As I mentioned in the Monday Madness #23 post, I found some great food for blog. Namely, that my only job on this earth is to discover and become who God wants me to be. What does that mean, exactly?
Let’s start with what it doesn’t mean:
- I am not here to save the world.
- I am not here to feed every hungry person.
- I am not here to make everybody happy.
- I am not here to be perfect.
- I am not here to be rich.
- I am not here to be poor.
Save the cheerleader, save the world
Perhaps there is something to be said for changing the world by starting with yourself. There is a school of thought out there that everything and everyone in the world is just a reflection of your thoughts and intentions. I don’t particularly subscribe to this concept but as an exercise, if it were true, that would mean I could solve all the world’s woes by solving my own.
If I want others to know joy, peace and love I have to know and embody joy, peace and love.
I love that commercial where one person sets off a chain reaction of strangers helping strangers in little ways, all because they witnessed the random act of kindness of someone else. This shows that even a small gesture can have far-reaching, positive effects.
The happier I am, the happier people around me will be and the happier people around them will be and on and on. . .
If I want others to live in abundance, I have to live in abundance.
There’s a hard and a soft aspect to this one. In the hard, if I’m living abundantly it means I can make economic choices that improve the world. I can buy clothes that are made with organic materials by people who are properly compensated for their labor. I can eat organically and locally, without worrying about how much more it costs. I can support organizations whose causes I’m passionate about.
I feel guilty having any luxuries when so many go without. But I can never make enough money and enough personal sacrifices to provide for the entire population. I can, however, make enough to enjoy what abundance means to me. Having nice clothes and supporting women in third world countries through micro loans is a lot more help than paying banks interest on my debts and stressing over a $5 tank top at Target.
If want others to be healthy, I have to be healthy.
This one isn’t so hard for me. For some reason, I think I deserve to be healthy despite the many people who suffer from disease and malnutrition. Huh. Then again, maybe I don’t really think I deserve it. On the surface, I workout regularly, eat well, and get enough sleep. But maybe I’m subconsciously sabotaging myself. I still carry a lot of stress; I could stand to cut back on the drinking; my thyroid refuses to regulate; I get a lot of tension and migraine headaches.
Also, even when I do start to go down the path of “I created this bed of stress, now I have to lay in it” I invoke my unique powers of womanhood. I’m at that point in life where I will hopefully be pregnant soon, and just imagining being so directly responsible for a growing, pure being spurs me on to take extra good care of myself. Not everyone wants to or will experience pregnancy, but it still works as a beautiful metaphor. That book/art/business/etc. you want to birth? It requires that you take care of yourself so that it can be healthily born into the world.
If I want to live in a world that honors the environment, I have to honor my environment.
That means my home. Cleaning my house, keeping it de-cluttered, lighting candles, watering plants; these are not trivial acts. Maybe I can’t save the rain forests or the oceans but I can do my part by selecting organic materials and using all-natural cleaning products. Treating my home as the Sacred Space it is is one way to treat my planet with reverence.
If I want others to know a life free from abuse, I have to free myself from abuse.
I am not a victim of physical, mental or sexual abuse. I have never been sold into sexual slavery or had my village bombed. I am very grateful for that, but I also kind of have survivor’s guilt. How can I ever enjoy my life when so many other people never get the chance?
If I pretend that by working to remove even the minor abuses in my life I’m working towards eradicating the major ones of the world, however, I can find some sort of peace. Abuses like eating and drinking too much of the wrong thing; like self-critical thought of everything from my financial state to the shape of my body; like allowing stress to run rampant in my body, mind and spirit. These are things I can work to control.
Abuse of any kind should never be tolerated. I can’t speak to and about myself in hateful terms, then turn around and speak out about human rights with much credibility. Respect for myself is respect for others.
Practice, practice, practice
I always want to get to the end of things, earn that degree, know I’ve advanced to the next level. Discovering who God wants me to be in this world? There is no end to that. There may be advancement but it won’t be definitive. I will never get to the top of the mountain and say “This is it. I can be at peace because I have learned the exact right balance between selfishness and selflessness.”
The peace is in the practice.