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What sways you when making a decision? What is the barometer, and who tunes it?

Everything in our life influences us to the degree we allow it to. What is in our heart influences what is in our life. It’s the cause and effect process. Let’s get to the root. Places that we spend most of our time at, people we spend most of our time with, magazines and books we read, shows we watch, music we listen to – we open the doors of our heart and soul to all of these, either consciously or subconsciously. The heart, or the spiritual center for decision making combines emotions that different decisions evoke, with logic pushed down by our brain to achieve the ultimate conclusion. So how do we influence and who influences us?

Solomon was the wisest man on earth during his time. He asked for wisdom, instead of health, success, or riches, and because of that he got all of the above. Richest, most successful, his fame spread all over the world and people came to see who this great man is. God blessed him because Solomon did what was pleasing to the heart of God. And Solomon could see all of God’s work in his life. However, recall how Solomon ended his life? His many pagan wives swayed him away from the God he knew was real. At the end of his life, Solomon was worshiping all sorts of pagan Gods, and building them temples, and praising them with his wives. What a turnaround, wouldn’t you say?

Solomon lost track of his values, his wisdom and faith collapsed under the influence of his wives, who carried pagan gods in their hearts. Don’t take the literal approach and just say that men get influenced by women in a bad way. Influences can be good or bad. What I’m trying to illustrate is that we don’t always live how we know the word, because our true values shift in accordance with the world, and the things that surround us. It’s interesting that many of us know the word, can quote the Bible, can say that we believe, yet we don’t go to church, we don’t devote our life to serving God, and we don’t live out the word. Because we let all these “pagan” things influence us, knowing the word doesn’t change how we live – we acknowledge God’s existence but we don’t allow Him to influence our life and trust him to take control. What sways our decisions, what influences us is wealth, green paper in our hand, a fun party, a scholastic achievement, a successful position with the company, influential acquaintances, and simply having a good time, just to name a few. A lot of times our moral convictions and values get set aside because we can fit in much better and achieve much more without them, or by substituting them by what others tell us. “Live like this, do that, act this way, dress like me, talk like me, be me”, that’s what the world tells us. Look inside, if you can still find yourself there, in your heart, and ask, “is this me, or is this the influence of others that is living my life for me?” Taking off mask after mask, we would struggle to find our real self beneath, if it hasn’t vanished at all. Reclaim your identity, reclaim your heart. And think about how you influence the world around you. We should be influencing the world, not the other way around. Things you say, things you do, how you proclaim yourself to others, how your life reflects your values – it speaks to people around you. People will always strive to be like someone else, like someone they think is better, cooler, more successful. How about we focus on being good role models?

By Irene Manon