Why What You Do Matters

Have you or someone you know ever thought that what you do for a living, the kind deed that no one ever even said “Thank you” to, or just anything you do in life doesn’t matter or won’t count for anything?  Well, there were times in my life when I felt that way.  However, this is a lie from the pit of darkness!  I know a lot of people go through life just “existing” because they feel no one gives a care about them.  And this is very sad. However, know that anything you do, whether good or bad, matters. Here’s why:

  1. There is are rewards and/or consequences to everything you do.–For instance, if you work hard at your job or at school, or whatever you do, in general, you will reap the rewards of so doing.  If you break the law, you will most likely end up in prison or at least have to pay a hefty fine. Even if you don’t see immediate reward, I believe it will come to you. You may have to be patient to see the reward or you may not get it in this life, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get rewarded in eternity.
  2. Everything you do affects, positively or negatively, at least one other person, if not more.–For instance, sometimes when I go to work and I feel discouraged and unappreciated, but I still try to work hard despite these feelings, some people still take notice. How do I know? I have had people come up to me and say good things about my work.  I don’t say this to brag about myself, but to show you that even when you don’t feel appreciated or loved, if you still strive to do your best, people will eventually take notice. The reverse is also true. When you do something bad, people take notice too. For instance, if you always yell at and are rude to people, other people who don’t even know you but hear about you, will either be more cautious around you or avoid you altogether.  So, I encourage everyone to do their very best, because it will affect someone–and someone will eventually take notice.
  3. Every little thing you do will build up or tear down your legacy (i.e. how you will be remembered after you die)–This goes along with points one and two, but everything you do either builds up or tears down what you want your legacy on earth to be. For instance, if I want to (and I do) carry Rachel’s torch and I compromise my morals because I wrongly think that it doesn’t matter what I do or say or that I will make little difference anyway, I would not only be disgracing Rachel’s legacy as a sold-out follower of Christ, but also ruining my legacy of how I would like to be remembered when I die and with what I will leave this world.  However, if I want to be like Jesus Christ, and I strive every day to be loving, forgiving and kind as he was, knowing that everything I do matters, then I will leave quite a different (and more positive) legacy than if I were to compromise who I am for the sake of temporary pleasures on this earth.  So, how do you want to be remembered after you die by your family, friends, and others that know you? What you do matters.

This is why everything you do matters, whether small or great.  So, if you have a job, work hard at it even if no one else seems to. Be different, stand out, and make a positive change in this world. If you are a student, study hard and do all your homework (or even go beyond what is required sometimes), even if 90% of your classmates don’t. Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world!” And I wholeheartedly agree!

On Upsetting the Applecart

Upsetting the applecart, according to Dictionary.com, is to spoil carefully laid out plans.  (Source: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/upset–the–applecart) However, how I define upsetting the applecart, is doing anything that will upset the status quo. For instance, if everyone is supposed to wear red, and you are wearing blue, you may be upsetting the applecart.

Sometimes it is important not to upset the applecart. Examples and explanations of situations where it would not be so wise to upset the applecart would be as follows:

  1. In order to rebel against authority–Ninety percent of the time, it is not a good idea to upset the applecart by rebelling against authority figures in your life, whether it be the police, teachers, or bosses. Not only will you get in trouble, but you will also not likely to induce the changes you want to be made either by the authority themselves, or the peers around you.
  2. By doing something that is illegal and/or immoral.–If you are upsetting the applecart by doing something that is grossly immoral or illegal because you don’t like something or because you want to do what you want to without any regard to the consequences of your actions, that is being reckless. It is not really changing anything or really “upsetting the applecart” in any positive or significant way.

