Transmitting Faith

Transmitting Faith

8 seconds. That’s all it takes. Recent research says that we will decide within 8 seconds of meeting someone whether we want to continue to engage with them or not based on what they are transmitting non-verbally. Researcher Albert Mehrabian, professor emeritus of psychology at UCLA and famous for the 7%-38%-55% rule on verbal and nonverbal cues, says body language is powerful and often discounted by most people. Nonverbal communication accounts for 55% of the information we transmit overall during interpersonal interactions. 38% is attributed to the tone of one’s voice, while only 7% is conveyed through our actual words. Knowing this can be a powerful tool in how we share our work and our faith.

Everything communicates.

As a young actor in school, I’d spend class after class staring at another actor doing an acting exercise to learn how to interpret what was really being communicated by the subtle nuances and facial expressions of the other actor. It wasn’t the words we were taught to pay attention to but what was really being conveyed through body language and the tone of the other actor’s voice. Great actors know that the communication and story told by the actor’s character choices are often more important than even the words written in the script. Actors must play each moment in a scene. It’s why live theater is so fun and compelling to not only act in but to also watch.

Former FBI agent and body expert Joe Navarro said when he interviews a suspect, “It really is looking at an individual and asking, ‘What are they transmitting?’ We communicate by the clothes and shoes we wear, the hairstyle we choose, the kinds of foods we eat or don’t eat, and even how we eat and with our quirky habits and personal routines.

Each part of our body talks.

When you pitch a project, conduct business, audition, or work on a production or artistic endeavor, your body language is being read. As Christians often working in mainstream places, we’re called to lead with our talent and skills and not just be good at what we do, but be excellent. How we conduct ourselves with grace, kindness, integrity, and respect for others shows. It’s watched and judged in 8 seconds. Our faith and what we believe is observed, and no words may ever be spoken. Yet people sense that we possess something different and special that they, too, want.

Walk the walk and don’t talk the talk.

Be the lamp of God’s light for others to see. Jesus said in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” In today’s instant, opinionated, and depressed world, you only have 8 seconds. Whether you’re in an office, on a production set, or just standing in line or waiting for something, how you react when the pressure is on, and the kind of body language you use is noticed. You are communicating God’s light. It only takes seconds, but it may make a difference in someone’s eternity.

When you walk out the door each day, say a prayer to transmit light.

Will 2024 Be A Year of Procrastination or Fortitude?

Will 2024 Be A Year of Procrastination or Fortitude?

I love writing, producing an award-winning program, or hosting a great event that nourishes souls. But it is often agonizing getting there. I know the destination, but the journey of getting there never stops being challenging. I have a beast inside me that occasionally rears its head, hissing that I’m not good enough, not worthy, and blowing flames of ensuing failure at me if I awaken it. This beast can wake me up in the middle of the night, prompting me to avoid the pain of attempting what God says I can do – “all things.” I end up in the pit of procrastination while watching others from the sidelines instead of doing the hard work to move forward.

Procrastination is a form of anxiety and fear. 

Judson Brewer, a psychiatrist, neuroscientist, and the author of “Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind,” said in a WSJ article, “Procrastination is a distraction. Anxiety triggers procrastination, especially for perfectionists, because we worry our solution to the problem won’t be good enough. Procrastination feels better than being anxious or trying to come up with a solution.”

No one wants to live in pain, so we stop moving forward to avoid failure and suffering. Procrastination holds us back. But it is a mindset that can be broken. God is a forward moving God who wants us to go forward and trust Him. Throughout the Bible, in story after story, God reminds us to make decisions on His Kingdom’s purposes and His will. We may not be good enough yet, but we can do “all things through Him who strengthens us” (Philippians 4:13). The issue is whether we are fully engaged and aligned with Him and His will, or are we just running to Him with our willful desires when fear sets in.

Our mind needs to be sound and calm when we are anxious so we don’t lose sight of the road in front of us. It’s a choice. When we only focus on the pain and not God’s promise to be with us through the struggles, we freeze and procrastinate. The squeaky wheel (our pain and fear) is heard, but the wheel isn’t broken. It’s still going around. Our job is to keep going forward; in time and with God’s guidance, we will prevail. The Bible tells us that we are to be “anxious for nothing” and to take our requests (not demands) to God (Philippians 4:6-7). He will empower us and find solutions to the squeaky wheel if we stay connected to His will, which may not turn out the way we planned. It’s a message I have had to be reminded of again and again and why my quiet time with God is essential.

