Why You Should Be Followable

Kyle Smith

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Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash

It was a warm summer day and I had gone outside to mow the lawn. I was wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and my grubby ballcap. I started the lawnmower engine and began my first pass in the front yard.

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something that surprised and delighted me.

When I turned around, there was my 4-year old son. He had his toy lawnmower and was following about fifteen feet behind me--far enough to be safe, but close enough to watch what I was doing. He was even dressed like me, down to the ballcap. Little did I know he was watching me closely and copying my every move.

That story raises a powerful question: Who is you watching you? What is modeling their life after yours?

The Apostle Paul knew that others were watching and modeling his life. In the passage above, the believers at Thessalonica were following him. He was such a powerful example that they went on to impact the believers at Macedonia and Achaia.

Whether or not you realize it, people are following you.  The question is not whether you will be an example, but what kind of example you will be.

Given this reality, we must take responsibility for our lives. There are three circles of responsibility:

1. You are responsible to yourself. Life is a gift. Most people go through each day acting as if their lives are a burden. They act as if slogging through each day is a drudgery they must endure. There are problems in life, to be sure, and we all get depressed sometimes. But when you see life as a gift that you are given, you see problems in a whole new light. You also become much more grateful for each day.

2. You are responsible to others. Many people don't buy into this philosophy. They only look out for themselves and "take care of number one." But if you are a Christian, or even more generally, simply a mature person who understands what life is all about, you realize that you have a responsibility to others. You must leave the world better than you find it.

3. You are responsible to God. You are a steward of the life God has given you. You are not your own. You are not the ultimate authority in your life. God is. The question is: Do you recognize and act upon the fact that God is in charge of your life? Do you live with an awareness that your life is temporary, that it will end one day?

These realities can bring a new awareness of the brevity of life. We must live every day with an awareness of the immense responsibility we carry.

It all comes down to this: No matter how much you talk, your actions always speak louder than your words.

Can others look to you as an example? Are you "followable"?

My Challenge To You

Over the next 24 hours, think about a single question: What would happen if my every move was broadcast to the world? What would you do? How would you act? Would you proud of your actions? Would you want others to imitate them? Would you consider your actions to be a model for others? These kinds of questions can have a powerful impact on the way we think and behave. Because the truth is that people are watching both you and me. We are examples, even though we often don't realize that we are. Even when you think what you are doing doesn't matter, it really does.

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I write about writing, productivity, and creativity.

St. Louis, MO
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