If I were to ask you, “Who are you?” what would your answer be?
Your first reaction to this question might be “Duh, what a simple question! I’m a coach,” or “I’m a law enforcement officer,” or “I’m a soccer player,” “a college student,” or maybe even “a wife and a mother of three.” But I want to challenge you to rethink the way you approach the question.
Do you know yourself well enough to know what lights you up? What are your goals, your values, your passions? What are your strengths and weaknesses?
I want you to know that the things that excite you are not random AT ALL. They are, in fact, tied in to your purpose and it is YOUR responsibility to follow them. If you love to write, don’t wait a second longer. Put that pen to paper and start writing. If you love to dance, dance away. If you love to take photos, snap happy. The things in life that light you up and fill you with motivation to do more, yeah… follow those!
In my life, I have found that when I consistently act on the small things that spark a flash of excitement in me each day, bigger, greater and even more exciting things tend to come my way more often.
“The Meaning of Life is to Find Your Gift. The Purpose of Life is to Give it Away.”
If you find that you already know what makes you happy, then great! Now here comes your next obstacle: how can you tie that in to serving others? Even if that means having to step out of your normal routine. By doing so, I promise you that it’ll lead you to finding that there’s so much more put in you than you ever thought.
There may come a time in your life when you are doing exactly what you love, except it doesn’t seem as interesting or exciting as it was when you first started. This could very well be because you are holding in your gifts to yourself. However, all along, God put it in you for the sole purpose to serve others with those gifts.
For example, I have played volleyball ever since junior high. From the moment I first stepped onto the court, a spark of excitement rushed through me. All throughout high school, I played. Even throughout college, I took every chance I got to play my heart out. But playing for my own satisfaction just didn’t cut it. I wanted to share my love for the sport with others, so I coached. Coaching volleyball was an experience far beyond measure. It was more than just coaching volleyball to a group of gifted girls. It was a tremendous honor to have an impact on so many young lives.
So what am I trying to say?
Even when the circumstances said my season for volleyball was over, and even when that spark of excitement inside me began to dim a little, I continued to follow my passion for the sport. I continued to pursue it because it’s something that would make me feel alive. It is what I love, and sure enough it found its way back to me. The same sport that I began to play as a 13-year-old girl taught me way more than just footwork and technique 6 or 7 years down the road. It showed me that my gifts were given to me to share with the beautiful people around me. To lead, encourage, and influence the lives of others.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
– Mahatma Ghandi
This reminds me of a special moment I had a few weeks ago. In the town of San Pedro, there’s this little daycare run by a church. I was introduced to this church and daycare by a friend, who said that the women in charge of the daycare work really hard for hours on end and that any form of help goes a long way. One of my life motto’s is that I am “blessed to be a blessing” to others, and I knew it was no coincidence that this friend had brought up the subject of that daycare. So, although it was out of my daily routine and way out of my comfort zone, I decided to figure out any way I could help. My cousin and I then checked out the daycare center, and from the moment I first stepped in, the kids stole my heart. They all were so genuinely happy to have visitors and from that moment forward, we made it a priority to spend time with these children on our free time, and do whatever we possibly could to make their days a little sweeter.
So, one day, we went to visit these same children by surprising them with some ice cream! And let me tell you, the way their faces brightened up as we walked in with those yummy treats made my entire day.
As we continued interacting with the children, getting lost in bringing so many smiles to their faces, I remember stopping for a moment and thinking to myself “there is so much more in me than I had ever even thought“. It was a moment of clarity for me. A moment that served sort of as a “checkpoint” for me in the sense that it showed me how far I had come. I had gone from being someone constantly staying in my comfort zone, to choosing to follow what made me happy, and THEN finding a deeper part of myself through the extension of service. By losing myself in serving others and making the kids’ needs my priority, I found a part of me filled with humility, connection, understanding, and the love of Christ.
Well, everyone is capable of connecting with others, and sharing with them a little bit of love and compassion, right? Similarly, we are each capable of serving others, even in the simplest of ways. Maybe for you that doesn’t mean taking ice cream to children in a daycare. Maybe for you that means donating to a charity, or perhaps donating your time in helping a classmate understand a subject better. It could mean getting up a little earlier to whip up an amazing breakfast for your family, or it could mean coaching a group of people into better health. Whatever it is, make sure that it is something you are truly passionate about. Your passions should be the foundation for your giving. Always remember, it’s not how much you give, but about how much love you give that truly makes a difference.
I now take you back to my first question…”Who are you?”
Once you understand how great your importance on this earth is, THEN you can help others see their importance, as well. Cause after all, if you don’t believe that you’re a stunning work of art, how will you even begin to treat others as such?
Understand that the same God that created the mountains, oceans and galaxies looked at you and thought the world needed one of you too.
I don’t know about you, but whenever I think of that, I am honored, speechless and needless to say…humbled.
So who does God say you are?
He says you are valuable. You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). A unique work of art, made in His image. So you must walk in a manner that is worthy of your calling (Ephesians 4:1). You must walk as a child of LIGHT (Ephesians 5:8). You are the light of the world, a city set on a hill (Matthew 5:14). He has called YOU (2 Peter 1:3). He has chosen YOU (Revelation 17:14).
If you were to truly believe who you are in Christ, that you are here to serve a purpose as great as the moon, you will live a liberating life in embracing your “you-ness” and lighting up the world in such a way that only you can…one. spark. at. a. time.
“When you know who you are; when your mission is clear and you burn with the inner fire of unbreakable will; no cold can touch your heart; no deluge can dampen your purpose. You know that you are alive.” -Chief Seattle