Want to break through the fear and learn how to gain fortitude in 2024? 

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines fortitude as “strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger and bear pain or adversity with courage.” In the world we live in today, we need fortitude and the strength to face the oncoming cultural winds that often bring pain and suffering. We need to take on the “mind of Christ” living within us. This year focus on where God is taking you. We are to “walk by faith and not sight” (II Corinthians 5:7). Kingdom purpose must be at the forefront of all we do, both for our families and for our careers. This year will you watch from the sidelines or push forward?

God’s on the journey with you, so trust Him to be there. Let’s roll!

Out of the Cave and Back on the Winding Road That Leads Home

Out of the Cave and Back on the Winding Road That Leads Home

I love summer, but not so much when it gets outrageously hot. That’s why the cool Autumn mornings and evenings with its delightful fresh air is so welcome right now. Heat can make me grumpy, discouraged, and depressed. The hot months mean it’s cave time, and it’s easy for me to hide inside in the air conditioning and try not to let my thoughts and emotions take over. Like Elijah, who was running and hid in a cave (I Kings 19:3-18), I know there is only one way out. I must choose to walk out of my cave and move forward.

What causes our discouragement that can lead to depression?

Many different things can cause discouragement and depression. We often hear how health issues or chemical and food imbalances cause it. I found myself in a depressed state many years ago and couldn’t figure out why until I was diagnosed with a thyroid issue that was causing it. Sometimes depression is just the weather, but hiding can also be a choice we make when fear takes over.

What we focus on matters? When Elijah ran for the cave, he left his servant behind. Discouragement and depression make you want to isolate yourself, and that’s the biggest mistake we can make. Many people are still trying to get out of their cave from the isolation they went through during the pandemic. Some live in a cave because they spend too much time on social media comparing their life to others who seem to be living the high life. Sometimes we stay in our cave and hide because of the stigma of being labeled as a failure if we’ve been let go from a job, been caught in an unforeseen economic situation, or perhaps been caught in a challenging family issue. If we hide, maybe it will all just go away. In our “all about me and my influence and success” social media culture today, people back away and don’t want to be associated with someone deemed a loser. It might damage their reputation.

Is the solution spiritual?

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The Interview: Let Your Light Shine that They Might See Jesus

The Interview: Let Your Light Shine that They Might See Jesus

I am often interviewed on podcasts, TV shows, and radio about my work. Sometimes it is about Hollywood issues or production questions. Sometimes it may be about my passion to see Christians use media effectively to tell their stories or ways in which Christian professionals can stay aligned and engaged with God. But whenever I approach an interview, I try to remember that it’s not about me. It’s about engaging the listener. How can I share the wisdom and knowledge that God’s taught me so that those listening might be empowered, enlightened, and flourish? How can I share God’s heart so that His Kingdom purposes might be done? I want those listening to see God living in me. It’s about Him.

Here are a few tips I have learned in sharing the mission and vision of Influence Women and that of The Influence Lab. As others put a mic in front of you because of your creative work or passion, be ready and confident to not only share your artistic project or production but share God’s hope and love and how His life living within you makes all the difference.

  1. Research the Interviewer

Familiarize yourself with the interviewer’s audience, format, and style. What is the length of the interview? If it’s 15 minutes, make your answers short and to the point. If it’s 45 minutes, you will have more time to expound or go into detail. Most importantly, research their audience. What are their listeners focused on, and what will they find valuable from your work, insight, and comments? Your goal is to connect and unite the listener. (more…)

How Do Leaders Lead When Strikes, Lay Offs, or Disruptions Happen?

How Do Leaders Lead When Strikes, Lay Offs, or Disruptions Happen?

Strikes and layoffs are never planned. No one is exempt. The recent pandemic showed us how fast life can change. I live in the hills of Los Angeles, and our home was in jeopardy a few years ago when what was then the largest fire in LA history, the LaTuna Canyon fire, came up out of nowhere and raged one block from my home. Uncertainty due to disasters, health issues, and constant disruptions seem to have become everyday occurrences. The recent devastation in Maui, HI, is one recent unimaginable tragedy. As leaders, we constantly hold our breath, wondering what will be next. But disruptions force us to pause and reflect on how to lead and help others find God’s peace and restoration when chaos happens.

