There are so many catchy spin-off phrases these days spouting from Gandhi’s famous quote …"You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Especially as the movement of social activism becomes more and more embraced, and dare I say…somewhat “trendy”. Millennials and whatever generation comes after that… don’t want to just find a good job, make a good living, put your time in for 40 years, and have a good 401K at the end of the day. We want to make a difference. We want to change the world. We want to do something meaningful.
Which is all fine and dandy, until you are asked to live that out. I mean, at some point, life is going to be routine, life is going to be mundane. At some point changing the world is going to look a lot like changing that dirty diaper, going to the grocery store, and getting a good meal on the table by 6:30 pm. It is going to look like talking a friend through an unforeseen divorce, it is going to be showing up at your neighbors with some food because their mom found out she has cancer. At some point the adventure stops and life begins. At some point, the laundry needs to be done, you need to juggle your job, your kids, and your marriage. At some point, you just have to show up and live life. The question then is not are you choosing to still save the world? The question is…are you choosing to really show up?
Some people think missions is about saving and changing the world, about a huge adventure, about living in an exotic place with all these exotic experiences. Which ok, sometimes it goes a little like that. But really more then that; it is the conscious decision you make daily, to show up right where you are! To wake up and love your family well, to love your teammates well, to love the person in line at the grocery story who has rear-ended you for the 6th time with their cart while you are waiting to checkout. Yep, love them well. Sometimes it is calling your land lord for the 8th time because your plumbing is broken again, and using a conversation sprinkled with grace rather than really wanting to bite her head off out of frustration and annoyance. That is why I let, Seth make that call…I know my grace- limit.:)
Because let’s face it, if you cannot love your hubby with grace when he leaves the toilet seat up in the middle of the night or you can’t stop what you are doing to play a game of “Candyland” with your little guy; how are you going to show up and love your patients at clinic with the grace and mercy they deserve? How are you going to navigate difficult and sticky situations with some of the communities you work with if you are keeping tabs and selfishly thinking this is not the adventure you signed up for? How are you going to show up and be effective if you cannot forgive a colleague who betrays you? The answer is: You can’t.
Because being the change, and making a difference, starts with showing up. And you can’t show up, if you are too stuck on yourself, busy looking in the mirror and evaluating how are you changing the world? The reality is, those who change the world…often don’t even know they are doing it. They don’t have to ask: "If they are being meaningful, if their work has purpose?" Because they are too busy showing up and really living out a “selfless adventure”, a meaningful existence, and a beautiful life of loving. It is all too easy to love a cause, to love a motive, to love a ministry…without ever loving people. Ideals are easy to love, the people that make up those ideals…not so much. Because people are going to be messy, unpredictable, they are going to let you down, disappoint, and frustrate. But people make the change worth fighting for, the meaning worth finding…because it is through people that love is brought, connections are made, truth is found, and meaning is sought after!
One of my favorite “world changers” looks a lot like this. From the outside she looks like a middle-aged woman living a normal life in a sleepy Midwestern town. But get to know this woman, and you will soon discover. She shows up daily, countless times over and over! She volunteers with Alzheimers patients weekly, she works with hospice patients regularly. She loves unconditionally, both family, neighbors, and friends. She starts funds for a foreign exchange student from a poor family in Ghana, to be able to complete his dreams by putting him through college, and giving him a better chance. She opens her home and her heart to countless foreign exchange students annually. She helps her pastor’s young family by taking care of their little kids weekly, to give them a break. She started a bible-study to reach out to her friends and neighbors 20+ years ago that is still going strong. She stands by her friends and family through thick and thin, she never gives up on anyone. She is a prayer warrior-like I have never seen. And she is changing the world, and she doesn’t even know it. I am beyond proud to call this “world-changer”... My Mom! And she is the kind of “world-changer” I can only hope to be someday!