After returning home from overseas I find myself really struggling with impact, on whether or not I have impact on anyone around me. I feel in my bones that I was meant for great things, that I am meant to change the world, but being at home I feel kind of like a balloon, just floating around on the verge of disappearing into the atmosphere of the mundane.
I know I am not alone is this feeling, I have talked to friends and they are all struggling with the exact same thing.
God gave us a desire to change to world, but many of us are wondering if our lives make any difference at all. And I am here to tell you, yes you, that just by showing up you are making all the difference in the world.
As we say in missions God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called. Let me be an example of that, I am a short, loud, nothing really special 24-year-old girl and God has used me to make great impact in the world.
And if he has used me, you can bet that he is and will use you.
Because story is powerful and I can only speak out of personal experience I am going to tell you five stories of how God has used little old me to change the world, without me having any idea what I was doing what-so-ever.
1. He uses absolutely awkward people (like me) to show that he is capable of changing anyone’s life.
Four years ago, when I was in college, I signed up to lead short-term mission trips in Costa Rica for a summer. Being only slightly more mature than the high-schoolers I was leading, one of my tasks was to teach YWAM dramas like this one to the semi-awkward high-school youth. Because I was a very mature 20-year-old I would always be trying to stifle my laughter in the corner when my pubescent youth would perform these skits in public places. Only to be humbled a few moments when grown men would come up to us crying, saying that they experienced God in that skit and that they were ready to commit their lives to him.
God will use you, no matter how awkward you may be, to change lives.
2. He can use anyone, regardless of maturity level, to share the love of Christ.
As aforementioned while leading short-term mission trips in Costa Rica for two summers, I was definitely in the growing stage, as I still am today. As a result I didn’t always act as one would think a young woman leading missions should act. At one point I was designated with the role of leading Children’s ministry, teaching youth how to sing, dance, face paint and do puppet shows.
On one particular day I brought out the face paint for one of our sessions and decided it would be very funny for the children (really for me) if I drew a lovely beard on one of my high-school girls. I was right and she looked absolutely ridiculous with a big blue beard and would inspire laughter in all of the children (including me.) When it came time to wash the beard off, to my dismay, the gigantic blue beard remained no matter how hard we scrubbed. That evening the girl was to give a short message to the congregation of adults, while she was delivering a heart-felt message I laughed the whole time because I couldn’t stop looking at her beard.
Clearly, I wasn’t the most mature of leaders, but I did try my best to love on the girl every moment that I got. At the end of the trip I was sure that she hated me, because I gave her the beard and couldn’t help but laugh every time I looked at her. I was shocked that as I was hugging her goodbye she handed me a letter saying that I had made a great impact on her life and that she wanted to thank me.
God will use you, regardless of your maturity level, to love.
3. He uses honest people who are willing to share their struggles to encourage a vast number of people.
I’m a writer, regardless of anyone reads what I write, that is who I am. All of my fears, insecurities, joys and triumphs have been chronicled since I truly decided to live for Christ. Most of the time I feel like no one reads what I write, or really cares for that matter. But because God has told me to write, I show up faithfully and write several times a week.
The other day when I was bored I decided to google my name (don’t act like you haven’t done the same thing) and discovered one of my blogs in a Christian chat-room. The girl who posted it wrote “I found this and it was the hugest blessing and as you read it I believe you will be blessed in it also : To me its about a woman perfected in the perfect love of God,” when I read that I almost started crying. It reminded me that God is using me, no matter of how aimless I feel sometimes.
God will use your honesty, no matter how seemingly insignificant, to encourage people.
4. He uses your passions, no matter how unqualified you feel, to create a lasting impact.
This past year I found myself serving in Tanzania, a country fraught with poverty, desperation and oppression of women. Each day we went house to house and spoke to women who were beat and raped by their husbands, boyfriends and fathers. After already spending four months seeing the abuse of women in other countries, I about had it.
So even though I had absolutely no qualifications to make a difference, my passion birthed a small organization. My teammate and I prayed on how to bring lasting change and implemented a program. Recently my teammate Kelly shared their progress with me.
Some of the women have started to take steps to fulfill their dreams, such as one woman who started a small business by selling chicken eggs and meat, using profits to benefit the kingdom of God. Some other women have learned how to sew, a skill they have always wanted to learn. She said, “We will not forget you from what you started here, and the women will remember you always.”
God will use your passions to create a lasting change.
5. He uses you to have impact on countless others, but the biggest person you impact is yourself.
You have just spent the last five minutes or so reading how God has used a normal girl like me to impact the world for the better. I have no special qualifications, I just show up and try to live like Jesus does.
But for all the people I have impacted, the person who has been most changed through my experiences is me. By showing up and trusting that God could use me, regardless of my flaws or lack of qualifications, I have seen that God is who he says he is.
He is faithful, loving, good, miraculous, virtuous, holy, righteous, caring, comforting and every other good thing you have ever heard of. And by living in relationship with him I have discovered that I can be those things too.
So I don’t know who you are, what you have or haven’t done, what qualifications you do or do not have, but I do know that God can use you to change the world.
So get out there, show up, and change it.