I have been challenged lately to live a little beyond myself, and my own circle of what works best for me. I have been reading a blog called Sit A Spell about a family who sold it all, put what was left in storage, and moved to Haiti for a year. The writing is raw but funny, truthfully painful but painfully truthful, not allowing the reader to glaze over what life is truly like in Haiti. Reading about two months worth of posts one night left me feeling like there really has to be something more to life, a way to live beyond myself right now, in this place.
It is easy to feel helpless, like whatever I do isn't enough, so I won't do anything at all. As one person, how much difference can I make? I changed my thoughts, though, to take the starfish approach. You've probably heard the story about the guy throwing starfish back into the water, one at a time, even though there are thousands of them on the beach. A man comes along and says "Really, what difference does it make to throw a few back into the ocean?" The guy throwing them back says "It matters to this one."
I, as one person, can make a difference in one other person's life. I can't change the world, but I can stop living just for myself. One simple thing that I have committed to change is how I spend money. We are going to try hard to have a "socially aware" Christmas. I checked out a local shop that features items made by craftsmen around the world, and found things that my kids would enjoy. I can live out God's command to love my neighbor by shopping...how easy is that?
I have a friend that is using her gift of making jewelry to help a missionary she has never met. She is selling freshwater pearl necklaces to raise money for a plane ticket to a conference it would benefit him to attend. I bought a few as Christmas presents. I have this picture in my head of people wearing these necklaces someday meeting this man in Heaven, knowing that they helped him in sharing the gospel in Nepal where he lives. We are all connected in some way, little points of light all over the globe.
In the Haiti blog, the author highlights a ministry called Heartline Ministries that serves pregnant women until their babies reach six months of age, teaches them the gospel through weekly Bible study, and teaches them a trade. They make and sell purses with the money going back to the individual seamstress. I'll be co-hosting a purse party with a friend in October sometime. Think about the difference you could make in someone's life just by doing a little Christmas shopping.
Instead of living defeated in a world full of problems that are just too big for one person to solve, think about one thing you can do today to make someone's life just a little better. Just one thing. Of course your nice thing doesn't have to cost money, but I find that talk is cheap. Putting my money where my mouth is, and where I say my heart is, is the real challenge for me.