It’s a typical weekday. I’m sitting at my desk looking out at the quiet neighborhood street in front of me. I’ve intentionally turned my back to the dirty tissues, playmobile soldiers, violin cases, construction paper, second-hand books, and broken pencils on the floor behind me. The teasing, squabbling, grumbling, and whining voices across the house have silenced for a few blessed minutes of afternoon quiet while I sit alone and bang on the keyboard.
And think of you.
I am imagining you, surrounded by matching laundry piles, smelly cleats, broken glasses, and stained carpet. And I’m imagining the tremendous influence you exert on the world today.
How you are changing your world.
Now, I can see the faint pink of blush spreading across your cheeks as you shake your head, cast down your eyes, and deny the influence you wield. But it’s true, and it’s time you believe it.
You are changing the world in the simple way you live each hour.
It is easy, isn’t it, to minimize our work. But all those roles you play — wife, mother, teacher, employee, volunteer, ministry leader, friend — combine to magnify your influence across your world. So many lives are changed because of simple character traits you poses.
You are approachable.
You are the go-to friend, the one who picks up the phone, the one who lends a hand and an ear and an hour. You listen for painful moment after awkward silence while hurt is cried loud and hard across phone, over the miles, out from the jagged wounds. You reach out in compassion to give hope, presents, and the presence of empathy. You open wide your arms and your eyes and your heart.
You are sensitive.
You know when to listen and when to speak, when to offer advice and when to commiserate, when to encourage and when to rebuke. You feel the other’s hurt in your stomach, cry tears of joy for answered prayer, and flush hot at injustice. It is from this place of real empathetic companionship that you speak reality to and for your loved ones. You magnify their heart.
You are consistent.
You show up — not to show off, but to shore up the need and fill the gap. You put your feet on the floor on cold, dismal, thankless Thursdays and drive across town on sleety, slicky Saturdays to meet the needs. Everyone knows where you are, what you are doing, who you are, and what you will say, because your character, love, and grace are steadfast. You are the same friend today that you were last year and that you will be next year.
You are intentional.
You know you can’t do it all. Your world is limited to your lifetime, your unique abilities, your sphere of influence. So you make the most of your opportunities and make room for those of others. Your priorities are yours alone, and you are increasingly confident in the special path and individualized calling God has for you.
You are optimistic.
Where others see moody teenagers, broken windows, muddy paw prints, and missing books, you see infinite potential. From the midst of the laundry pile, from the top of the dirty dish stack, from the bottom of the receipts, from the back of the cluttered closet, you know there is endless possibility. You have a vision for your loved ones, your friends, and your community, and you aren’t afraid to share it.
So go forth, my friend, and pick up those dirty socks, answer that email, cook that ground beef, and diaper that bottom. Keep being approachable, sensitive, consistent, intentional, and optimistic.