There are other times, however, when it would be very wise to upset the applecart. Examples of these may be as follows:

  1. When the people around you are doing something wrong or unproductive (i.e..when things that “have always been done this way” will not accomplish the desired result or results in the long run). –For instance,  if you work in an environment where people are regularly nasty to each other and are always fighting, you can upset the applecart, so to speak, by refusing to engage in that environment or instead be speaking encouraging things to those you meet there.
  2. When you want to accomplish sustained, positive change in the world around you.–For example, many countries in the past engaged in enslaving people that they thought were “inferior” to themselves.  Now we know that that is wrong. In the past, many thought it was just the way things were, but abolitionists like William Wilberforce and Fredrick Douglas, worked together to eventually put an end to slavery here in the U.S.   They upset the slave owners’ applecart, so to speak, to win the freedom of millions of mistreated African slaves in the U.S.
  3. When you want to be true to your values and convictions, even if everyone else around you is not in agreement.–For instance, my faith hero, Rachel Scott, made a dent in this world and upset the applecart, by being not only vocal about her Christian faith but also applying her faith to her daily life, even though it meant her losing all of her good friends at school.  Another situation where upsetting the applecart may be wise is when you see someone being unfairly treated or bullied, and you stand up for the bully’s victim even when no one else will. This is not primarily about making you a hero, but more about doing the right thing and instigating a positive change in your world.

Whether or not you choose to upset the applecart, the most important thing to remember is how to do it correctly.  Remember that upsetting the applecart may be difficult because you are going against the status quo, the grain, so to speak. Some people may not respect your convictions or what you’re doing, but if it is the right thing to do, do it anyway.  You may even lose some support along the way, but if you know that this is the right thing to do, don’t give up.

Here’s how to upset the applecart most effectively:

  1. Think about how you will upset the applecart.–For instance, if your work or school environment is a place where there are a lot of cliques and infighting, determine a way you will change that by not subscribing to the same things your colleagues or classmates are. In this example, I would want to upset the applecart by not participating in the gossip and infighting myself, and by hanging out with many different types of people, not just ones with whom I feel comfortable.
  2. Determine you will be different in some way than the status quo.–Stand out in some way. –Don’t be afraid to be different, or be yourself, in situations where upsetting the applecart would benefit others.   For instance, in multiple sources, Rachel Scott, my faith hero, is quoted as saying, “I won’t be labeled as average.” Rachel Scott was known for upsetting the applecart in a positive way.  Her faith and compassion for others stood out. She hung out and encouraged those who no one considered or wanted to be around.  She held firm to moral boundaries but rejected shallowness and fakeness.
  3. Hold firm to your convictions and beliefs always.–Never let what other people think of you and/or your beliefs hinder you in any way. Never surrender your beliefs and convictions if you know that you are right. Yes, be open to others’ wisdom and advice if you are wrong about something or to understand people better. However, never let someone change your beliefs and convictions based only on their benefit or just to please them.  Change only because you (or God) want(s) you to.

Upsetting the applecart allows us not only to stand out and be different but also to initiate effective change to our world and those around us. Change, and upsetting the applecart can be upsetting to some people, but they are necessary ingredients to improve oneself and the world around you.

 

How To Be a Coffee Bean (or Change Your World)

This analogy/story is inspired by one of my managers at work who told us this following story (origin–unknown) to motivate us during a meeting we had:

One day, a mother wanted to teach her daughter a lesson, and so she told her daughter to buy these three ingredients: carrots, eggs and coffee beans. After the daughter bought these items, her mother told her to boil them and to tell her what happened.  So, after boiling these three items, this is what she told her mother: The carrots that were hard before they got boiled became soft after they were boiled. The eggs, which were previously soft, became hard, but the coffee beans stayed the same and permeated everything around them. 

Our manager told us not to be like the carrot which became soft under pressure (boiled). She told us not to be like the eggs, which hardened (became calloused) under pressure, but to be like the coffee beans that stayed the same under pressure and then permeated everything around them.  This concept, in Christian circles, is called “Being a Light,”  but can be applied to most anyone, regardless of belief. Here’s what I found are just three characteristics of people who positively change the world (i.e. “became a coffee bean”).

