Tuesday, October 11, 2016

#sistersofinfluence: Hannah Ian

It's been a while since we have had a Sister of Influence around here, and I am so excited to bring it back! Today I get to introduce you to my sweet friend Hannah Ian. She and I haven't known each other for very long, but I consider her a close friend! We both are newlyweds, and we met through our small groups at church. This summer, we spent some time getting to know each other more because we traveled to Nashville together for the Looking for Lovely weekend hosted by the fabulous Annie F. Downs. We had so much fun together, and with 12 cumulative hours in the car with one another, we covered a lot of territory. When she told me that she believed leopard was a neutral, I knew we were destined for a pretty great friendship. She has a sweet heart and fun-loving spirit, and you will love her!

Tell us about yourself. Who are you?

My name is Hannah Ian! I am a daughter of Christ and love my Jesus so much! I married my high school sweetheart, David, this past March and he is a police officer. David is my best friend and always knows exactly how to make me laugh out loud… literally. We have a two(ish) year old rescue dog named Khloe who struggles with anxiety, which David says makes complete sense because I share the same issue. I’m a UGA graduate with a degree in Public Relations working as a social media manager for a marketing agency. I usually end up explaining my job to people by saying I spend an absurd amount of time on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. My focus is social media advertising, which involves a bit more than just posting fun graphics and hilarious videos (Yes, people often think that’s all I do… It’s ok, I’m not bitter). I’m incredibly thankful for the community I have found in the little (big) town of Athens as it’s where I have met friends I like to call family. Community is very important to me as it has immensely shaped my faith. Coffee is also important and lastly, I believe most bad days can be turned around by watching Gilmore Girls (Lorelai Gilmore is my spirit animal).

How did you come to know the Lord?

I grew up in a Christian home, so I came to know Christ at a young age. However, I believe that I chose to truly follow Him when I was in high school. The Lord placed several incredible mentors and friends in my life during high school who taught me to dig into Scripture and invest everything I had into a relationship with Christ.  One of my favorite memories with Jesus involved a 24 hour solo journey in the California wilderness (sounds super crazy, but I was eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I’m not a survivalist). I was attending a camp called JH Ranch and it was there that I learned so much about holding fast to my relationship with Jesus. 

What do you think it means to be a woman of influence right where you are?
I think that being a woman of influence encompasses several aspects of your life. From your personal relationship with Jesus to your relationships with others, the state of your relationships can greatly affect how you influence those around you. I don’t believe you have to travel far to be an influence, but it’s about having an eternal perspective. With an eternal perspective, I believe that you better understand the reality of sharing God’s love and grace. How you treat others and react to situations can have a heavy impact and makes both your internal thoughts and external actions incredibly valuable. The responsibility of being a woman of influence is a mighty task, but we are not perfect. This is why I believe that focusing on your relationship with Christ and allowing Him to transform your life from the inside out will best prepare your heart to share Jesus. It doesn’t take much to be a positive influence, but with a joy-filled heart and desire to glorify the Lord I believe you can be a woman of influence exactly where you are.

How does the Lord allow you to shine His light through PR?

It can be hard to find purpose in the PR and marketing world. I work at an agency, so I serve a variety of clients and it has been a challenge. I’ve had to quickly learn that you will fall on your face often and you need thick skin. Instead of making excuses, the best thing to do is admit your mistake and find a resolution. Working with clients quickly reveals pride because it’s so easy to always want to be right. As soon as I receive an email that is the slightest bit negative, my thoughts jump all over the place. I’m a people pleaser at heart, so that just makes my job even more difficult than it should be! By setting aside my pride and serving my clients with a genuinely positive attitude (no matter how they might respond to emails), I hope to shine a light and reflect Jesus. I love Tim Keller’s book “Every Good Endeavor.” My roommate lent it to me when I started working at an agency and it has truly transformed the way I view my work life. If you haven’t read it, I suggest jumping over to Amazon ASAP. It walks through how to connect the work you do with God’s work. Savor it. Take notes. It’s so good.

What is the best piece of marriage advice you've been given?

I’ve received the best marriage advice from my sweet mama. My parents love each other unconditionally and deeply, but arguments arise just like they do for every marriage. My mama has always emphasized conflict resolution and keeping your heart away from bitterness. She’s shared her experiences with me and her words mean the world. To this day, I’ll call her all frustrated about something David did and she is quick to point me in the right direction. Her response is not to immediately side with me or put down my husband, but she encourages me to process my feelings and resolve the conflict before resentment sets in deep. Bitterness is poison to marriage and it will always take work to continually talk through conflict.

What is your favorite verse or passage of Scripture?

Hmmmm… It can honestly depend on the season of life I am in. Right now, Ephesians 4:32 - "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."

What is one truth you want others to remember and cling to?

I’ve recently been studying the book of Ruth with a sweet group of ladies and one of the takeaways I have had from it over the last few weeks has been quite simple, but impactful… Waiting is not wasted time. So many times I’ve heard others and myself complain about “waiting on God” or being “patient in His timing.” I don’t think these are wrong things to say or think, but I think that we forget that the time we spend waiting has a purpose. It isn’t just wasting away and we shouldn’t make that excuse. While you are waiting for that new job to come along, how is God growing your faith? Your prayer life? While you wait for someone to change their attitude, what are you doing to improve yours? This is something I continually struggle with and I want others to know you are not alone and your time isn’t wasted when you are following the Lord. God is doing a good work in you. Hang in there. If you can’t seem to hang on much longer, grab a friend and let her know that you need some real talk and a good cup of coffee (or tea).

And last but not least: coffee or tea?

Duh, coffee. I’m the resident barista at work and it’s my greatest accomplishment.

*Images via Ardent Story Photography

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