5 Ways to Change the World Today
What can I do to make a difference today?
- What can I do to bring more good into the world than the evil which so quickly consumes the good stuff in the news?
- What can I do to change the world for my children’s sake and for the others who share this world?
- Where does God need me to be His hands, His feet, His voice?
1. TRULY, DEEPLY LISTEN TO OTHERS
There is always a story to be heard, some of them more difficult for you to hear or for others to share. And yet, that’s the very reason why someone absolutely must listen to it. Not just a smile-and-nod-your-head-until-the-other-person-is-done kind of listening. But the type of listening that takes with you a part of that person and the story that has been given to you.
There are so many talkers in the world, those who talk too much about the itty bitty things rather than the nitty gritty things that are really on our hearts and souls.
Maybe the itty bitty is what we give away because it’s easy. Because we’re afraid of how the words we really want to give will be heard.
Because we want to know that when we truly share of ourselves, it will be truly taken and deeply heard. Valued. Appreciated even. And maybe understood.
So take a chance, because few people will ever dive into the depths of their souls and offer up the parts of themselves that need to be heard. Ask tough questions that may need to be asked.
And be ready to truly, deeply listen to the response. And value the gift that is given to you, the story that needed to be told.
2. GIVE HELP, WHENEVER & WHEREVER POSSIBLE
In a world where there is really bad, really tough stuff happening every single day in our neighborhoods, our homes, our cities, our world, we need more helpers. Mr. Rogers, one of my most favorite of childhood people and a really incredible Christian and human being, used to look for the helpers in the midst of difficult situations as a child and later as an adult. Which I think is one of the best ways to approach the tragedies that too often crush our fragile perceptions of humanity.
Because there can never be enough helpers in hard times or in good times. There is always a need for someone to reach out, to offer a hand up and not often a hand out.
Help can be so very simple or so much more complicated. Maybe not always appreciated at the time, but certainly always needed.
There are so many opportunities that are available to each of us every day in a myriad of ways to provide a hand up and to serve someone else physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.
You may never know just how deeply your touch, given in compassion and kindness, will reach into the soul of another person.
You may never understand how desperately someone else needed the help that only you can provide, even when you feel that your hands can’t offer enough. What if it was enough? What if you were enough? Because you are and your help could be just enough.
Help breathes hope into life. Help brings hope to life.
Maybe it’s better not to know just how much hope your help offers another person. Maybe it’s better just to help and serve others just for helping’s sake and not because it makes the helper feel better or because there is an expectation of some recognition on Earth or in Heaven. But simply to know that your help was needed and perhaps given at the most needed of times.
Helping in large ways or small, in complicated ways or simple, is a blessing just to be able to serve and not always receive. And that is always more than enough reason.
3. SPEAK UP, BUT SPEAK KINDLY –
What good is it really to add more words into the air if they merely add more pollution to the already poor air quality?
What value is offered in speaking more negativity, more bullying, more wishing-my-grass-were-greener-than-the-neighbor’s-lawn?
When did nit-picking and wall-building really become such a prevalent part of society, our homes, our churches, our politics, our everything? And, more importantly, why?
Why are we throwing away precious opportunities to breathe life or love or kindness or compassion and instead wasting the limited time we each are given by tearing down others or ourselves?
We frequently get really upset with our kids and with other people’s kids for bullying and for throwing tantrums and for being to aggressive with their words (and their actions), and yet we rarely look in the mirror to see where we could improve the content of our own conversations.
What kind of example are we as adults, and also for those who are parents, setting for the kids and for other adults who are inevitably absorbing everything we are saying? If it takes an instant to spew a negative at someone or about someone, it is said to take TEN positives to counteract ONE negative.
Now, really, how many people are actually sitting there counting the number of helpful or kind remarks they make within earshot of the same person who just heard the unbelievably glaring nasty comment? Let’s do the math on how many more kind, compassionate words should be added into the world on a daily basis…
So in light of the first two world-changers mentioned above – who is going to truly listen to and deeply care about a constant barrage of ugliness? And who is going to want to be helpful toward someone who won’t stop verbally assaulting the helper?