  1.  They invested in people.–These coffee bean-like people invested in others, not just themselves, or not just them and a few close family members and friends. This means they intentionally strove to positively interact with everyone around them.  This does not mean they succeed every time, but it also means they strive to make a positive impact on the majority they meet, not just a few people.  When I think of people like that, I think of all five of my faith heroes (for more on my faith heroes, see this post.), who inspired others to live their best life possible.  I think of my pastor, Pastor David Shoaf, who has served in the same church for over 40 years and has touched almost everyone he met there. I think of Chris* (NOT his real name) who makes sure people have time off work sometimes because he cares that people have families and lives outside the job and my manager Tom* (NOT his real name) who helps his workers succeed and strive for excellence every day.
  2. Be genuine.–What my faith heroes and coffee beans have in common are their genuineness. They both don’t change who they are because they are pressured to “fit in,” or because they “feel like it.” For instance, one of my faith heroes, Jesus Christ, did not change His purpose, mission, or personality just so that the Pharisees would like him. He always stayed true to His character. Also, another of my faith heroes, Rachel Scott, had lost all her friends due to her newfound faith in Christ. Even so, she was adamant about staying true to her belief and who she was, and not some tamed-down image of who her friends thought she should be. Never change who you are due to circumstances or people wanting to mold you into their own image of how you “should” be. Be true to yourself, while still willing to be open and teachable to change for the better, but change for your own reasons, not just another person’s.
  3. Stand Out.-Finally, and perhaps most importantly, in order to be a true world-changer or coffee bean, you have to stand out. Rachel Scott has been quoted in multiple sources as saying, ” I won’t be labeled as average.” In order to be a true coffee bean, you have to want to be better than average in your mentality and attitude towards life. That is, you can’t just blend in, be like everyone else, and/or do the minimum.  For instance, at work, one way I am trying to be a coffee bean is to work hard every day, and sometimes even volunteer to do extra work when I have the time and when needed, to help others. Moreover, I strive for excellence in my work, and not simply to get things done. Rachel Scott stood out by being kind to everyone around her, not just the people she looked up to or with who she got along well.  She even was kind to those boys who would later murder her, and also to those who were shunned, looked down upon, or made fun of by everyone else in her school or by society.

These are the three things everybody who is like a coffee bean have and examples of how one can imitate them. Coffee-bean like people always have a positive impact in this world, and sometimes it is very great! Resolve to be your best–Be a coffee bean today!

Carrying Rachel’s Torch

One of my faith heroes has always been Columbine student Rachel Joy Scott, who was murdered in 1999 by two of her classmates. Rachel is my faith hero because of her great belief in God and because she has all the positive qualities I would like to embody in myself. Also, I must note that she wasn’t perfect so I can relate to some of her experiences very well, especially when I fall down or sin.

After I watched the movie “I Am Not Ashamed,” which is based on Rachel Scott’s life, God has inspired me not only to try to live out Rachel’s five challenges but also to carry her torch.

What is carrying Rachel’s Torch?

For Rachel’s 5 challenges, click here, and then click on the box where it says, “Program Challenges.” Carrying Rachel’s torch, to me,  involves not only striving to live out her five challenges every day but also to live a life that properly honors her life and legacy.

How do we (I) carry Rachel’s torch? 

Carrying Rachel’s torch not only involves living out the five challenges in Rachel’s challenge but also making these promises to yourself and to the community around you:

  1. I will strive to make a positive difference in my world and to do this with all my heart. –I remember that Rachel Scott wrote in her journal, ” I will not be labeled as average,” and so I don’t want to be either.
  2. I will strive to think of others before myself.– While Rachel wanted her peers to love and like her, sometimes they didn’t and outright rejected her because of her bold faith in Christ.  Rachel believed that others needed to know about God’s love, and she was willing to risk her own reputation so that people could know and experience Christ’s love. While she certainly didn’t believe in forcing people to convert, she did believe in sharing how He has impacted her life and even that sometimes shocked people.  She also sometimes risked her safety and comfort to help others in need. Her fellow torch bearers also will strive to live in the same way.
  3. I will strive to intentionally love and offer my friendship and support to people who are hurting or otherwise in need.–Rachel always intentionally strove to offer her love and kindness to those in need or were hurting. She even approached a formerly homeless man and offered to help him through his tough time. She also reached out to her killers before they committed the massacre and offered friendship to them.
  4.  I will strive never to hate anyone who hurts me.—Rachel never ever hated anyone, except maybe the devil. If someone gets upset and angry at her, it hurts her too, but she never (as far as I know) exacted vengeance on them. Rachel’s torch bearers should strive to do the same, and make an impact, like her, with love instead of hate.
  5. If I fail at any of these above objectives, I will shake the dust off my feet, so to speak, and carry Rachel’s torch again. –I bet Rachel sometimes failed at meeting her own standards, but like Rachel, we should not give up! We should keep trying!

