the grace you offer them.

Most people, believe it or not, don’t have to have their nose rubbed in their failures.  They are already painfully aware of their shortcomings.  What they aren’t used to is the feeling that someone other than God can treat them as if they were already forgiven.  Keep trust and confidences and promises.  Don’t keep score.

5.  Confess to them and to others what you see them becoming.

Remember the story of Gideon? He was cowering in the wine press the angel greeted him by saying, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor” (Judges 6:12).  And so it began…

Your words have enormous power to shape someone you love.  Whether you praise or complain, the words you use with feeling establish the direction of someone else’s life.

6.  Pray for them.

Go to the secret places of the Spirit, and, with the authority of Jesus Christ, call on God to form them into His work of art.  “Simon, Simon,” Jesus said, “Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32, NIV).  Wonder why He said that?

7.  Love them.

Love still has transforming power, and you know it.  But what is called for here is a unique expression of love.  I’m talking about a love that leads, not a love that reacts or even responds.  This isn’t a love that’s impressed by somebody’s performance.  It’s an unconditional love that expresses kindness and grace, faith and hope, whether the beloved performs well or not.  Your acceptance of others – the good, the bad, and the ugly – forms the foundation for their desire to change.  No one proved that more than Jesus… with you, I might add.  So go ahead – love them as if they’re the person who is completely worthy of that love.  Lo and behold, they will become that very person.

Have you ever taken stock of what your influence is producing in the lives of people around you?  Are you shaping people into sour, negative complainers, or into hopeful, passionate dreamers?  Are you a magnet for discord or a force for peace?

You get to decide, you know.  And while the people in your world do have brains and wills of their own, more times than not, they’ll be following your lead.

Rise to the challenge.  Be a life shaper.  And give thanks for those who have helped to positively shape you.

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