Not everything is in our power to control. And this is often a lesson we have to learn many times in our relationship with others. As much we might want them to change their ways, we cannot control the decisions they make. But this doesn’t leave us powerless to make a difference, as there’s still the power of our influence.
Parents have a reasonable amount of control over their kids in the early years – determining what they eat, where they go, what clothes they wear, and the like to varying degrees. But as the kids grow, there’s less direct control over their life. And this often becomes a point of much heartache and grief.
But loss of control is not a loss of influence. And parents can maintain a profound influence on the lives of their kids regardless of their age.
And this is true in other relationships as well.
For instance, we cannot control our wife. But we can help create an atmosphere in our home that has a positive influence on her. For example, we can speak words of life that empower her to shine in the fullness of her radiant beauty, as we also live by example and faithfully embody those core values we want to see expressed in her.
Of course, none of these things can make her change per se. It’s still her choice. But we can use our life to inspire the best in her as well.
And this holds with our coworkers, neighbors, and society at large. Whatever it looks like, even though we cannot control others, we’re not powerless to make a difference.
The power of influence is a more indirect approach to inspire change, but often more effective and lasting. And it allows us to continue focusing on the choices we can make even as we courageously seek to show up and make a difference in the lives of others.
In the end, while you cannot control others, learn to use the power of your influence to serve others in love all the same.