Why the torch metaphor?
In the Olympics, a torch bearer in a marathon was to carry another’s torch and then pass it to others in order to successfully complete the race. Similarly, we are all running in a similar, longer race. It is called the “Race of Life.” We all want to be successful and belong somewhere.  In this instance, I use the torch metaphor in order to describe how we all can carry on Rachel Scott’s legacy not only so her positive impact on this world and the community around her will not be forgotten but also how we can all work as a team to finish the Race of Life well and to continue what Rachel started.

Epilogue

Personally, carrying Rachel’s torch will be a struggle for me, but this is what gives me a purpose and reason to live. Of course, this purpose pales a bit to glorifying God and enjoying Him forever, which will always be my number one purpose in life.  What do you think of carrying Rachel’s torch? Are you ready? Please comment here.

sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rachel_Scott

https://rachelschallenge.org/

Things I Learned From the Movie “I’m Not Ashamed”

As of this writing (July 5, 2017–publication will come later), I watched the movie “I’m Not Ashamed.” Although it is slow in parts, this was a pretty good movie and has taught me some very important lessons in life. This movie is based on the true-life story of Columbine martyr, Rachel Scott, whose life of faith and love has inspired me to pattern my life after hers. I also consider her to be one of my five faith heroes I list on my blog’s front page.  Here’s what I learned about life through the telling of Rachel Scott’s story through this movie:

  1. Love, compassion, and perseverance go a long way.—Rachel’s love, compassion, and perseverance not only in this movie but also in her real life, have also inspired many (like me) to pattern their lives after hers.  For instance, Rachel sees a guy taking the pizza from her youth group and was looking standoffish, and then he quickly leaves. Instead of ignoring him, she follows him into the street where he incidentally was living and confronts him.  He later tells her that his name is Nate and to basically leave him alone. Knowing something is off about him, she persists and when he tries to steal food from a store to feed his ailing mom, she volunteers to pay for them with her meager paycheck.  She doesn’t just stop there but continues to show him love and compassion as he eventually accepts Christ and grows in his faith. He then ends up helping her through tough times too.  Also, when Rachel’s best friend Madison steals her then-boyfriend Alex, and Rachel catches them making out together, Rachel, by the end of the movie, ends up sending Madison a note of compassion and forgiveness for having betrayed her (Rachel).  Most people when betrayed would either try to take vengeance on the offender or stay away from them and cut off relations completely with them. However, Rachel persisted in showing kindness and forgiveness to Madison even after she was betrayed by Madison. By the end of the movie, Madison also is touched by the forgiveness and love Rachel showed her before she (Rachel) died.
  2. Christians are not perfect.–Rachel was not the perfect Christian. She got in trouble by drinking and smoking with her girlfriends and her attempts to pursue a popular, attractive guy in school put her in situations where she wasn’t comfortable.  She snuck out of her parents’ house–probably more than once. In the movie,  it was even shown that Rachel attempted suicide once by jumping off a bridge near her home because she was so depressed. This does not mean us Christians are  “bad” or “evil” people, but like everyone else, we come with problems and baggage. However, like I explained in #1,  Rachel picked the dust off her feet, so to speak, and tried to do better next time, just like we all do, regardless of belief or lack thereof.
  3. Everyone has a story.–In the movie, Rachel’s story was intertwined with those of her killers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. Also, there were snippets of the story of Nate, Alex, and several of Rachel’s friends. The point is, though, that everyone has a life story, and if we care about changing the world for the positive, we need to listen to these stories! Sure we can’t “fix” everyone’s problems, and we probably shouldn’t always be trying to either, but if we know where people are coming from and their life goals and motivation, maybe we can encourage and support them better.  Also, knowing other people’s stories helps us not only understand them better but also our own life story and how theirs can intersect beautifully with theirs.  For instance, I believe God is using the people I work with, especially one of my managers, to help create not only a better life story for me, but also for them as well.

