All I want in this life is to change the world. Is that too much to ask?
I mean, isn’t that what we all want? To feel like our life mattered? To feel like we made a difference; an impact in our little world?
When I graduated high school, I had no idea what life held for me. I didn’t know what I wanted to study or do. I didn’t plan on getting married young and having kids before a career. All I knew was that God had made me for a purpose and I was going to change the world. Or at least MY world. I thought maybe I’d be a teacher and inspire a future president. I thought I would do something big or inspire someone in a big way.
Then I went to college and started the relationship with the man I’d soon marry. I still wanted to do huge things in this world, but this season, I had to focus on me first. I focused on my love for Randall and I focused on learning and growing myself. After I graduated, I still felt so lost in which direction to take my future.
I had dozens of interviews, but I didn’t get the job I had planned on. I had no idea what to do next. I remember calling my dad, longing for him to just tell me what to do, but knowing that I couldn’t really ask that of him. By then, I was an adult and I was married, and my dad couldn’t just tell me what to do, as much as I wanted him to.
A few short months later, I read the positive pregnancy test and my world turned upside down. What had been focused on me, was now focused on someone else. I quickly became focused on raising my family and two beautiful boys. I had that all planned out. I was going to love these boys into perfection. When they demonstrated their own thoughts and rebelled against mine, I was in complete shock.
It took many years for me to get over the fact that there was no way for me to MAKE my kids the people I wanted them to be. I could only do my best, and pray that they would make wise choices and become world changers themselves.
And I’ll be praying that prayer until the day I die, but the time has come now, again, for me to focus on something else. The boys are both in school now and the majority of their day someone else is in charge. I have seven hours a day to myself, to do with it what I want.
Here’s what I want: To do something big; to make a difference! But how? I sit at home and wonder if God is proud of how I’ve been living my life.
It occurs to me that I am making my mark in small ways. I am hugely influencing my kids every day. They are taking in every word I say and that scares the… that really scares me! Maybe I don’t want to make THAT much of a difference in people’s lives. I will surely screw them up!
I sit and think about the encouraging words I’ve offered to friends and acquaintances and I think about the encouraging words I could have offered, and I know that we are all making a difference in our own little world.
Last night, the boys helped me with dinner. They had been begging me to make mac ‘n cheese for weeks and last night was a good night to make a quick, kid friendly dinner. I was doing five things at once and when the water started boiling, I asked Asher to open the box, pour in the pasta and start stirring. Isaac got jealous and wanted to help too. “It’s no fair, Asher gets to pour AND stir?” he whined.
“Isaac, you get to pour in the “cheese” from the packet!” I encouraged him. And that satisfied him. When the pasta was drained, he ripped the top off of the paper packet and poured the contents over the pasta and was quite happy with himself. And honestly, I was happy for the help!
I stepped back today and thought about the little things I’m involved in and the organizations I support. I’ve done little things, (very small things!) like run to raise money for Living Water International. I’ve chosen one boy in Peru to sponsor (with the money Randall’s hard work earns). I’ve supported a church that is making huge waves in our community and God is blessing us with his tangible presence each and every weekend.
A couple of weekends ago, our pastor talked about who we are as a church and where we are going in our future. He showed a video (time stamp 47:02 of this link) of last summer’s baptism celebration and I thought to myself: Oh my God. That is beautiful. I know a lot of faces in that video and some of those people know who I am. I don’t think I influenced them one bit in their decision to take this step in faith toward a God who is moving inside of their very hearts. But God is doing some huge things all around me. And I get to be witness of it. I get to watch history being made in my very own backyard and I am honored to be even a fraction of a part of it. It occurred to me that maybe small things are big things to God.
People are making a difference. People in India are drinking clean water today and children are getting food and education in Peru. And thousands of people every year are taking steps toward a great and holy God. I’m happy to watch it happen around me. God is moving and lives are being changed and I’m going to keep on taking my small steps to encourage these big changes.
Thank you God, for letting me be a part of the story you are writing with your people. Thank you for letting me shine a little light in this big world. I bet I’m like Isaac to you: thrilled to be dumping a package of orange cheese powder in a pot, but I’m doing it with you and it feels amazing. I think you’re possibly crazy to let us be your advocates. It has often proved to be bad idea to let flawed humans represent you, but I want to do my best. I want to make you proud. Please show me the small ways I can continue to help you. If it’s in your will, show me the big ways I can be your child and represent you to others (please let it be in your will). You know my heart and you know that I don’t want to be famous. It’s never been about popularity, but about serving my purpose on this earth and paying you back for the abundance you’ve lavished on me. Like an innocent child, I just want to help.