Isn’t it just easier to work a tiny bit harder to speak more kindly, more compassionately, more understandingly than just exploding with the first thought, which is usually not the nicest thought, that hits the tact-filter some of us have and use? I get it that honesty and sometimes brutal honesty is necessary in some instances, but then shouldn’t kindness and compassion also be just as necessary? I’ve rarely experienced a time when excruciating negativity is really necessary.
The words you speak fall on listening ears, big and small listening ears. Make them count.
Speak in kindness. Speak with compassion. No one will regret it. No one.
4. DON’T GIVE UP
Life is hard. Yes, life can be so very hard. Standing in the middle of the road between trials and triumphs every day, however awesome or devastating those situations can be. Trying to walk the line is so challenging.
There are days where, if you’re anything like me, you have no idea how you’re going to face the day and the hazards you know are coming, much less the surprises you don’t know are lurking.
There are certainly days that just flutter by without event or trauma, and those are wonderful blessings and reminders that not every day is going to bring us to the edge. Thank God. No really, thank Him for those days. Because you probably know too how quickly those amazing days can change direction.
This isn’t to say that skimming over the bad days, pretending they didn’t happen, is a good idea or even a healthy one. Because there are too many days for too many of us that are just plain awful. Life-altering. Devastating. Nightmares.
And there often aren’t answers for those days, those seasons, those losses. I absolutely will not say that the cliche that “God doesn’t give you more than you can bear” to anyone. Ever.
Because I truly do not see how God “gives us” trauma and tragedy and heartbreak.
And that statement also implies, to me, that we are to bear those pains alone, isolated from the only constant, stable source of Hope and Love and Peace and Comfort we should rely upon.
Which I ABSOLUTELY know is the wrong path to take – staying away from the God who longs for us to pull in close to Him at all times, who knows that we need Him and His shoulder and to be in the palm of His hand more than ever in times of suffering.
The much better course to choose is to stay focused on Jesus and near to God who is ALWAYS present, ALWAYS with us in the good days and the days that rock our worlds. Not to be distracted by the pain that threatens to draw us away from Him, but to give it to God, to share it with Him as He knows the suffering we endure. To lean on His strength and might, knowing that we cannot bear life alone, without Him.
Let God love you every single day, completely and intimately as He knows you need to be loved in all of the trials and triumphs you face. He is the Rock on which you can stand and is the Strength you most need.
Do not lose heart. Do not lose hope. Do not give up.
Lean in closer. Love God anyway. And let Him love you always.
5. LOVE ANYWAY
This one is so simple and yet almost impossibly difficult, all at the same time. Love. Love anyway. Love always.
In a world where hate screams loud and long and brutally, when do we hear voices shouting out in Love equally clearly and strongly?
In a world where hate rapes and ravages and destroys and demolishes, where does Love build up and encourage and support?
It’s there. Love is always there, though perhaps much more quietly at work. Love is always diligent and working to persevere in the face of such vulgarity as hate can produce.
Love is always greater and more powerful than the hate. Perhaps because it isn’t shouted from rooftops and dropped in bombs and shot into people.
And thus the work of Love is never done and always needs more hands and more voices to share its message and its strength among those who struggle desperately to find it.
It is so easy to hate. So easy to anger and become frustrated with situations and individuals. No wonder hate can be seen so much more easily than Love.
Because Love, and those who live in Love and who love in Love, sometimes takes work. Sometimes it’s hard to see past the anger and brutality in our faces and to see the people and places that are crying out in need of Love. No one said that loving would be easy. And it really shouldn’t be.
If Love had to prove itself to the world for eternity by sacrificing God’s only Son, Jesus Christ, under the nails of hate and sin of a cross, then Love for us will probably also need to be a sacrifice. Perhaps of our own simple reactions to meet anger with anger. Perhaps of time and money and stuff. Perhaps of self.
Love is never as easy as hate. But Love anyway.
Dig deep. Love hard. Love anyway.
- Excerpted, previously published at These Humbled Hearts, Meredith's former blog