Sunday, January 15, 2017

This is where you find yourself

Be the change...this is how I try to bring myself back into focus. When life is getting me down, when things are wrong, first...I lose it a little bit. Then I calm down and say

"This is where you find yourself. That's not changing. This sucks. What you do about it from here can make it better or make it worse."

Sometimes, in spite of all the positive self talk, I make it worse. I gripe at my kids, my husband, myself, and I make it worse. I get angry at the world.

But on a good day, on a good day, my positive self talk is downright helpful! On a good day I don't miss the forest for the trees and I deal with it well. And then a few minutes or a few hours later I look back and say
"Good job there Ingrid, well done!"

Then, there are days when I look at the enormity of the change I wish to be for the world, and I feel hopeless, overwhelmed and that there is no way I can make a difference. It is on days like that that I think of where I will be when I die and that my efforts, that I will have worked so hard for something that winds up being just a drop in the bucket. Most of the time I feel sad, overwhelmed and disconnected. Then I get my big girl panties on and go try and "be the change" and I come home feeling defeated. do you find purpose, how do you find the fuel to keep going? You change your focus. Most of us are not greatly impacted by the 'biggies" as I like to call them. Albert Einstein, Oprah, Mahatma Ghandi. Those people are famous. They have said or done some things that people like. They have contributed to humanity as a whole. But those roles, and the NEED FOR THEM, are few and far between. Ghandi said one of my favorite quotes, but Ghandi is not impacting my life. It's the view of the world that I feel kindred with for some reason that resonates with me. We venerate and mourn the famous, not because we knew them, but because they helped us to know ourselves. Oprah Winfrey has not been a profound influence on my life, some of the things she has said and done have resonated with me or lead me to seek out information about something that helped me grow. But lets be clear, that was me and GOD, not Oprah. God may have used Oprah to help me grow, but don't get stuck thinking it's Oprah, because it isn't. I think she'd agree with me.

But the Einstein, Ghandi, Oprah effect is what leads most of us to be unhappy. We think that making a difference for a huge number of people is the only way to matter. This is why so many people feel like they don't matter. If you focus on all the things that you are not, you'll never grow into the things that you are good at. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, you are not helping. People are posting the awesomeness and not the crap. And comparison is the thief of joy! I was super excited and pleased about my week in Colorado with my family until I saw someone else taking their 4 kids on a month long European summer vacation. All of a sudden I was the worst parent who didn't have that kind of money and somehow because of this my kids were missing out. FOMO! Fear of missing out!

But, here is the thing, YOU. ARE. NOT. MISSING. OUT! You have all the things you need. If you are reading this, you are pretty well off. You have electricity and a computer, you know how to read, etc.

YOU ALSO MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Most of us will never be Einstein or Oprah, but we can be us. We will never be Jesus, but we can be his messengers. Oprah doesn't do all the things she does alone, but she gets all the credit. Jesus gets all the credit, HE SHOULD.  But here is the thing. You can be the change you wish to see in the world. But do it the way Jesus did it. He didn't ask for glory, he didn't have any glossy magazine covers, TV shows, 1.5 million followers on Instagram, he simply went about doing the work and BEING the change. That is SUPER, Mega, ultimately hard. That's why it took GOD to do it. But you can work on being Christ like. When people were like "are you the son of God? Oh yeah, you're so special??? You're the messiah??? Show us?" But he didn't perform on command, he didn't need to. He was GOD.

That is the thing that is amazing. He could have shown them all, been all like "look at me, Yaweh in the HOUSE!" but he didn't. He was humble. He ate with the prostitutes, the lepers, the tax collectors. The undesirables of society. Why? Because looking good in public and being nice to people that are like you is easy. Being the change you wish to see in the world when it is hard??? Now that's the challenge.

This is why a Christian walk, or just a walk of self improvement or being an altruistic person is HARD. One, because the people who need the love, the people who need the compassion, look a lot like jerks and suck a lot of the joy from you. Hurting people hurt others. Seeing through all of that is the challenge. Seeing the person who is screaming and yelling and telling you how you suck, looking beyond that and seeing their pain and deciding to help them, that is where the real challenge lies. Being kind to those that are kind to you is easy, no growth there. Being Christ like, loving them in spite of their imperfections, not because of them, is where you grow.

Here is the kicker. You don't do it for THEM. You do it for you. You do it for GOD, because that is your purpose. You do it so that they will see the light of Christ through you, but you also do it for yourself so that the light of Christ shines brighter in you so that you can break through more darkness in the next person. You do it for yourself so that the light of Christ will chase away the darkness in you. You need that love of Christ too.

But, when you get bogged down in the fact that you aren't making a difference and you might as well give up, that is when you need to tell yourself to buckle up. Maybe you make a difference for that one situation or that one person, maybe you don't. But it's what you do with that experience that matters. Do you spend hours or days ruminating about how you screwed up and how awful you are, or do you look at it and decide you're going to grow from it. The lessons that you aren't learning are the ones that will continue to be placed before you. Until you get it. How long will you keep repeating the same lessons? Until you get them.

So, when you look at the Utopian version of the change you want to be, of the life you want to create for yourself, make sure you aren't standing in your own way. Once you get those obstacles out of the way things open up. Be the change you wish to see in the world, not only for others, but for yourself.