Two days ago, on the 24th, it was my 21st birthday. While most people would be concerned with getting their new license at the DMV or trying to decide what their first legal alcoholic beverage was going to be, I spent my day making the conscious decision to be appreciative and thankful to my family members. Throughout the years, they have put up with a lot from me. I’ve been the cause of anger and tears, sometimes intentional, some just bad programming within myself. I was always the person that knew how to push buttons, and boy did I. Most of the things that I have, came at a price to my mother, but she never complained. My grandmother taps into reserved money so that she can see the way her money is spent, on things that I am passionate about. My grandfather spends the small amounts of money that he has, wishing and hoping for a better life on my sister and I.
I’ve taken so much of my life for granted. I haven’t been appreciative, when all they hoped for was a thank you. Most of the time, I felt that I was owed something, when the opposite was true. I was given anything that I asked for, but it still wasn’t enough. And on top of that, I treated them cruelly.
But yesterday was different. I woke up with a new sense of life. I felt like God was telling me, ‘Everything is going to be different from now on.’
This year, it’s not going to be about me, because it never has been, no matter how much I believed that at one time. My life has always been part of God’s greater plan, and although I didn’t always understand what that meant, I now realize something: I’ve done a lot of talking the talk, but I wasn’t very good at walking the walk. I talked about how important it was to be saved by Christ so that we could have a relationship with God, but my actions never really mirrored that. I talked about how love was the greatest thing we could do, and that we should be kind and compassionate, but in that same breath, I could tear someone down. Looking back on the person that I was, I’m ashamed. I know that I can’t do anything to change the past, but I can make a difference in the lives of people from here on out. Whether that is being kind and showing mercy to the people in my family, or hearing out a friend who had a bad day, things can be different. It’s not always about the big things that we do; sometimes it’s the small, seemingly inconsequential things that mean the most. It’s not always about saying something to someone, sometimes it’s the things that we don’t say; it’s our actions that speak out.
Francis of Assisi said:
Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.
For years, I never knew what that meant, but I finally understand. Everything that we do should be testifying the name of Christ and it’s not always about the words that we use. Anyone can stand up in front of a crowd and tell them about Jesus, but not many people preach the gospel within their daily lives. If nothing else, I think this is one of the most important things that we need to understand. Jesus didn’t preach and command everywhere He went. It was through His actions that He proved the love of His Father in heaven. This is what we should mirror. Using words, only when they are necessary.
Every day this year, I’m setting a challenge for myself. Each day on the sidebar (to the right), I will post what I’m challenging myself to do, whether it be a word of encouragement to someone, or giving a hug when it’s needed. If you’re interested in seeing what I’m up to, check it out. Everything that I do, I pray will be guided by the hand of God, so that people will see His light shining through me.
It’s important for me to make a difference in someone’s life, not only to discipline myself to be like Christ, but also for the benefit of those around me. Everyone needs a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on, and in being that person, the door is opened for Christ to enter in. We are called to be His hands and feet, and I want nothing more than to be His humbled servant.
As I make this commitment to live completely in the light of the Lord, I pray that my family will understand how much I love them. All those years of anger and hatred have now come to me at a price; I can’t take them back. I pray that through my actions, they will know that I appreciate them, more than they know. I know that everyone’s life has rough patches, but I’m blessed more than I could ever make known. I thank God for my family, and for the opportunity to be a part of their lives and stories. They have sacrificed so much for my sister and I, and it hurts me to know how badly I’ve hurt them in the past. They are such beautiful people, and I love them more than words can ever say; so now I will show them.
Jesus Christ made the biggest difference this world has ever, or will ever know; I want to make a difference, for Him.