dreams, Happiness, Passions

I Want to Make a Difference

In a recent journaling exercise that I was working through, I was asked: 

“What do you want more than anything in the world?”

At first, I was stumped … 

I couldn’t think of anything material that I wanted or needed.

I don’t have lofty travel plans (though I WOULD really love to see my brother again).

I’m not interested in a new role (or more responsibility) at work.

I have three great kids (and a pretty great husband too).

We have a lovely home (with a few improvements in the works).

I’m fairly active and seem to have this whole food thing figured out,

and I’ve got a pretty well-established self-care routine these days too.

I would definitely like some more time with my friends and for my housekeeper to come back. I would like my children to clean up after themselves a bit better and for someone else to do the cooking, but, of course, these aren’t “the real deal” … they’re not what I want more than anything in the world.

Eventually, after some careful thought and consideration, I settled on this …

I want to make a difference in the lives of others.

At first, when I penciled it out, I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant … 

I KNOW it isn’t website “stats” or likes or follows or shares on social media… those things don’t sustain me … and they don’t really serve me either.

I found myself adding this …

I want to make a difference in the lives of others in all of the ways I know how … 

through my writing

as  a teacher

through small creative projects

and tapping into people’s talents

by giving gifts

with acts of kindness

tons of thank yous

and a boatload of gratitude

through my monthly challenges (and the donations they drum up)

with my own “calls” or “nudges” to donate or contribute in some way

by offering a compliment

and sharing our bounty … our “excess”

by serving

offering employment to others

encouraging dreamers

and making things special for my kids

I took it a bit further and drummed up a list of many, many MORE things I could be doing to make a difference in the lives of others … in my home, for my family, but maybe more importantly, in my community … 

These are the things that sustain me … that serve me … that make (and keep) me happy … 

Admittedly, serving the people within the four walls of my home isn’t ENOUGH for me (motherhood CAN be a thankless job some days) … I’m so grateful for opportunities to serve my students and their families in my work … but also for chances to give thanks to community members, support a local business, brighten someone’s day with an encouraging text message, share some fresh-baked muffins with a friend, or create a (hopefully) super special gift for someone going through a hard time.

After all …

“True happiness isn’t found in money, things, or status. It’s found in the difference you make in the lives of others.” LIVE OOLA

I trust that most days I will have no idea if what I do or what I share matters (I’m not seeking accolades anyway) … regardless, I think starting each week and each day carefully considering how I might make a difference in the lives of others just might be a lovely (faith-filled) way of going forward.

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