I’ll get a particular word stuck in my head occasionally and find myself pondering it’s meaning and what that word would look like acted out in real life. You know, like the word snicker. Repeat “snicker” to yourself a few times. Snicker, snicker, snicker. It’s very entertaining. Now think of it’s meaning and act it out in everyday life. It leads to either a sugar overload (candy bar anyone?) or goofy, under your breath, snorty laughter. It’ll probably end up being both if you opt for the sugar overload version. Not that I would know…I’m hypothesizing here…
My current word is “inspire”.
: to make someone want to do something : to give someone an idea about what to do or create
: to cause something to happen or be created
: to cause someone to have a feeling or emotion
: to influence, move, or guide by divine or supernatural inspiration
: to exert an animating, enlivening, or exalting influence on <was particularly inspired by the Romanticists>
: to spur on : impel, motivate <threats don’t necessarily inspire people to work>
: affect <seeing the old room again inspired him with nostalgia>
The coming of a new year usually causes people to look back at the last 12 months of their life and evaluate what kind of year they had. Some people look back and see amazing success, some look back and see horrible pain, most look back and see what could be considered a good year, but one that did not produce anything of lasting significance. This view is what causes us to make New Years resolutions. We want to get to the end of the coming year and be able to look back and say “Look at what I accomplished”.
The coming of a new year also prompts our media to find inspiring stories to share with us. You can Google “inspiring stories of 2014” and all kinds of articles will come up. Why are these so popular? Why do we go looking for these kind of stories? Because we want our lives to be exciting, we want them to make a difference, we want to inspire, but when it all comes crashing together we don’t like the other words that make “inspire” happen. We want to act out the meaning of inspire in our lives but to act that out means we also have to act out sacrifice and craziness.
If we look back on the stories of people that have changed our world, or have changed the lives of those around them, we are going to find that they sacrificed and looked crazy. They had to take an honest look at their lives and ask themselves if they’d be willing to give up anything to make their dream come to life. Not things like their favorite chips or soda, but their homes, their jobs and their time. By sacrificing these things they also look crazy to the people around them. Especially the people that are closest to them. Why? Because it makes us uncomfortable when we see someone willing to give all those things up when we aren’t. We love to read an inspiring story and get the warm fuzzy feelings that come with it, but we don’t want to be around the people that are in the middle of creating that story. We don’t want to be uncomfortable.
Here are some stories of people that have been an inspiration this year. Some of them we know, some we’ve read about:
A U.S. Navy veteran that returned home from duty to find himself lacking purpose. He Decided to help his fellow veterans that had been wounded. He traded all his possessions for hiking gear, camping equipment and food. Then he walked from Jacksonville, FL to San Diego, CA and raises over $62,500 for Wounded Wear, an organization dedicated to helping wounded veterans readjust to everyday life.
A man that loses his job and ends up filing for bankruptcy. Instead of pouring himself into rebuilding the American Dream for himself and his wife and children, they move to China to begin a farm to rescue girls from the sex trade and teach them life skills and give them a safe place to live until they can be out on their own.
The former NFL player that says God has called him to leave the NFL, and his 37million dollar contract, to become a farmer. He had no idea how to farm, so he learned farming from watching YouTube videos. He donates all his harvested crops to homeless shelters and food pantries in his area.
The family that pours nearly all of their time into creating teams to help the homeless in different cities throughout the U.S. They travel to each of the cities and buy supplies with their own funds. They have downsized their home twice so they can use more of their money to help the homeless.
The family that took another family of six into their 3 bedroom home. They allow the family to stay for an entire year, completely free of charge and provided food, simply because God told them to.
That is what it looks like to be an inspiration. It looks like crazy. It looks like sacrifice. It looks like bringing hope to people’s lives. It looks like changing the culture around you.
So, there’s where I’ll leave you. Think of the word inspire and all it entails. Are you wiling to act it out? Are you ready to sacrifice anything to bring change? Are you willing to be thought of as crazy? Are you ready for your life to become a story that reaches untold numbers of people?
Que dramatic music: