Hi. I’m a blogger.
In case you don’t know what a blogger does, let me enlighten you on the subject. In a lot of cases, we are self-proclaimed writers who want to share our thoughts and feelings, and dare I say, talents with the world. And we put out information or posts on a regular basis for the nebulous populations of the Internet to read or not read and comment or not comment, share or not...well, you get the picture. Some people get paid to do this and can be quite influential. Others make money from ads or sponsored posts. There are lots of different kinds of blogs—food, travel, craft, DIY, parenting, photography—the list is endless.
My niche is mainly real-life moments told in story or essay form, often with a spiritual twist or devotion. My aim is to encourage others, maybe to inspire them, but to be truly authentic with the way I express myself. It is a creative outlet for me, a way to share boldly with everyone the things I might not share with the person sitting right next to me on an airplane.
Speaking of airplanes, I am heading to my first conference as a blogger. I have business cards and everything—I'm legit! I am actually on a plane flying over Arkansas, heading towards downtown Indianapolis where hundreds of women are gathering together to talk about how we can be influencers for Jesus in our various spheres. Now for me, being in a small room full of women is quite intimidating, but being in a conference-sized ball-room full is going to be slightly terrifying. Breathe deep, it will be OK.
The conference is called the Influence Conference. When I started blogging, a close friend of mine suggested I go and here I am, on my way. I didn’t know when I booked on that we would be living in Texas with my in-laws in the midst of one of the biggest changes ever, but I am grateful that my husband is supportive and graciously permitted me to me leave him with the kids for a three days of personal retreat and growth.
As I have been preparing for this conference, I had some great plans about promoting my blog on social media, really doing a push to get some excellent writing in front of your face, but with my new job (Starbucks), adjusting to life in Texas (hot), and starting our missionary partner development (overwhelming), it has taken a back seat to the emails and Skype calls, potty training and latte making. Not really a surprise there, but I am excited to have this time away to think and pray about this blog moving forward.
I have been thinking about MY influence in this big ol’ world and feeling like my impact is really very small, knee-sized in fact. I know that I impact my kids practically with every decision I make. I know that what I do and say affects my husband. Once I get outside those four Appel boys, I’m not sure how much of ME can influence anyone, BUT that is not the point. Increasing MY influence isn’t the goal here, and never should be. I want to point people to the One who saves, redeems, and restores life, and that is Jesus. He has had the most influence in my life and that is what I want people to see because only Jesus has the power to really change people’s lives.
Jesus was the most influential man that ever walked on this earth and he started with twelve close friends. And when they were sent out, they influenced the whole world for generations and millennia with the Good News of God's love and redemption. I think my greatest hope and fervent prayer is that Jesus can impact people through me, through my marriage, my kid’s lives, and my ministry, no matter how big or small the sphere.
What kind of influence do you have? How are you increasing the influence of Jesus in your own life and in the lives of others?