Ahh, the love/hate relationship. Well, enjoy/tolerate/dislike would probably be a more accurate description. I mean, it sounded great back in April to knock out 3 more credits in the middle of the summer, right?!
Well, turns out an online summer class made my already-busy schedule filled-to-the-brim, and it’s been difficult to find any spare free-time, BUT! There’s a bright side.
In this course, one of the assignments has been to develop a comprehensive vision statement outlining your life purpose and goals for the next 3 years. Though this is challenging and sounds out-right intimidating at the get-go, the act of intentionally writing down what you want the next few years to look like is well worth the time. In fact, I’d say it’s a key ingredient to living an organized and purposed life.
My vision statement is this: “My vision is to use the written and spoken word to make an enriching and eternal difference in the lives of children, teen girls, young women, and older women by shining Christ’s light in their lives and influencing them to obey His Word.”
Of course, these aspirations are narrowed down and fleshed out a bit more in a more detailed mission statement, which includes aspirations of writing Christian articles and study/devotional books for women of all ages. But what I want to focus on today is the phrase of my vision statement, “make an enriching and eternal difference”.
I’ve always seemed to have a desire to influence others, particularly in spiritual matters. Somehow I’ve always known that I’d want to become an author or teacher (or both), in which I’d have limitless opportunities to shape young minds for Christ. But in this dream lies application – not only for me, but for all who desire to make a difference in this world.
If I want to make a difference, I have to be different. If my vision is to make an eternal difference in the lives of others, my first action step must be to showcase that eternal difference in my own life.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)
I’ve often struggled with the tendency to “fit in”, be accepted by the group, or just to go with the flow. It is comfortable and requires the least amount of effort. But going where everyone else is going will not get you where you want to go.
This summer course has been a tremendous learning experience for me, especially in defining what a leader is. A leader is not merely someone who is placed in an authoritative position or has a naturally charismatic personality to get others to do what he/she wants them to do. True leadership means influencing others to create change. This definition implies that anyone – male or female – can be a leader in his or her own community. It doesn’t mean taking the lead all the time; it means recognizing the gifts God has given you to influence others for Him. Influencing others for the Lord is another way of expressing evangelism: sharing the gospel. The gospel means radical change – because of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, we can be changed from our old selves and become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). This change in us should inspire change in others. That’s true leadership, and that’s truly making a difference.
If we want to influence others for Christ, we must first allow Him to influence our lives and renew our minds to be aligned with His will. Only then can we truly influence others to create change because they will see that same change reflected in us.
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)