As we begin to reflect on what we are most thankful for, let’s look at those disruptive occurrences and look for the opportunities in them. Here are three leadership qualities I’ve found to be helpful to bring light and hope.

First, leaders need to be ready, and being ready means spiritually prepared.

Matthew 6:19, 20 tells us not to store up earthly treasures. So don’t pile up the unneeded.  This scripture speaks of physical things that can be eaten by moths or stolen, but what about fear, stress, and depressive thoughts? They can steal more from you than physical things. Remember to store up heavenly treasures. Eternal wealth and security start with a prepared soul and a relationship that is fortified with prayer and God’s Word. So hide it in your heart where it can’t be stolen. (more…)

The Physical Touch of God and Why Your Touch Matters

The Physical Touch of God and Why Your Touch Matters

“I just wanted someone to hug me.” This was the comment I had from one of our Influence Women members on a Zoom webinar as the pandemic was coming to an end. We had been discussing why relationships matter and why Influence Women is essential. She was single and, during the pandemic, had been left for weeks without much outside conversation or actual physical touch – a hug. “It was one of the most difficult times I have ever had to experience in her life,” she said.

Touch is essential to humans.

Many studies have been done on the effects of babies left and never touched or picked up, of people who were left untouched in nursing or care homes, or even for long periods on deserted islands. The result is often irreversible trauma emotionally, physically, and sadly even spiritually. God created us to be in relationships. Jesus touched the people He healed. Thomas required Jesus to show him his hands and feet after He had been resurrected. Jesus said to him, “… “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” John 20:27 (NIV). The reason God sent Jesus to our broken, sinful world was so that we could touch, see, and hear God physically through the flesh of Jesus. In today’s 24/7 access to information and emerging AI technology, physical touch is becoming more important than ever to knowing and experiencing real truth and love.

I’ve been blessed to be married for many years (more than I was ever single) to a loving husband who likes to touch things. I do too. He sometimes laughs at me when I shop because I touch things. But I have had to stop him from time to time when he talks to someone he doesn’t know because he, with his caring manner, will lightly touch their elbow or back when he stops to talk to them. People today don’t like to be touched because they aren’t touched anymore. It can unfortunately feel offensive instead of caring. My children and grandchildren don’t live near me, and I miss their physical touch, and not being able to squeeze them regularly makes my heart ache. “Facetime” is great, but it’s just not the same as hugging their necks.

We can still feel God’s touch on us today.

God wants us to touch Him and longs for our engagement with knowing Him intimately. He doesn’t require anything of us but to love Him and spend time with Him. He is love – perfect love. We feel His touch through our personal encounters. It’s a mystery to me still, but I feel God in my prayers and meditations when I read the Bible. I feel Him through the arms and hugs of other believers. Sometimes it is just the squeeze of a hand in a prayer circle or a pat on the shoulder, or a high five. Sometimes I feel God in a crisp Autumn breeze or in the sound of ocean waves pounding. Sometimes it is the aroma of flowers or pine trees or the smell of a baby’s cheek. I sense God’s joy in the sound of children giggling, a dog’s wet nose-nudges, or in the expressions of praise, song, music, and worship as believers gather together.

God touches you when you touch each other.

My heart leaps for joy at Influence Women’s gatherings when you come together at events, and I see you touch others’ lives. When you hug each other, the room explodes in a deafening noise of love. It’s why the Influence Women community of women touching each other needs to grow more. We need to gather others so that we can touch the world with our stories, projects, music and art, and ultimately share God’s loving touch with a depressed and lonely world. Our culture needs to touch each other through our artistic and creative work. When we collaborate and intimately connect, the darkness in our world is changed by the Light of the World.

I hope you will make an effort to schedule the Influence Women event dates in your calendars when they are announced and show up to touch others. Join the relationship-building INspire gatherings and bring a friend to the larger professional events. Register for the online Bible study or a mentorship series. Come and volunteer. Your touch matters to someone, even if it’s just a smile on a screen, a caring prayer you give, or an encouraging word about something you’ve learned. We grow stronger and more powerful when we touch each other. You have touched me, and I am forever grateful. Keep touching others – they need you. We need you.

Register for the in-person Hollywood Chapter Professional Brunch, and bring a friend – We want to see you there and hug your neck!