Though no one is perfect or better than another human being, showing love and compassion like Rachel Scott did will go a long way to change our world for the better.  However, we must persevere even when life gets difficult in order to see results.  We must also learn others’ stories to help not only we understand them better, but also ourselves better. Be a light to this world; it may just start a chain reaction!

How To Get Along With Difficult People

We all have them in our lives-People that we either don’t get along with at all, or just people that are more challenging to cope with to us.  However, sooner or later, we will be confronted with someone whom we must get along with even if it is rather difficult to do so. Using what I learned from various experiences in my life, here’s what I found are effective ways to cope with them:

  1. Don’t argue or fight with them— In my own life, I had several people who just refused to see “my side of things,” and I just tried to argue them to my side–of course to no avail! I also found the more we argued about things, the angrier I felt, and the more hopeless I felt that they’d ever be reconciled to me, or I to them. However, I found that trying to find a compromise with them, or even just letting them have their way sometimes works to avoid tense arguments with people.  For instance, if we wanted to order food for a party, and they wanted to order ice cream  for everyone, and I wanted pizza instead.-instead of me trying to argue that we should order pizza, I would just either let them order ice cream since most people would probably like either anyway, or we order half pizza and half ice cream. That way, everyone gets what they wanted. I get my pizza, and he or she gets their ice cream.
  2. Find their “Light.”–This idea originated with Rachel Scott, one of my faith heroes, in her essay “My Codes, My Ethics,” which can be found here. It basically means to find something admirable about them, other than their outer appearance. For instance, a person that I had trouble getting along with before can be a really hard worker. Additionally, this person is often very flexible. However, I would never have found that out or considered this had I only focused on all their negative personality traits! After finding their positive trait or traits (i.e.. their Light), I would try to cultivate that positive trait by encouraging them in it. For instance, I would say to that aforementioned person, “I find it really encouraging that you worked really diligently on  project today. I think it will turn out wonderfully! ” Be specific in your praise or encouragement. Name specific instances in which the person cultivate that trait. Also, be genuine and heart felt about your praise. People know whether you are being “fake” in your praise or if you genuinely mean it.
  3. Try to understand them and their point of view–If the difficult person has hurt you, try to understand their motivation behind it. It’s usually not completely malicious. Were they having a bad day? Do you rub them the wrong way? Are they going through or have they gone through something stressful or traumatic recently or in their recent past? Are they just plain evil or malicious? In order to understand their motivation, you need to attempt to cultivate some type of communication with them. You may just need to be honest and ask them, “Why aren’t we getting along?” or even “Why do you feel the need to hurt me by doing “X”?” and name specific instances where they have hurt you. Then, you will be able to find out their motivation. If they are just evil, then stay far away from them until they come to their senses and repent, but this is often rarely the case. If they are going through something stressful or traumatic, try to encourage or comfort them through it. Be there to offer them any moral support they may want or need. Did you contribute in any way to their hurting you? For instance, did you display a snarky attitude and as a result they shot back nasty words towards you (not right on their part, but understandable), apologize and make amends. I must note, that yes all and any of these situations are not excuses for anyone to hurt us, and get away from an abuser if you are able to, but trying to understand their motivation may make it easier to be at peace with them and be able to forgive them.
  4. If they come to their senses or repent, forgive them–This is easier said than done. We don’t forgive for them, or because they “deserve” it. No one deserves our forgiveness, and we don’t deserve anyone else’s either. Forgiveness is an act of grace one offers to another.  We forgive to rid ourselves of the anger, bitterness, and resentment in our souls that eats us up and threatens to destroy our other relationships or at least make them less fulfilling to us.  Also, forgiveness does not mean that the person responsible for hurting us does not need to face consequences for their actions. You are absolutely allowed (and it would be wise) to set boundaries and, if applicable, reparations be made for you and the other people affected that they hurt.
  5. If you are religious, pray for them.–I am a Christian, and one of my friends at church told me to pray for a person with whom I had problems, and to my surprise, prayer helped! My friend told me that I had to pray good things for them, and nothing bad or snarky. So, I did. I would also encourage people to thank God for specific qualities of that difficult person that are admirable. This goes back to 2.)–finding qualities of that person that are admirable or positive. Also, pray to God for the difficult person’s heart to be softened.  Praying like this changed my attitude towards them. The attitude I have towards this person now compared to before I prayed for them is nothing short of miraculous! I believe God works in mysterious and amazing ways, so we can be at peace with everyone  (or at least almost everyone).

