As a little girl, I always dreamed of making a difference in the world, whether it was as a heroine from my favorite cartoon, or becoming an author or teacher who changed other kids lives the way my teachers and favorite writers changed mine.
As I got older in middle school and high school, and my family faced a lot of financial challenges, I dreamed of making a difference by giving the hope of financial security and the American dream to my family.
After working really hard in school and attending Stanford University and becoming more aware of the social injustices in our society, I wanted to make a difference in politics in the field of education policy.
Then, as a single professional, I learned that one of the greatest differences I could make started with changing my own life from the inside out.
As a mom, I want to make a difference by raising my daughter to have faith, empathy, character and a passion to make a difference in the world.
Have you wondered how you can become a woman who makes your life count? Do you wish you could make more of a difference, but with the busyness and demands of life, you are not sure where to begin?
That’s okay! We can all feel this way at different points. In light of our 2016 Girls Night Out events entitled “Make it Count,” here are 3 steps to help you begin in the journey of becoming a woman who makes her life count.
1. Faith in God’s Word
16 The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right. 17 It is God’s way of making us well prepared at every point, fully equipped to do good to everyone.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 TLB
So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:11 NIV
God’s Word gives us the opportunity to reflect on how we are living and what areas we can change from the inside out to become women equipped to make our lives count. Often times, with the demands of life as a mom, as a wife, and as a working professional, I can feel inadequate when it comes to really living a life that makes a difference. When I rely on my own strength, I’m tired, anxious, irritable and just relieved that I survived the day.
I’m grateful that I don’t just need to rely on myself but that I can turn to the Bible for answers. Isaiah 55 talks about how the Scriptures always achieve the purpose God desires. How familiar are you with the Bible? Is it something you read and apply to your life daily? Do you put your faith in God’s word, or do you rely on your own experiences, wisdom, circumstances or emotions? The Bible will help us to change from the inside out and give us the strength and vision to make our lives count.
If this is something you are interested in doing, but not sure where to start, joining a small group bible study or getting involved with a group of people in your same stage of life will give you guidance in this area.
2. Unclutter your heart
“And give my son Solomon an uncluttered and focused heart so that he can obey what you command, live by your directions and counsel, and carry through with building the Temple for which I have provided.”
1 Chronicles 29:19 MSG
I have a 2-year-old daughter who loves clutter. When I am cleaning up after her to clear the floor so she can walk on it, she usually protests because she likes all her toys on the floor where she can find them. While physical clutter can drive me crazy because I do not enjoy tripping over toys on the floor, I can have quite a tolerance for emotional clutter. These are some signs that my heart is cluttered:
- I am emotionally full and I feel like I can’t handle anything else
- I’m unaware of my emotions or hard-hearted to avoid dealing with hard truths
- I find myself reacting too much to circumstances around me
This Scripture in 1 Chronicles talks about having an uncluttered heart to be able to focus on what God wants and being able to build something that makes a difference in the world.
Often times my heart becomes cluttered because in my pride, I’m trying to handle things with my own strength by hardening my heart or trying to control things around me rather than being humble and relying on God. Pride makes me selfish because I’m full of self-focused fears about the things I’m trying to control, micromanage, make happen on my own strength.
When I prioritize uncluttering my heart, I have room emotionally to be able to love others and make a difference in their lives.
One thing that has helped me to unclutter my heart is journaling out every day what I feel and realizing what drives me. I take time to identify what makes me feel guilt, sadness or fear. This gives me clarity and awareness of my heart condition.
Another way to unclutter my heart is being able to meet up with friends and talk about what is really going on. Check out one of our Sunday or midweek services in many different locations around the Bay Area to find a group of friends who share a desire to make a difference.
3. Consistent prayer
Once I’m aware of my heart condition through journaling and relationships, taking all of these things to God in prayer makes a big difference.
Jesus told them a story showing that it was necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit.
Having deeper prayers where I pray through everything – especially the hard things I’m tempted to brush over – and actually surrender my mind and let the Bible shape my thinking is a necessary part of letting go of my emotional burdens so I can be freed up to help others. I don’t always connect right away so it takes consistency and perseverance to be able to go deeper, but I promise you, once you do, it’s very rewarding!
Once you’ve unburdened, you can have room in your heart to focus on praying for others.
Some ideas of what you can pray about to make your life count:
- Whose life in your family are you meant to change? How? What do you need to overcome in order to help them?
- Pray about vision for your community: Why are you living in the neighborhood you are living in? Why do you work where you work? Why do your kids go to school where they go? Who can you reach out to befriend? How can you make a difference in their lives and in the community?
- If there’s one thing you can focus on changing in order to have the empathy, focus, and energy to love others what would it be?
To learn more about becoming a woman who makes her life count, join us for one of our many Girls Night Out events, happening throughout the month of March all over the Bay Area. I hope you will join me on the journey to becoming a woman who makes your life count!