Updated: Jan 24, 2019
I’m extra thankful this year.
I have many things for which to be thankful. I can say, unequivocally, that 2018 has been the most productive year of my life at almost every measurable level.
But, the gains I’ve seen in the area that matters most is what I’m thankful for the most. I've seen major gains in the realm of influence. Yep. Influence.
We all have it. We have it personally and professionally, even if we don't think so. But, this year God has provided me with an influential platform like I’ve never had and, in doing so, answered a prayer made way back on January 1.
My (foxy) wife and I attend a church that emphasizes fasting. I know, it’s a dirty word for many people – even dedicated Christians. Fasting?! You mean NOT eat ice cream every night and pick up my Bible instead? Why?! Trust me, fasting is incredible and the results in my own life speak for themselves. Four years ago, we fasted for the first time. We prayed fervently for a second child. We prayed for a boy. Within 18 months, we had him. That, after years of trying unsuccessfully.
This year, I prayed for something that is loosely defined. I prayed for more public influence. I didn’t ask for influence to make my name greater. I prayed for this so that I could better use the platform that God had given me to work wonders for His ultimate plan in my life. I still struggle with this. I struggle with the idea that I’m not doing it right, that I’m not living up to my made-up image of what a “real Christian” is supposed to be, say, and feel. Yet, God has honored my fasting prayers and made 2018 the most influential of all my 33+ years.
This weekend, I’ll attend the Suncoast Regional Emmy Awards gala in Orlando, Fla. It’s a night to celebrate the best and brightest in the world of television news. I’ve won three times before. This year, I’m nominated for three more awards. I don’t want to get caught up in the awards. They are just trophies. But, I do want to win because winning offers me another captive audience. It gives me a few minutes on a stage to remind people that joy lurks.
It lurks beyond headlines.
I want to win so I can say, years from now, that 2018 was a year when God answered my January prayers above and beyond what I ever hoped for or expected. It’s what He promises to do when He says He’ll give us “immeasurably more”:
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! (EPHESIANS 3:20-21 NIV)
Quite honestly, if I go 0-for-3 on Saturday night, God still will have answered that prayer for influence in a mighty way. But, if I do hear my name called, it will just give me one more highlight for me to point to when I share my story of God’s goodness in my life. The story is getting longer every month.