We all have difficult people that we must cope with in our lives, whether it be people in our families, people at work or school, or in other places. In order to be successful in society, we must learn to effectively work or cope with them.  I hope these tips will help us to cope better in these challenging situations.  May we be a Light shining in the darkness, and be able to cope effectively with these difficult people, and maybe even befriend them!

Things I Want to Do Before I Die (and why)

It can be a sad fact of life—we have a limited amount of time here on earth. However, I believe that we should make the most of it. To me, this is by setting goals and by working as diligently as possible to accomplish them. Here are just some of my lifetime goals:

  1. Lead at least one person to Christ.—I want to be able to do this, not just for the sake of “converting” people, which I can’t do anyway.–Why?-That is for a discussion in another post at another time. However, I just want to be able to see someone experience the fullness of God’s love and forgiveness in their lives, like I have experienced.
  2. Glorify God with everything I have.–I want to do this so that God will be pleased with me when I die, and also to share God’s love with others. Instead of hearing, ” Depart from me, you evildoer.” from God after I die, I want to hear, ” Well done, good and faithful one.” I don’t want to just be average, but I want to excel. I expect a lot out of myself to accomplish for God.
  3. Move up in the job where I am right now— Right now I am just a sales associate, but would like to move up someday not only so that I get a bigger paycheck, but also so I can minister to more people and have more of an impact. I would also like to be able to find a job more easily should the company I’m in right now lay me off or go bankrupt, which I hope won’t happen any time soon!
  4. Be a better person– I would like to strive to be a more relatable, less angry person so that I could maximize my impact in this world for the positive. I also strive to be a better person through glorifying God and growing in my faith as a Christian believer.
  5. Become a published author– Whether it will be through this blog or through my poetry or other writings I may create, I hope to be able to publish something that people will actually read and enjoy someday. One of my favorite authors is Dave Burchett whose blog can be found here.
  6. Learn more about different topics-Whether it be social justice issues, feminism, my faith in Christ, or creation, I would like to learn as much as possible about the world around me, so that I can understand and serve it better. I also believe the phrase, “Knowledge is power,” and would like to be able to use that Knowledge power for good to those around me.
  7. Become a better writer– I want to constantly perfect my craft (i.e. writing) and write things that will not only interest other people, but will also get people to think about their  lives and why and how they are living it. I also want to tidy up my grammatical and spelling errors, so that I don’t make them the next time.  I would like to be able to say things in such a way that it is not only concise, but says exactly what I want to say and what I want readers to hear.
  8. Impact as much people as possible. This is what one of my faith heroes, Rachel Joy Scott, would call a “chain reaction.” I would like to not only impact one person ,but as many souls as possible, for the good. I would like people to feel loved and appreciated by me, and if they are not and I have a bad day, then I would like to be humble enough to sincerely apologize and repent.
  9. Tell people about my beliefs, and listen to others’ beliefs- This means not only my religious beliefs, but all beliefs. Yes, there are some people who probably would not want to hear them, and that’s OK. I will not share them with those people, and I respect them. However, for those who want to hear, I will share them, but at the same time try to understand their beliefs and how they are similar and different with mine and come to an understanding.
  10.  Cultivate more joy in my life– I would like to cultivate not just happiness, which is fleeting, but true, lasting joy! I would like to enjoy things as much as possible. I will strive to do this by being passionate about my interests and goals, and by trying to enjoy each moment God has given me to live on this earth. I will try to at least list three things (either in a personal journal or in my head) of things I’m grateful for each day .

