Okay. So first things first. I must unashamedly confess; I had no idea ‘clout’ was a legitimate, dictionary-approved word when I first stumbled upon this book. To be honest, I didn’t give the title much thought at all. Sure, the subtitle caught my attention, but the title, well, it had no meaning to me. It wasn’t until I was less than a chapter in that I was sucker-punched by the following two sentences in Jenni Catron’s introduction, & was compelled to consult Mr. Webster, himself, on the matter:
“When we discover and unleash our God given influence, we position ourselves to lead with passion and purpose that defy our personal limitations.”
Personal limitations? Well, let’s maybe not go there quite yet. Instead, stick with me a moment as I attempt to review what this thing called ‘clout’ is all about & what makes Jenni Catron’s words of wisdom so poignant to us all.
According to Webster’s dictionary, clout is defined as “the power to influence or control situations.” In other words, a person’s clout is his pull, his control, or as Catron best describes,
“Clout is the influence that God has given to you and to no one else…the collection of nuances that make you unique.”
Simply put, clout is a gift. One that is unique to both you & me. It is God’s priceless investment that should certainly not be taken for granted, let alone, wasted. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to defy his or her own personal limitations? Who would turn his back on a life of passion & purpose? I think we would all agree that the answer to these questions is simple – no one. For me, however, when I truly examined my life, my purpose, and my passion in light of my own personal limitations, I quickly became aware of how bound I truly was as a result of what Catron describes as “clout killers” – fear, comparison, jealousy, scarcity, insecurity, pride & control.
As the book progresses, Catron boldly attacks each of these clout killers, pairing her own personal confrontations & experiences with Biblically sound teaching & scriptures to validate the gifts we so frequently suppress, all because we allow one or more of these clout killers to rob us of who God intended us to be.
This book could not have come along at a more opportune time as that when I received it. The further I read, the more saturated my heart became with the truth God had been gently whispering to me for the past few years & had wanted me to trust Him with all along – the beautiful truth that I am needed. I have a purpose. And regardless of where He has positioned me at any given moment, He has a uniquely defined intention that He has equipped me for in order that my influence would bring others to know Him.
Not only does Catron shed light on the falsities that too often shadow the light which God has placed inside of us, she continues to unravel these mis-truths, providing the reader with an anchor of hope & courage to instrumentally replace each of these clout killers with what she accurately defines as “clout cultivators” – our identity, our confidence, our mission & our passion.
Catron concludes her book with practical, step-by-step instructions on how to discover one’s clout regardless of where one is in his or her stage of life. In the first chapter, she writes,
“We often confront our greatest fear at the crossroads of influence. We face our fear at the threshold of our greatest opportunity to make an impact. Not to confront this fear would be to deny who we are created to be.”
My stage of life was just that – a crossroads of influence, an intersection of my family, my career, my faith & my health, a fatal accident waiting to happen. When I began reading Clout, I was desperate for direction, for guidance & most of all, for God’s voice. Today, I am fully convinced the Lord used this book to deliver all of those longings & more. Clout taught me how to exchange fear for truth, comparison for focus, jealousy for affirmation, scarcity for generosity, insecurity for love, pride for humility and control for faith.
So back to personal limitations. Do I have them? You bet I do. Do I still struggle with “clout killers”? Absolutely. The difference before & after reading Clout, however, is that I now have a more clearly defined understanding of my own, God-given influence & how He wants me to use it to grow His kingdom. Stewardship at its finest. I would recommend this book to anyone – a CEO, a stay at home mom, a doctor, a cashier, a college student, a lawyer…there is not a single person I can think of that would not benefit from reading Clout. It has changed my life, my perspective & has given me hope that I can live with peace, joy & contentment when I am living out who God has uniquely designed me to be.
I think it is fitting to end this post with a quote Catron uses in the conclusion of her book & one I believe is both humbling & electric, leaving us with the challenge to use what she has delivered & apply it to our everyday lives in order to unleash our God-given influence, our clout. In the words of Catherine of Siena,
“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”
Hide it under a bushel? No! Set fire to your clout & let it shine!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”