One of my favorite things to do in the mornings while I’m freshening up and getting ready for the day (and everyone is still asleep), is to listen to a podcast. My favorite is Focus on the Family.
When I listen to these podcasts, I feel like the endless stream of thoughts on my mind ease up a little and my heart is filled with the possibility of goodness. Or at the bare minimum causes a shift in me, in realizing that there is a bigger picture than what I currently see through my own blurry lens.
What I listen to has a big influence on the attitude I carry as I walk out the door. Don’t get me wrong, many times I fail and I still get annoyed or bothered that so and so thing isn’t going how I had planned. But, suddenly I’ll get a nudge that reminds me of the words I heard in the podcast and it sort of re-centers me. Reminds me that life isn’t all about me, that there is a greater purpose to what I am set out to do daily. That’s the truth for all of us, even if we choose to be cynical and roll our eyes and think, oh please whatever, I’m just going to do as I please daily and complain when things don’t turn out my way.
Recently I heard a podcast called Finding Your Path in Life by Cynthia Tobias. I loved her honest approach to the fact that “God has given us certain talents and strengths to get each one of us where we need to go.” She did it with such humor and an honest reminder that, this isn’t all about you. “It’s about others and looking outward with extravagant love.” Wow. How hard do we make it and how beautiful could that be, if we became what God wanted us to be?
And I get it, trust me. So many times I am focused on wanting things to go the way I want in my relationships, with my kids, with my friends, with work, with life. Why won’t it? And I lose sight of the bigger picture because I can get so caught up in just doing the day to day. I’m completely missing the bigger picture, what Miss Tobias asks very simply…”What are you trying to accomplish in your life? Do you know where you’re going?”
So how do we figure out our future and find the path God meant for us? Well for one, we take time to actually listen to Him. To sit back in quiet moments and ask ourselves honestly and answer truthfully – because this is that moment where no one else is listening but yourself, “Is this thing I’m doing right now and that I’m dedicating my focus on, is it using my strengths and the goodness God created in me, and is it a good contribution towards others around me and this life I get to live?” Miss Tobias asked in her podcast “Do you know where you’re going and will you know when you get there? Ask the Lord, what am I supposed to be doing and aiming for?” And she reminds us that we are changing the world and being an influence just by being in it; whether we like it or not.”
When I stop and truly think about those questions and realize that whether I like it or not (or am participating actively or not), I am influencing our world. Do I want to continue to influence it in the way that I am currently or is there room for change or improvement? Honestly. Or do I just want to continue to be self centered and think, hey this is my life and I’m going to live it the way I please – regardless of how my choices may directly or indirectly affect other people. And you better believe that when you allow those thoughts to get real in your heart, there is a shift. How can there not be?
The way I see it, God truly loved us so much. He made his son fully human, to live on earth as a human among us, and his son came to be with us, to spread his word of love and goodness towards others, and then he suffered a horrible crucifixion; a death worse than any we will ever endure. That is how much God loved us and wanted us to see the path we were meant to be on. When I sit and think to myself, God created each one of us in his image, and yet he also gave each one of us free will. And we take and do with that free will what we please. And there are so many people creating such goodness and others creating the opposite. And every day we get up we get to decide what we do with that free will. We decide if we clothe ourselves with love for others or if we want to be selfish and justify our choices. That kind of thought, it reaches deep into my core. It shakes me up and makes me want to aim higher, even if I fail and fall short, I continue to try to do the right thing because I want to change the world and influence it in a good way.
If you are sitting there, feeling a nudge, and thinking, I don’t want to continue to do the same thing I’ve been doing because it’s not producing anything different or I realize it’s not getting me anywhere, maybe that means you need to make some changes in yourself. Trust in the Lord, let him in, follow him where He leads you.
Whether you believe it or not, you are affecting others and inspiring them by what you do. How would you like that to look?