What does it really mean to have “influence”? Read this week’s INNER VIEW as Flo Oramasionwu unpacks both the privilege and responsibility of having influence, and how she lives as an “encourager” of others everywhere she goes.
If you were searching for a soulful pop singer with a huge, heart-stopping voice, the Canadian Prairies is likely not the first place you’d start looking. But that’s exactly where Flo got her start. Flo is a multiple award-winning soul/pop artist who captivates with undeniable stage presence in every type of venue from intimate clubs to arenas. She represents encouragement, personal strength, passion, and positivity. Her enduring message of faith and self-empowerment reflects her resolve: to overcome all obstacles and continue to live out her dreams, “I believe this dream is bigger than I am.” Luckily her voice is bigger than her dreams. She is passion in living form and travels into realms of soul that some artists never tap into, and this is only the beginning.
“And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” – Marianne Williamson
Kathleen Cooke: As an award-winning musical artist in Hollywood, what lessons has God recently taught you about who He is?
Flo Oramasionwu: God has taught me that He is personal, present, and REAL! Not just a distant God that our parents, grandparents, and friends teach us about. Not a fictional or past character that was just active in the historical Old/New Testament times. JEHOVAH JIREH has come through for me in so many miraculous ways throughout my journey in LA that my mind is blown! He is not only faithful, but He is also so loving. He does miraculous things through people (even absolute strangers) and circumstances.
He moves and creates the resources to bless, encourage, and keep you going on your journey to ensure that you are on the right path. He’s got your back. He KNOWS you so well. He not only supplies your needs but also provides for your desires and the things that sometimes you think are unnecessary or may feel frivolous. He wants to give you the things that make your heart jump and smile. He truly is our provider. And, when God does it, He does it in beautiful ways.
Kathleen: The music industry is a constant struggle to create more music and get yourself seen. It takes enormous grit and endless determination. What have you learned about setting aside your ambitions and choosing God’s perfect plan for your life and work?
Flo: God has patiently taught me the importance of surrender and not to obsessively strive so much that there’s no room left for Him to drive. In other words, He’s been showing me the beauty of letting Him take hold of the “steering wheel” while I rest in Him and enjoy the beautiful view from the passenger seat.
Ambitious striving to accomplish specific dreams and goals can turn into an idol. It requires trust and faith to let go and leave it in God’s hands. He not only knows best, but His way is so much better than what we could ever try to do on our own. He is so much more efficient than our timing and far more effective than our efforts could ever be.
I personally don’t believe there is anything wrong with aiming for excellence (Daniel and Joseph were men of excellence), or having a vision (David had a vision for building God’s temple and left the blueprints to execute them with his son Solomon) and working towards it. But I do think God wants to eliminate the fear of needing to do everything on our own or else it won’t be completed or get done well. God knows and places the desires we have in our hearts for a reason and a purpose. He created us with gifts and abilities “for such a time as this” (as Mordecai told Esther) in history. He will fulfill the things He has planned for us. There is no need to spin our wheels and strive. God’s got this, and He’s got us!
Kathleen: It takes great faith to set aside yourself and your way for God’s way and choose to trust Him. You make yourself vulnerable and exposed in a world that thrives on self-assurance. What has God taught you about choosing Godly choices?
Flo: I think a huge unavoidable part of the life decision and of choosing a personal relationship with Jesus and doing life with Him in faith! And an undeniable component of faith is the unknown. It can be very uncomfortable at times, but God is with us always; He will never leave or forsake us. It’s in the discomfort that we truly lean into Him. We discover how mighty our God is, build character, and figure out what we’re truly made of. Faith in the unknown is where our most significant and essential growth occurs.
Faith is trusting God even when we don’t know how to get to our end-term vision/goals when things don’t make sense, and we can’t yet connect the dots. It’s childlike faith that He loves. Abraham had that kind of bold faith when he left all familiarity to go to a foreign land and hope for descendants even though his physical circumstances dictated the impossible. It is the kind of faith that David had as a teenager when he was the one human being willing to stand up to a giant with nothing but a slingshot and some small stones, and the rest of the army were quaking in their boots. These great leaders didn’t know the outcome, but they trusted God as they made life decisions. Their lives and stories of faith are forever engrained in the Bible for us to draw on for inspiration!
God honors faith, and He knows that faith amid uncertainty isn’t easy. He told Joshua several times, “Be strong and courageous, do not be terrified.” He knew Joshua needed those words of encouragement and affirmation to move forward and accomplish the overwhelming feats that God had called him to do. As we make decisions in faith, and even though it seems that the fog is thick and hard to see what’s ahead, He “directs our steps.” God comes through in big and small ways, bit by bit. His direction encourages us to keep going and build more trust and faith in Him. Psalm 31:14-15 says, “I trust in you oh Lord; you are my God, my future is in your hands.”
Kathleen: You are constantly inspiring and encouraging others. Why do we need to do that?
Flo: God knows that exhortation (inspiration/encouragement) is my language. I LOVE and thrive off receiving it and delivering it to others! It’s so important. I think we human beings forget the power of words. The right words can be life-giving, or they can cause the opposite effect breaking one’s spirit into debilitating pieces and poisoning us. I choose life. I choose people who will pour life into me. I am what I call an “inspiration junkie.”
God has taught me many ways for fulfilling His love to others, like bringing inspirational quotes through other people on Instagram/Facebook, popping inspirational YouTube videos across my radar to share, or recommending great movies to others. I enjoy reading biographies or watching documentaries about those who have accomplished their dreams and overcome seemingly impossible goals amidst trials and challenges. There are many beautiful stories of people who have risen from past adversity but chose to have a positive outlook on life. They are vessels that shine the bright light of love, kindness, and generosity towards other fellow human beings. Stories like these highlight everyday human beings (heroes in my book, present-day good Samaritans) that inspire and encourage me to be a better person.
Kathleen: I love that. One of the things I regularly speak about at The Influence Lab women gatherings is historical stories of women of influence – women from the past who can inspire our future. Your musical artistry influences the lives of many people today. What have you learned about that responsibility?
Flo: In the gospels, Jesus speaks about being a light on a hill and not to cover up that light, but to SHINE BRIGHT! He is the light, and we are His ambassadors. It is an honor that He would so choose to work through us, shine His light in us, and be a walking, breathing vessel of love, kindness, generosity, and excellence. He calls us to be His example, especially to those who don’t know Him.
There are many around us who we don’t realize are watching us and who often take note of the words we say and the actions and decisions we make. Why not be the delicious salt and a flavor they haven’t been introduced to? Why not shine His light so that others take notice and are inspired to become like Him?
Influence is a privilege but also a responsibility. And if we’re able to walk out our daily lives in such a way that we become living testimonies of His love and light, how incredible would that be? We don’t have to be Instagram or Tik Tok influencers, pop stars, athletes, or actors to influence. It can be as simple as a smile, remembering someone’s name, a word of encouragement, blessing someone with a meal, bus fare, groceries, or being a mentor that can touch the life of someone God purposefully put across our paths. Whether we influence/touch one life or one million, it all matters. Just one life means so much to God (He would leave the 99 just for one).
We can’t deny that He has us cross paths with countless lives every day. The question is: who are we touching every day? Who is being moved by our kindness, love, joy, and generosity?