How many times in your life have you thought to yourself "I just want to make a difference"?
If the answer is 0, maybe take a step back and reconsider. If the answer is 1 or more times, look back in your life and ask yourself how you've already made a difference (because I promise you, you have). What did that difference look like to you? To others? How did you do it? Why did you do it?
Take a few minutes and think about it and then look where you are now [in life].
Is what you're doing now propelling you to make the difference you want? Or maybe you've veered off the path a little and need to redirect. Or maybe the destination is different, making the impact different. All of which are okay so long as you don't stand still.
Then ask yourself WHY you want to make a difference, HOW you will make a difference, WHAT area you will make that difference, WHO you will make that difference to and WHEN you will make that difference.
Take a few minutes and brainstorm, but don't feel you have to have all the answers right now. Be flexible to change, too.
Making a difference happens over the long haul AND in our day to day lives. Making a difference can be intertwined with our long-term goal while also taking time each day to love others as ourselves.
Based on how you answered the previous questions: what can you do in your day to day to reach the long-term difference you want to make?
My long-term dream with Taylor is to own and operate our own event space where we can host events of all kinds, welcome people into our space, love, and serve them through our gifts and passions. Our dream is to create a space where people can host events for their dreams: weddings, proposals, family reunions, etc. We want to create unforgettable experiences for people, hoping that they see Jesus through our mission.
Obviously reaching this dream and the reality of making a difference is going to take time. We need the land, venue, money, time, clientele, etc to reach the actual goal of making a difference through this space, but what we do now ultimately can set us up for a greater impact later.
In my day to day I work as an event manger, trying to gain as much event planning experience as I can until this dream can come to fruition. My job and things I do now help me logistically get to the point of owning our own event space, but I have to remember the ultimate goal of making a difference in people's lives by loving, serving, and encouraging others.
On top of my job, I serve in two different small groups, serve on the board of a non-profit, try to maintain strong community, and so on. I do these things not to "be better than others" and propel my career, but rather because it's 1. what I'm passionate about, 2. I need a support system (importance of community) and 3. If I can't make differences now, how should I expect to make differences down the road?
If you're reading this and feeling like you haven't made a difference lately - I encourage you to stop, take a deep breath, and pray - before your thoughts spiral into negatively and you listen to the enemies lies. We often don't realize the impact we have on others. We may plant seeds for fruit to bear down the road. It's not the size of the impact you make but rather the depth that matters. (Read Matthew 13 for more.) You don't have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, feeling like you're the only one striving to make a difference (hello, preaching to the choir here). If this is you, go back to the earlier exercise and reflect on how you may have helped, loved, or served someone recently. And if you want to improve how often you make a difference, then go for it! Pray and seek for opportunities. I promise they will happen. Sometimes we face seasons where we need to focus more on inner growth, but it doesn't mean we can't make a difference where we're at.
Some of you may have had a well thought out plan on how you were going to make a difference in this world - only to get halfway through school, 2 years into a job, or after a big move and realize it's no longer how you want to make a difference.
Let me be the first, second, or 1000000th person to say: That's okay. Your course can change. The how of making a difference may change, but the action of making a difference doesn't. We're given different gifts and passions for a reason - all as a part of the body of Christ. We don't want 4 arms and no legs (or more plainly, don't want everyone being a school teacher and nobody being doctors) - that wouldn't be effective, and people would look at us weirdly. Think, pray, write, wait, and do whatever it is you need to do to determine the how and what of making a difference.
Another dream of mine is to write a book. I've wanted to write a best selling book since 2014 when I graduated high school, but I had 0 idea of how to pursue that. (Now, I have 1 or 2 ideas. Still have a long way to go!) Over the last 6 years I've thought, prayed, tried, failed, and tried again, on ways I can take steps toward writing a book. I've started a blog, spoken at a few events, tried a podcast, taken a writing course, and so many different things to get me where I want to be. But one thing has remained constant: the goal of writing a book to make a difference in people's lives.
I'm still far off from publishing my first book, and it might not be a best seller, but I'm learning as I go that if one way doesn't work for me, Instead of continually failing in the same way, I'm going to try a new way. There's a quote out there that Thomas Edison said "I didn't fail - found 10,000 ways that didn't work."
If one person is impacted by what you do, it's worth it. What passions, gifts and dreams do you have that will propel you to make a difference?