Every year it never fails. We set out to make changes, do things, and go to places that will make us better people. The resolutions, the healthy diets, the workout regimens, and the fasting are just a few ways that we try to accomplish these things.
While I usually subscribe to the improving myself philosophy and jump on the bandwagon January 1, this year I wanted to do something different. I want the changes I make not only benefit me, but I also want them to benefit others as much as possible.
Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request. 1 Chronicles 4:10
When reading 1 Chronicles 4:10, we learn of a simple prayer that has had profound impact on many. The Prayer of Jabez comes is a prayer that simply put, asks the Lord for the ability to change the world for the better. Many years after the prayer was documented in the Bible, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said something that included something similar to what was in the prayer.
And now that we’ve established the need for changing the world, things can get tricky. Just how does one go about changing the world? Here’s what I’m doing.
- Say It. I have a friend whose parenting journey has found her managing her life as a mom of triplets, one of whom has autism. When she describes her life she says, “I’m working hard every day to find a cure for autism.” How cool would it be if the next time someone asked you what you were up to, you said, “I’m just changing the world and making it a better place to live.”
- Wear the Right Shoes. This is important. World-changing is big. Comfort is even bigger. Wear the right shoes and handle your business. In the Bible, the Armor of God is discussed as we face spiritual attacks all the time. While all the components of armor are necessary for spiritual battle, the shoes of peace are critical. As we walk in life and work with others and fight the battles, peace is essential to the work that needs to be done. Thank you for the reminder, Dr. King.
- Take Others Along for the Ride. We were made to live this life in community, I promise. Jesus did it and so can you. Enlist others for your cause, and in return join them in helping them as they do world-changing things they are called to do.
- Smile. Smiles make my heart happy. Smiles let people know you care. Smiles are extremely important when serving others. If you can’t smile when you do something, why do it at all?
- Do the Research. Changing the world is something you should feel so strongly enough about that you will study it, you will research it, and you will know specifically what you should be doing. If you know in your heart that you should start a non-profit agency collecting school supplies for children, learn the specifics about the 501c3 tax status, learn the typical school supplies needed for each grade level, etc. Do the research and be well-versed in your area of expertise.
- Do What Feels Right in Your Heart. Use discernment. Make sure it feels right because it is right…not because of what you can gain from it. If you are unsure and need confirmation, Wait for it.
- Act Like a Senior. All the time. Do you remember your senior year in high school? If you are anything like me you were full of anticipation for the future while enjoying the awards, the extra freedom, and the parties…oh the parties with the relaxed curfews because you were graduating. Seniors are the school celebrities, everyone wants to be a senior, everyone has a crush on a senior, seniors have their stuff together and everyone knows it. If you are going to be serious about changing the world to advance and maximize God’s kingdom, walk in the confidence of knowing you are following God’s will for your life.
- Don’t Apologize. You are great. You are uniquely you. God made you that way. Don’t ever apologize for being awesome. It takes awesome to make the world a better place.
- Be Seen Doing the Work. When people ask you what you’re doing when your researching, tell them. This work is an important part of your life…you don’t have to hide it.
- Take Photos. Be in Photos. You need the memories…world changing is worth documenting. Notice I said take photos and be in photos….I did not say post the photos and brag to everyone on social media about the good you are doing in the community.
- Treat Your Weaknesses as Strengths. We tend to be really proud of the things we do well. However, Paul said it best in 2 Corinthians 7 when he writes, “My strength is made perfect in your weakness.” Let our weaknesses be what makes us strong…and what makes us better.
- Talk About the Scars. Several years ago I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. The surgery I had as a result of it left a scar on my neck. Even though I like wearing scarves, I don’t wear them to cover up my scar. I want people to ask me about the surgery and how I take care of my health especially as it relates to my thyroid. Scars represent healing. Part of healing os talking about the pain we’ve endured. We only change the outcome for others when we are transparent enough to share our scars.
- Pay Attention to Others Who are Changing the World. Know of some world-changers in your niche? Follow them on social media, learn what makes them tick, and discover all that you can about making a difference in the world. Continue to be yourself, but definitely learn from these virtual mentors.
- Invest in Yourself. Yes. Invest in you. Take a class, upgrade your wardrobe, gain the necessary skills that you’ll need to take your world-changing to the next level.
- Know That Just When You Think You Aren’t Making a Difference, You Are. I can’t tell you how important this is. Just like the best Sunday morning sermons can be divided up in several parts with different poignant moments for a church congregation, the same goes for the things you say and do.
- Walk and live in radical faith. Sometimes God will instruct you to do things that don’t make sense.You must have the radical faith to believe what he says, obey Him and do what he says do, and know that it will all work out in the end.