Jesus’ Love for Mankind (and how to cultivate it)

Disclaimer: Will have religious/Christian content. So, please note that and NO disparaging comments or they will be deleted. Thank you. This post is also made in honor of Rachel Joy Scott, who died 18 years ago today, because she lived with so much love and grace even in the face of suffering.

Almost all of us have heard the song/phrase, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so,” but this phrase can get so trite that it almost loses its meaning and depth.  When people quote that song lyric or phrase to me, I want to say, ” Well, do you know how much Jesus loves you?” From professing Christians, I would probably hear, “Sure, He died for my sins!” From others, it would probably be, “Yes, He loves everyone!” Both responses would lack the depth and the height and the width of His love! In fact, anything I say cannot compare to how much He loves us!

I was doing my devotions yesterday, and am doing New Testament on weekdays, and Psalms (eventually Proverbs) on weekends. I was on John 13 yesterday, and was struck by HOW MUCH Jesus loved His disciples, and by implication, us too!  Jesus loved His disciples SO much that He was willing to wash His disciples’ feet. Usually, this service was reserved for Non-Jewish slaves, not a Jewish rabbi, as His disciples revered Him as! And certainly, it was not the picture of God they had in mind!  He even washed the feet of Judas Iscariot, who would so callously betray Him just hours later. And Jesus knew this too! He also washed Peter’s feet, who would deny even knowing Him hours later. Of course, Jesus also knew this, as well as the other disciples, who would desert Him in His time of need. (John 18:25-27, Mark 14:50) Jesus also did this humble act of love, just before He was to die a most brutal death for our (and their) sins, and He knew that too!  Not only did Jesus wash His disciples’ feet, but He also served them a meal (i.e.. The Last Supper). This is why we should strive not only to life for (or be responsible for) ourselves, but also for others, even our enemies, as well.

While there are times when we need what I call “self-care” to be re-energized and recharged so we can better serve others, living completely for only oneself is not good either, as this following anecdote I posted on Facebook will illustrate.

In September of 2009, Majorie Orbin was convicted of murdering her husband Jay Orbin in a most brutal fashion. During her marriage, she had had several affairs..and already been married 6 other times. Her credo that drove this lifestyle was this, in her own words: At 18, I was told that I could not have children. So I made a conscious decision at that point in my life I would only be responsible for myself. I danced, I traveled. I worked hard, played hard, went through a few marriages.

But this is how it is when Jesus takes hold of your heart and you make a conscious decision to live for others (also from my Facebook-bold emphasis mine):

 In about the year 1999, I was suffering from depression and lived a very selfish lifestyle. I wasn’t what people would call a “bad person,” but I WAS to an extent only responsible for myself—being successful in school was an idol. Like Majorie, I was looking for people to love and accept me for who I was and not really finding true joy in that search.

Then, sometime in the year 2000, Jesus Christ took a hold of my heart and life. Today I am in my 30s, and like Majorie I can’t have children either (namely because I haven’t been able to find a significant other yet). Because of Christ, I have made a conscious decision to serve God and others the best way I can, even if sometimes this is exhausting, not because I’m some saint (trust me, I’m NOT), but because Jesus is my Lord and Savior and He deserves nothing less! Praise Jesus,and thank you all, my life overall has been nothing short of AMAZING!

