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”
offering employment to others
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.