Finding the Sweet Spot of Influence
….The baby’s older sister found herself a vantage point a little way off and watched to see what would happen to him. Pharaoh’s daughter came down to the Nile to bathe; her maidens strolled on the bank. She saw the basket-boat floating in the reeds and sent her maid to get it. She opened it and saw the child—a baby crying! Her heart went out to him. She said, “This must be one of the Hebrew babies.”
Then his sister was before her: “Do you want me to go and get a nursing mother from the Hebrews so she can nurse the baby for you?”
Pharaoh’s daughter said, “Yes. Go.” The girl went and called the child’s mother.
~ Exodus 2:4-8 (Read all of Exodus 2 for the full story)
The world doesn’t need small people.
Big problems mean big possibilities; and big possibilities require people who can not only think outside of the box, but who realize that there actually isn’t a box.
The story of Moses’s beginning paints a dire situation. Moses’s parents and siblings were holding their breath and fighting to keep their baby alive. But what I love is that their fear did not lead them to despair and helplessness- but instead to the power of possibility.
The tension of the situation did not lead them to act immaturely or prematurely where futile efforts of control and over-reaction lead to destruction either. Instead, they partnered with faith and the power of God to influence and birth the beautiful miracle we get to read about today.
Moses’s sister, Miriam, although small- was great big on the inside! She acted from a space of influence. Not the space of “not enough” or “too much.”
As the African proverb puts it,
“If you think you’re too small to make a difference, you haven’t spent the night with a mosquito.”
The mosquito makes a difference in an annoying way, but the principle is the same.
One person can stop a great injustice. One person can be a voice for truth. One person’s kindness can save a life. Every person matters.
Satan will use our past, our failures, and our insecurities to stir up doubt within us. Our adversary whispers, “Has God really said…, why not just give up?.... Or, at best, just sit tight, stay small, don’t risk. No one’s going to blame you for playing it safe after all you’ve been through.”
But God says:
“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Our response to our circumstances is rooted and influenced by identity; God’s, ours, and seeing the true identity of others.
The story of baby Moses shows us that, timing is everything and a shored up identity seasons the responses we will have in life.
You see, Miriam picked just the right moment to speak up to the princess and influence her to keep her brother alive. While the Bible states that the princess took pity on Moses when she saw him, it says nothing about her initially wanting to keep the child and raise it as her own. Miriam used the moment when the princess was feeling compassion for the unknown baby to advocate for her brother’s life. Miriam, a complete stranger, asked the princess, out of the blue, if she should go ahead and fetch a Hebrew woman to nurse the child for the princess. The princess went from having simple compassion and pity to agreeing to adopt a forbidden child in the span of a couple of verses because of Miriam’s expert timing and idea. Had Miriam come forward too early, she could have been arrested (or worse) for approaching the princess; too late and the princess may have come up with another solution not involving the baby’s original family, as finding a wet-nurse of the same ethnicity was not a necessity. (Lindsey Heslop, “Not Your Place” – Lost in Translation)
Miriam, in this intense life-or-death situation believed that there was an opportunity to encounter God’s overcoming nature. She was not overcome by helplessness- or overly aggressive with her need to control the outcome. She was obedient. She moved when God said to move. She was willing and available to carry out this great act- even though she risked loosing her own life, or at the very least, witnessing the death of her baby brother.
It cost her a lot, yet she bravely responded in the sweet spot of influence.
The sweet spot of influence is a breath-taking, tightrope walk of faith and trust. The rope is slack and unnavigable when we operate in helplessness. We lose our balance and capsize when our need to control tightens the tension of the rope too much.
INFLUENCE, however, is that sweet spot on the rope where there’s just enough give and just enough tension. To move forward requires our full focus and attention. It requires work. It requires us to stand. Presence and resolve characterize our countenance. Trust and fierce dependance on God characterizes our faith. We’re not staying small in fear, and we’re not fighting to control the outcomes in this space.
It’s here that God Almighty fights for us.
“You will not have to fight this battle. Stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you.” 2 Chronicles 20:17
We’re in the wrong fights when we try to control and change people, and we’re losing the fight when we refuse to stand and be heard. We’re right where we need to be when we trust and position ourselves next to God with our faith. That’s where God loves to break through for us and use us for His Kingdom.
How might God be calling you to be BRAVE in a particular situation, despite the risks?
Do your thoughts about yourself help you or hurt you as it relates to this situation?
Do you tend to operate from a posture of helplessness or control when life gets tough?
Is there an area in your life that you have the opportunity to influence that you may not be fully utilizing?