So, like Jesus, we should strive to live for and serve God and others, through our attitudes, words and actions by willing to help others out even in the times we don’t feel like it or we feel we have nothing left to give by drawing upon God’s strength to help you.  This is especially true when we have to serve people whom we don’t like or are hard to love, because when we show them our love, it shows that a.) We won’t give up on them  b.) We are “heaping burning coals on their head” (i.e….they will start to feel bad or pronounce judgment on themselves for treating us badly–because why would you treat someone badly who treats you so well?!)  c.) Who we belong to (Jesus) not our own sinful selves.  I admit that I don’t always succeed at doing this, but God is teaching me slowly how to love everyone–even those who give me a difficult time. May you do the same, and find your life so rewarding and fulfilling in the process!

How I Plan to Implement Rachel’s 5 Challenges In My Life

Before I can talk about how I will implement Rachel’s 5 challenges in my life, I need to explain what the 5 challenges are and where they came. Rachel Joy Scott was a devout Christian believer who was murdered on April 20, 1999 in Columbine High School by two of her classmates mainly because of her faith, along with about a dozen other souls.  She inspires me because of her commitment to her beliefs and her devotion and desire to help hurting people know God’s love.  These 5 Challenges, called Rachel’s Challenge(s), are 5 tenets that characterized how Rachel lived according to those who knew her best—her family— and are inspiring people all over the world, including me, to live like Rachel did. I want to share how I personally want to implement these 5 challenges not because I want to brag or be all holy-moley or something, but because I want you the reader to hold me accountable and because I want to see more and more people know the magnitude of Christ’s love not only through me, but through other people as well.  I probably won’t be perfect at this (CORRECTION: I know I won’t be perfect at this, but I strive to do the best I can at living these 5 tenets every day for the rest of my life.)

These are the 5 Challenges and below each one is how I plan to implement them in my life:

1.) Look for the Best in Others

I plan to use one of my personal credos (from the last post I did) in order to help me live this tenet—Never throw out anyone.  I will strive to never give up on someone, unless my safety is in danger or the other person gives up on me.  I will always strive to help someone in need, and to look for the good in everyone, even those who sometimes (or oftentimes) give me a difficult time.  This may mean getting to know them better by asking them how they view life, how I can be praying for them,  and what I can do to relate to them better. I will strive to thank anyone that does anything good for me or for another person. I will let more people in my life know that they are appreciated and loved by me.

2.) Continue to Dream

I will strive to be the best I can every day, and think of new ways to glorify Christ in my work and at home.  I will try my best at everything even if it costs me, and even if at first I feel like giving up and giving in.  I will set goals for myself and reward myself when I accomplish them. I will live each day with a purposeful attitude.  I will continue to dream of better days when things get difficult and when things are good. I will continue to hope.

3.) Be a Positive Influence

I plan to strive to be a positive influence in others’ lives. I will continue praying everyday that I would show the light of Christ at home and at work and not be my selfish, sinful self. I will commit myself to show more  humility when I am corrected or when I do something sinful, and quickly repent of that sinful action or attitude.   I will try to be an encouragement to at least one person everyday, whether at home, work or elsewhere.  I will strive to work hard in everything I do, not doing anything with a half-hearted attitude. I will pray and work to be more like Christ everyday.

4. ) Speak and Act with Kindness

I will strive to be more conscious to make sure my words and actions are, in fact, kind.  I will continue to write encouraging notes to people at work when I see they need it.  I will share encouragement, whether it be song lyrics,  a kind word, or doing something tangibly kind for others, not to only feel good about myself, but to let them know about God’s love for them and that they are valued and loved by me. I will apologize if I speak or act in ways that are unkind and/or unChristlike, and strive to make amends to the person or the persons I offended.

5.) Start your own Chain Reaction

By doing these four other things, I hope to start a chain reaction, where others will be happy to follow my lead and create what I call, ” A Generation of Kindness,” where ultimately (maybe also in eternity) everyone around me will feel loved and valued not only by God and me, but by all those around them.  I will encourage others to “pay it forward” when I do something nice that they appreciate, so that others in their life that I may  not know will be able to experience the same blessing from them that I gave them.

 

source: http://rachelschallenge.org/programs/corporate