Wife to my high school sweetheart, boy mama to sweet baby boy Macrae, and two fur babies Shiloh and Milo, a full time high school history teacher, and overall enthusiast for life. Avid podcast listener, iced coffee drinker, and organized chaos manager. My passion is to encourage and inspire. To cultivate an intentional life, a life full of joy and an abundance of grace.
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In life there are these moments, moments that inspire you and change you, moments that completely wreck your heart and reshape you, to a better, stronger mold.
I had one of these moments last week and I have not been the same since.
Last week, we had a leader academy meeting with a small group of high school students. These students were nominated and then selected to be apart of a leadership development team at our school, to train and equip and then to go out into the community to make an impact. Well, towards the end of last week’s leader lab, I listened in on a discussion among these students, and my heart has been wrecked, for the better.
So why is my heart wrecked… I am someone who tends to over book herself and over commit and if you really know me you probably are smiling to yourself thinking (AH! at least she recognizes & admits it) anyways, I typically live out my Monday-Friday running ninety miles a minute moving in every possible direction and if I am lucky, I will stop to just breathe for a moment. Move on to the weekend where Saturdays usually consist of meets and that leaves Sundays for trying to play catch up on rest, sleep, laundry, grading, and prepping (OH and relationships) Any who… for someone constantly going, non stop, work… work… work, to one ridiculous expectation after the next, last Wednesday’s discussion completely wrecked me and changed me. And I have not been the same ever since.
The discussion was on impact and the type of impact humans desire to make. An impact that can be made through a career, success, wealth, prestige, relationships, or the way someone can make others feel. This impact is desired by all, yet can be motivated by selfish greed and ambition. How can you make an impact that is sincere and lasting? An impact that goes beyond a description or title, an impact that continues to live even after the grave.
And it all refines to kindness AND grace.
kindness: the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate
What I really love about kindness is that it is not just the act of being friendly or generous or considerate, it goes beyond the thought of thinking of others and being kind, but it is in fact, the quality of how one is friendly, the quality of how one is generous, and the quality of how one is considerate. Kindness extends to a set standard of how well something is, a degree of excellence. A lifestyle of excellence, an excellence that exudes to all others and all things. An excellence that is not defined by perfection, but by intention. An intention to put others first, to think of other people before yourself, and to put the priorities of others above your own. We live in a world that is driven by selfish ambition where people easily put others down to build up themselves. It is a culture of materialistic greed & materialistic ambition. Humans are driving themselves and working themselves endlessly on their path of own self-righteousness without thinking of the impact that one action or thought or good deed towards someone else can make.
It is estimated that the average human will meet (at least) 10,000 other individuals in their lifetime. That is 10,000 individuals, 10,000 souls. Every interaction, whether that is a verbal or nonverbal interaction has the potential to making an impact on a life. And that interaction can go two different directions, it can make that person’s day better or it can make that person’s day worse. This has the potential of 10,000 opportunities for impact in one given lifetime. That is 10,000 opportunities to make a day better, as well as making it worse. So why not be the best possible version of ourselves. Why not work to live a life that is full of intention and impact.
So why can’t we take a moment out of our busy day to stop and smile at a stranger, to pay for the person’s meal in front of us at the drive-thru, write a note of encouragement to a friend or even a stranger. To stop and tell someone that they matter, that their life is significant and worth it.
But so many of us can’t. We can’t because we are exhausted and tired. Tired from working and doing. Doing the many things the world tells us we need. Success, money, a career, moving up on the ladder of all these things. But what if we ignored what the world’s standard was and created our own. A standard of kindness and grace.
Because if we truly think about our own personal lives, how many of us want to be remembered for and known by the title and description on a resume, when instead, we can be remembered for and known by the way that we make other people feel.
The really great thing about this is how it can shift your thinking. Since this really powerful discussion on Wednesday of last week, I haven’t consumed myself with my priorities or my to-dos, they still are there, I am still working on getting them done, but my priority has been shifted, shifted towards the needs of others.
And then there’s grace.
grace: non biblically: simple elegance or refinement of movement
biblically: unmerited favor from God
I am becoming more and more in love with the word grace. Grace as a word refers to a simple elegance or refinement. It can describe a position of the heart, a posture of the mind. To move freely and honestly. To be completely purified and refined. And the word takes a whole deeper meaning when looking at how it is used in the Bible. Grace, the unmerited favor from God.
Grace is not earned, nor deserved, it is freely given. What if we lived our every single day with the intention and impact of grace. To freely give kindness and love, smiles and hope everywhere we go. Understanding the depths of knowing it does not have to be earned, yet giving freely regardless.
What if we changed our thoughts and actions to be thoughts and actions of impact. An impact that is filled with the intention of making a positive difference in the lives of others. What if we exuded kindness and grace with every word, every step, and every action we took every day.
And if we can do that, the world around us can start changing, and suddenly, the stress and anxiety of our everyday weight, seems to completely fade away.
Because it all refines to kindness and grace.